Richard Spotts


  • Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique: La haute mission
    808 Howell St
    July 7 @ 10:00 am
    Charles Tournemire was the quintessential church musician; yet, despite his formidable contribution to the art form, his works are woefully understudied, and the perception of the man himself perdures as an enigmatic legend. As one of the final students of Franck and as his eventual heritor to the organist-titulaire position at Sainte-Clotilde, Tournemire became the embodiment of Franckianism. Therefore, in honour of Franck’s bicentenary, we will take a moment to shed some light upon this mysterious and controversial genius. This two-part lecture-recital will endeavour to introduce the man and his music and to explore Tournemire’s life and times. It will delve into Tournemire’s Franckian roots, his connection to the Symbolist Movement, the political tumult of the Third Republic, his professional and intimate struggles, his musical philosophy and aesthetic, and his rivalries with the Widor-Dupré tradition. These seemingly disparately ramified influences coalesced during the World War’s interbellum period— a time when Tournemire engaged in the most fecund chapter of his organ-composition output, climaxing with his musical Summa TheologicæL’Orgue Mystique.


Richard Spotts —organist from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, located just outside of Philadelphia— is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton. He has dedicated over a decade of study to Charles Tournemire and his magnum opus, L’Orgue Mystique, having concertised widely in the United States and Canada. He has performed the complete L’Orgue Mystique in concert series, most notably in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh and Duquesne chapters of the American Guild of Organists and Duquesne University. The performance for the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, which was interrupted due to the pandemic, tentatively is rescheduled for 2023. In addition to recitals and liturgical performances of L’Orgue Mystique, he has given lectures on the subject of Tournemire at universities and conferences. In celebration of Tournemire’s 2020 sesquicentennial, Mr Spotts’ book on the subject —Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique: La haute mission, which is a summation of his study of the man and his music— is set to be published by Wayne Leupold in the spring of 2022.