Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens
Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens (3 January 1823 – 30 January 1881), was an organist
An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. An organist may play solo organ works, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers or instrumental soloists...

 and composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 for his instrument.

Born at Zoerle-Parwijs, near Westerlo
Westerlo is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The municipality comprises seven towns:- Westerlo centrum - Oevel - Tongerlo - Heultje...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Lemmens took lessons from François-Joseph Fétis
François-Joseph Fétis
François-Joseph Fétis was a Belgian musicologist, composer, critic and teacher. He was one of the most influential music critics of the 19th century, and his enormous compilation of biographical data in the Biographie universelle des musiciens remains an important source of information today...

, who wanted to make him into a musician capable of renewing the organ-player's art in Belgium. Fétis sent him to Adolf Friedrich Hesse
Adolf Friedrich Hesse
Adolf Friedrich Hesse was a German organist and composer.-Life:Hesse studied in Breslau with the organists Friedrich Wilhelm Berner and Ernst Köhler. In 1831, he became the First Organist at the Bernhardinkirche in his hometown...

 in Germany to learn Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

's tradition.

In 1847, Lemmens won the Paris Conservatoire's prestigious Prix de Rome
Prix de Rome (Belgium)
The Belgian Prix de Rome is an award for young artists, created in 1832, following the example of the original French Prix de Rome. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp organised the prize until 1920, when the national government took over. The first prize is also sometimes called the Grand Prix...

with his Le roi Lear ("King Lear"). One year later he published his first work for organ: Dix improvisations dans le style sévère et chantant ("Ten improvisations in a strict and singing style"). In March 1849 he was appointed organ teacher at the Royal Brussels Conservatoire
Royal Conservatory of Brussels
The Royal Conservatory of Brussels is a drama and music college in Brussels, Belgium. An academy for acting and the arts, it has been attended by many of the top actors and actresses in Belgium such as Josse De Pauw, Luk van Mello and Luk De Konink....

, aged only 26; and he trained numerous young musicians, including two eminent Frenchmen, Alexandre Guilmant
Alexandre Guilmant
Félix-Alexandre Guilmant was a French organist and composer.- Short biography :Guilmant was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer...

 and Charles-Marie Widor
Charles-Marie Widor
Charles-Marie Jean Albert Widor was a French organist, composer and teacher.-Life:Widor was born in Lyon, to a family of organ builders, and initially studied music there with his father, François-Charles Widor, titular organist of Saint-François-de-Sales from 1838 to 1889...


During 1852 he gave organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

 recitals in Saint Vincent de Paul, La Madeleine and Saint Eustache churches in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he stunned audiences with his technique. Particularly notable was his brilliant pedal-playing, which owed a good deal to his studies of Bach's music (at the time Bach's organ works were not at all well known in France).

In 1857 he married the English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 Helen Sherrington
Helen Lemmens-Sherrington
Helen Lemmens-Sherrington was the leading English concert and operatic soprano of the 1860s.- Early life :Born in Preston, England, in 1834, Helen Sherrington studied singing at Rotterdam and Brussels...

 (1834–1906), who in the following decade emerged as a leading English concert and operatic singer. He died at Zemst
Zemst is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the villages of Elewijt, Eppegem, Hofstade, Weerde, Laar and Zemst proper. On January 1, 2006 Zemst had a total population of 21,327...

, near Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

, Belgium.

Compositions for organ

  • Dix Improvisations dans le style sévère et chantant (1848)
  • École d'Orgue, basée sur le plain-chant romain (Orgelschule, 1862), incl.:
    • Prélude à 5 (Grave) in E-flat major
    • Prière (Moderato cantabile) in E major
    • Fanfare (Allegro non troppo) in D major
    • Cantabile (Allegretto) in B minor
    • Final (Allegro) in D major
  • Four organ pieces in free style : Allegretto in B flat, Christmas-Offertorium, Fantasia in A minor, Grand Fantasia (The Storm) in E minor (1866)
  • Trois Sonatas (1874):
    • Sonate Nr. 1 "Pontificale" in D minor
      • 1. Allegro moderato
      • 2. Adagio
      • 3. Marche Pontificale (Maestoso)
      • 4. Fuga (Fanfare)
    • Sonate Nr. 2 "O Filii" in E minor
      • 1. Prélude (Allegro non troppo)
      • 2. Cantabile (Andante)
      • 3. Fuga (Allegro con fuoco)
    • Sonate Nr. 3 "Pascale" in A minor
      • 1. Allegro
      • 2. Adoration (Andante sostenuto)
      • 3. Finale "Alleluia" (Maestoso recitando - Allegro)

External links

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