See below for recordings of music by Eugène Gigout
Eugène Gigout (1844 – 1925) was for 62 years Organist of the Church of St Augustin, Paris. He was best known at the time as a performer and was one of the first French organists to embrace the new technology of recording. Today, he is best known for his organ compositions that are a still a staple of the repertoire.
Born in Nancy, Lorraine, on 23rd March, 1844, Gigout’s musical training began at the city’s Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Annonciation. From the age of 13 he was good enough to be taught by Camille Saint-Saëns and Clément Loret at the Ecole Niedermeyer in Paris.
After graduating from the school he joined the teaching staff and, in 1863, at the age of 19, began his 62 year tenure at St Augustin.
Although he wrote a large number of choral works, some orchestral works, and pieces for piano and harmonium, his reputation as a composer depends almost entirely today on his compositions for organ, most of which were published during his life. The Scherzo (see below) and a Toccata (No 4 in the same collection of 10 Pieces) are regularly performed at organ recitals and church services today.
Improvisation was a skill highly regarded by the French organists of the day, Gigout being no exception, and his published works bear the hallmarks of having originated as improvisations and impromptu musical ideas that he then developed on paper.
In 1885, Gigout founded a school for teaching organ and improvisation. When Alexandre Guilmant died in 1911, Gigout succeeded him as Professor of Organ and Composition at the Paris Conservatory.
When César Franck died in 1890, among the many famous organists of the day who were present at the funeral, it was Gigout who played the organ for the occasion.
Gigout died in Paris on 9th December, 1925.