A pupil of César Franck and of Widor, Charles Tournemire continued the French tradition of organist-composers. Much of his music is deeply rooted in his Catholic faith, in which he found a refuge and solution to the horrors of contemporary materialism.
For the organ Tournemire wrote his compendious L'orgue mystique (The Mystical Organ), which makes use of plainchant associated with each Sunday of the year, a project that he saw as a counterpart to Bach's work for the Lutheran liturgy. Other organ works include Symphonie-choral, Symphonie sacrée and two Fresques symphoniques sacrées.
Tournemire completed eight symphonies, from the first in 1900, the Romantique, to the eighth in 1924, La symphonie du triomphe de la mort (Symphony of the Triumph of Death).