Louis Victor Jules Vierne (8 October 1870 – 2 June 1937 Poitiers, France) was born nearly blind, but at an early age was discovered to have an unusual gift for music.
At the age of two he heard a Schubert lullaby and promptly began picking out the notes of the lullaby on the piano. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and later served as an assistant to the organist Charles-Marie Widor at St Sulpice in Paris. Vierne eventually became principal organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, a post he held from 1900 until his death in 1937.
“Carillon de Westminster” is a fantasia on the “Westminster Chimes” as played from the Palace of Westminster, London since 1858.
Vierne’s friend Henry Willis hummed the tune for the composer upon Vierne’s request. Either Willis hummed the tune incorrectly or Vierne misheard it and misquoted the second quarter of the chimes. Regardless, this is Vierne’s most popular work.