Thursday, July 26, 2007

A la Recherche de Périlhou

Albert Périlhou (1846-1936) was a French composer and the organist at the Eglise St. Severin for some 25 years. I've been trying to find out more about him as I do research for a non-musical human-interest article I'm writing for an organization dear to my heart.

Biographical information on this revered Frenchman is frustratingly scant. Tracking it down -- and I am pretty resourceful -- is, thus far, an exercise in walking briskly down short dead-end streets, les impasses. Yet this musician was a great friend of Fauré and Saint-Saens. His ballades and chansons are played today in concert halls around the world. There must be some information about him somewhere!

Perhaps if I were a musicologist I would have better knowledge of composer databases to peek in. At least the process has been a learning experience for me. I've discovered great resources in Paris, both on line and on foot, worth exploring for anyone attempting to conduct research beyond Google.

Les Archives nationales on 60 rue des Francs Bourgeois in the 3e arrondissement.

La Bibliotheque nationale de France, (with Paris locations at Francois Mitterand, Opéra, Arsenal, and Louvois). The website has interesting information about a joint project with the Library of congress called France in America.

And all of the other wonderful small special-interest libraries of the city of Paris.

But virtually no Périlhou! Here's what I know about him: born in Daumazan, in the Ariege, in 1846. Worked at Erard Piano Manufacturers. Became organist at St. Severin in 1895. Was a member of the Conservatory of Paris. Died in 1936, not certain where. He had children.

Here's my plea, my challenge: if you know anyone who knows anyone who knows music, composers, organists, who has any information about Monsieur Perilhou, it would be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.


Pastór de Lasala said...

I just saw your posting on Périlhou. I am just proof reading an English translation for CD notes for organist Michel Colin (organist at Notre-Dame de la Victoire, St Raphaël, Côte d'Azur, France). The CD is a reissue of organ works by Saint-Saëns and Périlhou and will be released by Ad Vitam Records:

Some more details on Périlhou: He wrote many works for organ, piano, orchestra and voice. He retired to Tain l'Hermitage in 1914 and died there on 28 August 1936, aged 91. The organ upon which his works were recorded is an instrument built in 1911 by Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll now located in Notre-Dame d'Afrique, Algeria. The works are chosen from Périlhou's 3rd and 4th organ books.

I hope this helps.

Pastór de Lasala
Sydney, Australia

Anonymous said...

This isn't much, but here's another page in French that has a tad bit more on him, although not nearly as much as you need I'm sure:

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