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Jean Langlais – Suite Médiévale – Prélude

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Published on Dec 19, 2009

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Prelude from the Suite Médiévale, by the French composer Jean Langlais (1907-1991) played by the Brazilian organist and pianist Cristiano Rizzotto Vidal Pessôa at Saint Paul's Espiscopal Church's Fisk Organ (Greenville, NC).

Cristiano Rizzotto Vidal Pessôa is a student from UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and ECU (East Carolina University).

Jean Langlais was born in La Fontenelle (Îlle-et-Vilaine, Brittany), a small village near Mont St Michel, France. Langlais became blind due to glaucoma when he was only two years old, and was sent to study at the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris, where he began to study the organ. From there, he progressed to the Paris Conservatoire, obtaining prizes in organ, which he studied with Marcel Dupré, composition, which he studied with Paul Dukas, and improvisation, which he studied with André Marchal, to whom he dedicated his Suite Médiévale.

After graduating, he returned to the National Institute for the Young Blind to teach, and also taught at the Schola Cantorum from 1961 to 1976. However, it was as an organist that he made his name, following in the steps of César Franck and Charles Tournemire as Organist Titulaire at the Basilica of St. Clotilde, Paris in 1945, a post in which he remained until 1987. He was much in demand as a concert organist, and toured widely across Europe and the United States.

Outside music, Langlais was a colorful and charismatic character, for many years living with both his first wife and his mistress (later to become his second wife), and fathering a child at the age of 73.

Langlais died in Paris aged 84, and was survived by his second wife Marie-Louise Jaquet-Langlais.

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