One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor in Chief: Rob Barnett

BUY NOW 

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Francis POULENC (1899-1963)
Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani [20:25]
Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986)

Prélude et fugue sur le nom díAlain, op.7 [12:10]
Jehan ALAIN (1911-1940)

Sarabande for organ, string quintet and timpani [11:42]
Maurice DURUFLÉ

Three Dances for Orchestra, op.6 (1938) [20:42]
Marie-Claire Alain (organ)
Bamberger Symphoniker/Jean-Jacques Kantorow
Recorded in the Sinfonie an den Regnitz, Bamberg, 10th-12th November 1997
WARNER APEX 2564 61912-2 [65:44]

 

Though the Poulenc Organ Concerto has long been a personal favourite, the real find on this disc for me was the concluding item, Maurice Durufléís Three Dances for Orchestra, op.6, composed in 1938. I knew this composer previously only for his sacred music (principally the fine Requiem), and these colourful, melodious pieces were quite a revelation. The brilliant orchestration brings Respighi to mind, while the influence of Ravel and Debussy is strong too (though, interestingly, not that of Les Six). The first dance has an exquisite opening, with Daphnis-like gurgles in clarinet, which then gives way to a brilliant scherzo. A stately slow dance follows, and finally a lively and slightly wild Tambourin, with a wonderfully furtive ending in the bassoon. The subtle writing for percussion and the doleful alto saxophone solo in the central section give this movement a memorable colour.

Before that, we have a fine and authoritative performance of the Poulenc Organ Concerto by Marie-Claire Alain, with sensitive contributions from the strings and timpani of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. This may not have quite the flamboyance of the recently re-issued EMI version, with Maurice Duruflé as soloist (EMI 7243 5 62647 2 4 Review), but at this bargain price, it is more than respectable, and some listeners may find its comparative restraint a positive virtue. The recorded balance, always difficult in this piece, is really very good.

The programming of the music on this CD is fascinating; the Poulenc is followed by the organ Prélude and Fugue by Duruflé, using the name of his close friend, Jehan (pronounced the same as ĎJeaní) Alain, a brilliantly gifted young composer who died heroically during the World War 2 battle in defence of Saumur. Both composers were pupils of Paul Dukas (of Sorcererís Apprentice fame) and Duruflé makes use of his friendís surname turned into a sort of musical Ďcodeí, and creates a very fine piece of music. The prelude is a fully developed movement, starting with mysterious rustlings, and introducing a splendid plainsong-like melody based on ĎAlainí. The fugue that follows is far from Ďacademicí and is built on a long, smooth sentence of melody heard at the outset. It grows calmly to a powerfully exultant conclusion; this is a celebration of Alainís gifts, not a dirge or lament.

The organist is again, of course, Jehan Alainís sister Marie-Claire, and the next track finds her as the soloist in one of her brotherís works, a brooding Sarabande for organ, string quintet and timpani. Impressive music, which brought to my mind the sound-world and atmosphere of Martinůís Double Concerto Ė the tension of the late 1930s, and the sinister combination of timpani and strings are no doubt responsible for that (and form another link with the Poulenc Concerto).

Quite a CD this, and an absolute must for lovers of the great world of French organ music. An imaginatively planned programme, performed with dedication and total accomplishment.

Gwyn Parry-Jones



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.