Léon Boëllmann (September 25, 1862 – October 11, 1897)
was a French composer of Alsatian origin, known for a
small number of compositions for organ. His best-known
composition is Suite gothique (1895), still very much a
staple of the organ repertoire, especially its dramatic
The Suite consists of four movements:
Introduction - Choral (C minor)
Menuet gothique (C major)
Prière à Notre-Dame (A-flat major)
Toccata (C minor)
The first movement (Introduction - Choral) is in C
minor and is made up of harmonized choral phrases that
are first played in block chords on the great and
pedals, and then repeated, piano, on the Swell.
The second movement (Menuet gothique) is in 3/4 time
and in C major.
The third movement (Prière à Notre-Dame) is in A-flat
major. It rarely uses dynamics above 'piano'. This
movement is often played at weddings.
The final fourth movement (Toccata) is the best-known
of the suite. This movement returns to C minor, ending
with a Tierce de Picardie on full organ.
Although originally written for Pipe Organ, I created
this Arrangement of the Toccata from the Suite Gothique
(Op.25 Mvt. 4) for String Ensemble (2 Violins, 2
Violas, Cello & Bass).