Nineteenth-century French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll and organist-composer César Franck established a foundation for the revival of organ music in France. Following the French Revolution, organ culture had degenerated because of the instrument's association with the church. Beginning with his instrument at St. Dénis, Cavaillé-Coll created a new symphonic organ that made it possible for composers to write organ music in the new Romantic aesthetic. In 1859, Franck received a new Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Parisian church where he served as organist, Sainte-Clotilde. He began experimenting with the innovations of this instrument: an expressive division, mechanical assists, new types of tone color, and an expanded pedal division. From about 1860, Franck began composing his first pieces for the Cavaillé-Coll organ; these were published in 1868 as the Six Pièces. With these compositions, Franck led the way in adapting the resources of the French symphonic organ to Romantic music. In this paper, I provide an analysis of the structure of each of the Six Pièces as a foundation for exploring ways in which Franck exploited the new features of his Cavaillé-Coll organ. I have made sound recordings to demonstrate specific examples of how the music fits the organ. Thanks to Cavaillé-Coll's innovations in organ building, Franck was able to write large-scale, multi-thematic works with the sonorous resources necessary to render them convincingly. The Six Pièces reveal a strong creative exchange between organist and organ builder, and they portend many of the subsequent developments of the French symphonic organ school.
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