> Orgue Historique de Tlacochahuaya Ferran K617049 [PW]: Classical Reviews- April 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Orgue Historique de Tlacochahuaya
1. Antonio de CabezonPavana con su glosa 3'14"
2.Diferencias sobre el canto llano del caballero 2'54"
3.Diferencias sobre la Gallarda Milanesa 2'41"
4.Romance para quien crie los cabellos 2'13"
5. Anon.Baile del Gran duque 4'20"
6. Juan BermudoVeni Creator 1'12"
7.Cantus del primero por Elami 1'15"
8.Cantus del primero por Mi 1'23"
9.Pange Lingua Gloriosa 1'18"
10. Anon.Danza del Acha 1'39"
11. Francisco AndreuTiento llano a tres 2'10"
12.Tiento Partido de mano derecha a tres 3'56"
13. Sebastian Aguilera de HerediaObra de 8o tono alto: Ensalada 5'49"
14. Francisco Correa de Arauxo Tiento de medio registro de baxon de 1o tono 4'17"
15.Tiento de medio registro de tiple de 4o tono 5'07"
16. Pablo BrunaTiento de 1o tono de mano derecha 3'58"
17. Juan CabanillesTiento V de Falsas 4'51"
18. Pablo BrunaTiento de mano derecha y al medioa dos tiples 6'45"
19.Pange Lingua de 5o tono 1'20"
20. Juan CabanillesTiento XVII de Pange Lingua, 5o tono punto alto 4'47"
Dominique Ferran - Organ
Recordings made on the historic organ of the Convent of San Jerónimo at Tlacochahuaya (Province of Oaxaca, Mexico) 18-20 October 1994
K 617 - K617049 [6647]


Experience Classicsonline

It must have been a really fascinating project making this recording. It was the end product of a festival to celebrate the restoration of this quite remarkable mid-17th century organ in a monastery in provincial Mexico. For nearly 300 years this little instrument sat there, probably pretty well unnoticed. During the revolution of 1913 the church was occupied by troops and parts of the pipe work were removed, possibly to be melted down for bullets. After that the organ never played again and became only a home for bats, mice and birds. It was restored between July 1990 and August 1991 by Susan Tattershall and now proves to be a marvellous example of Spanish inspired organ building in the Americas. A small instrument of one manual and no pedals, it is positioned on a stone base so that the player must stand to play it. The registration is divided between the hands, the two hands sharing only the principal ranks of Bardón 8, Flautado 4 and Octava 2. There are seven stops for each hand, the right hand having the sole reed - a marvellously pungent Trompeta de Batalla 8 en chamade (i.e. horizontal rather than vertical pipes. The row of chamades can be seen below the main front pipe on the cover photo.) Additionally there is a wonderful accessory called a Pajarito, which imitates birds. (sample 1) Unfortunately, the booklet includes in English only a short article on the rebuilding which does not mention the origin of this bizarre accessory or explain its historical uses. There are also no notes on the programme in English, although the French and Spanish texts are extensive, for those who can read them.

Dominique Ferran plays a fairly standard programme of 17th century music by Iberian composers, none of which is of any great length, but this is the sort of music that would have been used at the time this organ was built, so there is a certain ring of authority about the choices. Undoubtedly, the music suits this organ well. The limited range of keys in which such works were written means that the mean-tone tuning (which seems to have predated the 1913 silencing and has been retained in the restoration) provides the colour of unequal tuning in those keys that suit it, and only rarely strays into the teeth grating. The most successful pieces are those where an elaborate right hand employing the beautiful reeds en chamade cascades over a sustained left hand of flutes and principals. The Tiento de medio registro de tiple de 4o tono by Francisco Correa de Arauxo is one of the most splendid, but there are several examples and they are all played with panache. (sample 2)

It can possibly be argued that the programme is not as varied as it could be, yet this writer has found that the disc will bare repeated listenings, and the detail of the execution provides new facets on repeat visits, even if the repertoire is fairly limited in its variety of styles. It must be borne in mind, of course, that Iberian organ building and playing in the 17th century developed along completely independent lines to, and for different functions from, that of the better known North European schools represented by Sweelinck or Buxtehude, and which lead ultimately to Bach. However, certain crossing points do emerge; variations on popular tunes being one. the anonymous Baile del Gran duque (sample 3) bears immediate comparison with the Ballo del Gran Duca of Sweelinck and Frescobaldi. This anonymous version is a most enjoyable little piece and Ferran again manages to make a minor, and short, work into something that shows off the distinctive character of the remarkable little organ on which he is playing.

Peter Wells



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