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Charles Cole plays Alain’s ‘Litanies’ at the London Oratory

August 24, 2012

The video below is a recording of Charles Cole playing Alain’s Litanies at the London Oratory.

This recording was made during an Organ Recital at the London Oratory in October 2010. The images on the video are of the London Oratory and the Walker/Downes Organ. Charles Cole will be playing Litanies at the London Oratory this Sunday after the 11 am Solemn Mass.

Jehan Alain 1911-1940 was a French organist and an extraordinarily imaginative composer who died tragically less than a year after graduating from the Paris Conservatoire. A young motorcycle despatch rider in the French army, he ran into a German patrol in Petit-Puy near Saumur in the Loire. Alain faced the enemy alone and reportedly felled 14 men with his machine gun. When his ammunition ran out he was killed by a single bullet to the heart. Litanies is one of his most popular works. Relentlessly driven, it builds up to a shattering climax before its cataclysmic conclusion. “It should be like a whirlwind,” he said, “a whirlwind that flattens everything in its path… ”

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