Sunday 7 March 2021 – the nearest Sunday to International Women’s Day on 8 March – will be celebrated as Woman Composer Sunday (#SWORCOWomanComposerSunday).
This annual celebration of women composers has been launched by the Royal College of Organists and the Society of Women Organists.
Fiona has recorded the following piece on the St Stephen’s organ especially for Woman Composer Sunday. It is also suitable as a meditative piece for Lent:
Attende Domine by Jeanne Demessieux.
This piece is based on a Christian liturgical chant, Attende Domine, for the season of Lent; the chant is referred to in English as the Lent Prose. The title is short for Attende, Domine, et miserere (Hear us, mighty Lord,show us your Mercy).
Jeanne Demessieux (1921-68) was appointed titular organist at La Madeleine in Paris in 1962. In addition, she was Professor of organ at Nancy Conservatoire (1950-1952) and the Conservatoire Royal in Liège, Belgium (1952-1968). Owing to health problems, Demessieux was obliged to limit her performance activities during the mid-1960’s. In 1967, she signed a contract with the Decca label for a complete recording of Olivier Messiaen’s organ works.
Owing to her untimely death in 1968 the project was never realized.
Jeanne Demessieux died on November 11, 1968, due to an embolism, in Paris. She left a large catalogue of compositions. Aside from her organ compositions, she wrote pieces for piano, numerous songs and choir works including an oratorio, Chanson de Roland, and orchestral works. Only one third of her catalogue, which consists of more than 30 compositions, has been published to date.
For further information about Woman Composer Sunday go to https://www.rco.org.uk/events/Woman-Composer-Sunday