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About this Piece

The relatively short but eventful life of Jehan Alain (1911-1940), who died on the battlefield during World War II and whose younger sister, Marie-Claire, went on to become one of France’s most prominent organists, shows how fame can still arrive posthumously for a 20th-century composer. His three-minute whimsical Fantasmagorie for organ (or piano) from 1935 might show evidence of his later interest in exploring the parallel structure of Medieval plainsong, but the clear simplicity of alternating between an ostinato section and a section of chords makes for more of a comic strip punchline than an epic novel. As such, the gesture is clever and not without its charm.