TRIBUTE TO VICTOR RUELLO (Contest September 19, 1976)
The sudden death on June 20, 1976 Victor Ruello, titular organist of the Cathedral of Chartres for 33 years, has not only shocked his many friends who appreciated his loyalty, kindness and simplicity, but also all settings organistic, which has long had taken the measure of his talent and dedication to the cause of the organ.
The Association of Great Organs of Chartres has already expressed through the voice of its President what she had to Victor Ruello and for the role he played, “workers of the first hour” in the renovation of the instrument we admire today, and one he always took in organizing the International Competition “Great Charter Award”, which is hardly suspect because it is hidden, work it requires.
We will discuss here, our friend reminding outlines the main stages of his life and career and quoting some of the evidence that was returned.
Ruello Victor was born in Bellac (Haute-Vienne) April 23, 1918, a Breton family of origin, deeply religious and very musical. He spent his childhood in Mayenne, where his father was stationed. Young, music pulled and the holder of the great organ of Notre Dame de Mayenne, Auguste Fauchard, who was later holder Laval Cathedral and left major organ compositions, guided his first lessons of young organist.
Came to Chartres with his family in 1929, he attended the Institution Notre-Dame (where he would later profess the music) and, above all, the Master Notre-Dame, where he regularly won the prize in piano and singing . But it is in Orleans after 1936 he devoted himself especially to the organ, going to follow the organ class of the School of Paris Caesar Franck sequentially with Joseph Bonnet, Abel Decaux, Édouard Souberbielle and taking the choir organ occasionally the great organ of Saint-Paterne in Orléans.
At death, March 2, 1943, of AIphonse Marré, a prominent titular – for over 30 years – the organ of Chartres, he sought the position and the end of 1943 obtained as a result of the competition introduced by the Chapter of the Cathedral. Victor Ruello imposed itself quickly, making the most of an instrument that had suffered terribly from bad weather during the Occupation, displaying at the same time an effective musical and educational activity.
The greatest joy of his career as an organist was to be inaugurated on the evening of June 5, 1971, “his” organ lavishly renovated it touched the first as usual, by interpreting the Bishops Walk Louis Vierne …
Victor Ruello gave many recitals : in Paris (Notre-Dame and Palais de Chaillot), in the province (Limoges, Rennes, Guérande, …), England (Chichester), Belgium (Brussels, several times) in Switzerland (Lausanne and Radio). He loved in his recitals, playing contemporary French musicians – Louis Vierne, Marcel Dupré, Jehan Alain,… – he could do appreciate. As in Chartres, he loved his art to deliver that was greedy; he lent pleased to questions from listeners, especially young people.
Talented performer and brilliant improviser, he was also a composer, too unknown undoubtedly precisely because of his selflessness: we owe him several choirs four mixed voices, Mass, Cantata of the seventh centenary (of the Dedication of the Cathedral) etc… Some stories make meaningful gestures or less imperfect image of the late Master. We know, for example, that the eminent organist Gaston Litaize was especially come to Nice to take the great organ during the burial Mass on June 23 at the Cathedral, and thus pay a final tribute to his friend ; a moving improvisation, at the time of Absoute on the Song of Farewell took all its full meaning. On July 25, at the Cathedral again, having agreed to replace Victor Ruello, which was to give a recital that day, he spoke gently his memory by performing two works under its program and improvising “on the name of Victor Ruello”.
Bishop of Chartres, Roger Michon, recalling the excellent musician, added : “He was a man full of faith who put his art at the service of the Church”.
Peter Firmin Didot, “We’re in trouble here .. We lose a friend incomparable kindness, simplicity, modesty, each speaks and recognizes the merits”. Michel Louvet, the National Music Committee “Man of infinite delicacy, a modesty and a very rare courtesy, and kneaded talented musician, he worked at the keyboards of the instrument until his death”.
“He bore with quiet serenity a mission deep joy it provides do not always outweigh the easements. – From the homily by Bishop Dongradi at the funeral, “it was said. Master Victor Ruello – and it was, but he was a teacher, he was also in line -this his faith- a servant. The organist who assists a religious service is God’s servant, the servant of the liturgy, the servant of the assembly. Our friend was really him. He understood that, far from imposing, he had to allow faithful to celebrate the greatness, dignity, the beauty, the worship due to God, praise the Most High…”
This testimony, finally, a parishioner of the cathedral, Victor Ruello might have preferred to all others : “He put his gifts at the service of his brothers and the Church. He helped us to meet. God, he helped us to pray… We say THANK YOU”.