Albert Périlhou

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Albert Pérílhou (2 April 1846 – 28 August 1936) was a French composer, organist, and pianist.


Born in Dauzaman, in Ariège, on 2 April 1846, he was son of an organist of Pézenas and was formed as an organist by Saint-Saëns, at the Niedermeyer school.

After some time passed as an organist and a piano teacher in Saint-Étienne, he became professor of piano at the Conservatoire de Lyon (1883). Called in Paris in 1888 as an artistic advisor of maison Erard, he became organist of Saint-Séverin (1889) at the new instrument rebuilt by John Abbey, and then organist in Saint-Eustache in 1905 and 1906. In 1910 he was named director of the Niedermeyer school.

Author of a large production for piano, organ, orchestra and voice, he retired in 1914 in Tain-l'Hermitage, where he died (age 91) on 28 August 1936. Probably following the example of his teacher and friend Saint-Saëns, he lived some time in Algeria.


Vierne called him "a composer of the 18th century". Recognized as a great improviser, he strove for the colors of the instrument's tone more than tricks of the genre. He preferred delicacy and accessibility over esoteric classical styles.

"Distingués" and refined, his works can fit in concert settings as well as in Liturgy. His music is airy without stretching the artistry required, and his legacy is one of elegance, culture, and strength.

  • Livre d’orgue. Simples pieces composed specially for "le service ordinaire" in seven books (Heugel, 1899-1905) :
    • 1st book : 7 preludes and 3 transcriptions (J.S. Bach and J. Massenet)
    • 2nd book : 7 pieces, preludes and etudes and 3 transcriptions (R. Schumann and J.S. Bach)
    • 3rd book : 7 pieces, Prélude et Marche, and 3 transcriptions (F. Mendelssohn and J.S. Bach)
    • 4th book : 7 pieces, Prélude, Cloches, and 3 transcriptions (Th. Arne and J.S. Bach)
    • 5th book : 3 church pieces (Le Cloître, Noël, Le jour des morts au Mont-Saint-Michel), 3 Impromptus (for home organ), 2 Preludes and 3 Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach
    • 6th book : 6 Noëls, O salutaris, Adoremus, Andantino, Le Glas, 2 Handel transcriptions
    • 7th book : 6 pieces, Impressions (Saint-Sernin de Toulouse basilica), Épithalame, Lamento, Barcarolle (for home organ), Nox (without pedal).
  • Ballade for flute or violin, accompanied by piano.
  • Chanson de Guillot Martin, arranged for harp by Marcel Grandjany
  • Fantaisie pour 2 pianos
  • La Primavera: Chanson vénitienne de Reynaldo Hahn, Paraphrase for piano on the song by Reynaldo Hahn
  • String quartet
  • String quintet
  • Concerto for flute and orchestra
  • Symphonic works : Scènes gothiques, Scènes d’après le folklore des provinces de France, Une veillée en Bresse, Une fête patronale en Velay.

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