Vieux Noël G minor Poco lento (L'Organiste)
The fabulous Jubalflöte 8 in the Solowerk is used for the melody.
In 1889 the publisher, Enoch, commissioned Franck to compose 100 pieces for harmonium.
Between August 16 and September 20, 1890, Franck completed 63 pieces.
As Franck left it, the collection is divided into eight suites of seven pieces each (with three numbers of an incomplete suite outstanding), following an invariable plan of three numbers in the major, three in the minor, and a rhapsodic concluding movement which weaves together the themes of the preceding. While most are introduced by tempo and metronome indications ("Poco allegretto. Quarter note = 63"), occasional headings -- "Offertoire," "Prière," "Communion," "Offertoire funèbre," "Sortie" -- show that Franck intended these pieces primarily for liturgical use. But widely distributed selections from L'Organiste, offered as piano albums, demonstrate that they possess charm and interest quite independent of the nave. Indeed, Franck seems to have been thinking of the preludes of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier as he composed, for their melodic flair is complemented by a compositional resourcefulness which lends them substance far surpassing similar works by his friend Lefébure-Wély, or Chaminade.
The occasional use of folk song -- "Chant Béarnais," "Chant de la Creuse," "Noël Angevin," and the like -- throws Franck's straightforward yet always vivacious craft into high relief.