> DAQUIN Organ works [ChA]: Classical Reviews- May 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Louis-Claude DAQUIN (1694-1772)
Nouveau Livre de Noëls pour l’orgue

Organ works: 1. Noëls sur les jeux d’ anches sans tremblant, 2. Noël en dialogue, duo, trio, sur le cornet de récit, les tierces du positif et la pédale de flûte, 3. Noël en musette, en dialogue et en duo, 4. Noël en duo sur les jeux d’anches, sans tremblant, 5. Noël en duo, 6. Noël sur les jeux d’anches, sans tremblant, et en duo, 7. Noël en trio et en dialogue, le cornet de récit à la main droite, la tierce du positif de la main gauche, 8. Noël étranger, sur les jeux d’anches sans tremblant et en duo, 9. Noël sur les flûtes,10. Noël, grand jeu et duo, 11. Noël en récit en taille, sur la tierce du positif, avec la pédale de flûte, et en duo, lentement et tendrement, 12. Noël suisse, grand jeu et duo.
Christian Mouyen, Organist
Historic organ by: Dom Bedos, Abbatiale Sainte–Croix de Bordeuax, France
Recorded: November 1997, Abbatiale Sainte-Croix, Bordeaux, France
K.617 FRANCE K617078 [72’32]
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Daquin, a wonder child who managed to impress even Louis XIV, was well known for his improvisations that attracted crowds in his performances. As his fame was built on his improvisations, he was careful about committing them to print. However the Nouveau Livre de Noels owes a lot to the improvisations so popular at the time. The Nouveau Livre de Noels (c1740), was dedicated to Compte d’Eu, who was enthusiastic about this traditional form of music. The pieces are quite different in form and there is a most pleasing variety between the exotic melodies, virtuosi or chordal passages and sentimental manual lines. Daquin succeeded in writing music full of imagination and originality.

The Dom Bedos organ is one of those that must be heard not only by organ fans. Dom Bedos is best known for his book L’art du facteur d’orgues, dated between 1766-1778, which was commissioned by the Academy of Sciences of which he had been a member since 1758. This book gives a valuable, detailed description of the classical French organ building: the pipe making and scaling, the tools, the general design, as well as references to performance practice.

The organs Dom Bedos built, were based on all that theoretical knowledge he described in his book. The result is that the organ at Sainte-Croix is ‘one of the most complete and beautiful‘ French classical organs to be found in Europe. For its restoration during the 70s, the book provided all the necessary information to allow restoration to its past glory. The five manuals with fine foundation and mixtures stops, including a 32’ Bourdon at the Grand Orgue and the bright, powerful reeds make the music sound ‘historic’ but fresh at the same time.

Mouyen’s playing is expertly efficient with much variety, daring and expressiveness. The performances of Noëls nr.6 and 12 present the finest quality both of the organ itself but also of the music. Mouyen succeeds in giving a fabulous sense of swinging of the triplet and dotted rhythms. There is also a very nice sense of inégálite. Clean virtuosi passages are also very pleasing throughout. The only thing that is missing from these performances is a more careful treatment of the bass line, especially bearing in mind that Daquin offers other instrumentation as well for these pieces (violins, flutes, oboes). Sometimes he plays the bass line legato or without a strong direction, which takes away the majesty and the poise of the pieces.

It is a pity that the notes in the booklet are written only in French.

As a whole this recording is very good and well worth buying.


Christina Antoniadou

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