From to he attended Rouen Cathedral Choir school, where he studied the piano and organ with Jules Haelling. In the s he transcribed improvisations by Vierne and Tournemire from earlier recordings, and in later years he was the recipient of numerous awards. Sadly, his career was halted in May when he and his wife were involved in a serious car accident. He died on 16 June Dedicated to the organist of Soissons Cathedral, Canon Henri Doyen, this short fugue builds to a toccata-like conclusion while the eight-note theme is treated using a variety of ingenious contrapuntal devices.
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There are few major composers of organ music whose complete works for the instrument can be combined into a single concert of reasonable length. Suter played to a slim crowd, due to snowy weather and treacherous roads, but the hardy souls who made it were treated to fine playing.
The concert, lasting less than 90 minutes, was played without intermission, a daunting task for which Erik Wm. Suter was well-prepared. Suter did not perform the works chronologically but in a pleasing recital order. The theme consists of eight descending notes set in a minor key. Posthumous , was not published until Arabesques of great fantasy on the flute stops form the prelude, and a lush Adagio never completely states the chant.
Finally, a series of masterfully inventive contrapuntal variations fully reveal the plainsong, ending in a full-organ toccata. Designed for liturgical purposes, which it undoubtedly served well, the brief piece is a minor work. Light, joyful, and influenced by Ravel, it sounds deceptively simple. Suter had its tricks well in hand. The Suite pour Orgue, Op. Until recent years, performances of the Toccata were limited due to its great technical difficulty, but is now quite common on programs, perhaps too much so.
Nonetheless, Erik Wm. Suter has the chops to do it justice, and it was a fine ending to an excellent performance. Click here for a printable copy of this article. Daniel Hathaway founded ClevelandClassical. As an organist, Hathaway has played recitals in the U. About us Advertise Contact Us. Download article as PDF. Follow ClevelandClassical.
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Suite for Organ, Op. 5
He became a chorister at the Rouen Cathedral Choir School from to , where he studied piano and organ with Jules Haelling, a pupil of Alexandre Guilmant. In , Louis Vierne nominated him as his assistant at Notre-Dame. In he completed probably the most famous of his few pieces: the Requiem op. He had begun composing the work in , following a commission  from the Vichy regime. They married on 15 September The couple became a famous and popular organ duo, going on tour together several times throughout the sixties and early seventies.
Erik Wm. Suter plays Duruflé in Oberlin’s Finney Chapel (Feb. 9)