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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835 – 1921)
Symphony No. 3 in C minor Op. 78, (1886)
Louis COUPERIN (1626 – 1661)

Chaconne in G Minor transcribed by Joseph BONNET
Marcel DUPRÉ (1886 – 1970)

Carillon Op. 27, No. 4.

Eugène GIGOUT (1844 – 1925)

Scherzo.
César FRANCK (1822 – 1890)

Piece Heroique.

Charles Marie WIDOR (1844 – 1937)

Toccata Symphony No. 5.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750
Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29.
Louis VIERNE (1870 – 1937)

Finale from Symphony No. 1, Op.14.
Marcel DUPRÉ (1886 – 1970)

Musette.

Jacques-Nicolas LEMMENS (1823 – 1881)

Fanfare.

Michael Murray (organ)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy.
recorded at St. Francis de Sales Church, Philadelphia on February 6th 1980 (Saint-Saëns) and at Symphony Hall, Boston on September 27th, 1981. DDD
TELARC CD-80634 [75’51"]


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Telarc is doing much the same as its competitors by re-issuing its older recordings at a lower price. This is a real bargain, as it is not a straight re-issue but a combination of two original CDs on to one. Allied to the superb recording, typical of this company, we have excellent value for money.

Apparently, Telarc engineers went in search of a local organ which sounded as much like a Cavaillé-Coll instrument as possible. This is the type of instrument Saint-Saëns had in mind while writing the work. They found it in a local Philadelphia church and after much collaboration between the company, church authorities and local government, the organ was found, overhauled and re-voiced, additional electrical circuits installed and the roads around the church closed whilst the recording was being made. Given all of this effort, it is not surprising that Telarc would want to engage Ormandy with his orchestra (in the last year of his Music Directorship with the orchestra), together with the company’s main organ soloist; a very successful partnership it was too.

The Symphony brings to mind Ormandy’s very successful CBS recording (now on Sony) but, with Telarc, in much, much better sound quality. The playing of soloist and orchestra is beyond criticism and is a very satisfying reading altogether. Orchestra and soloist play as one and the warm acoustic of the church with the orchestra set back a little, allow the blending and tonal splendour to make a telling effect. When the organ adds to the proceedings, it is not as interloper but it is sufficiently present to give a thrilling end to one of music’s most impressive finales.

To fill the rest of the disc, Michael Murray moved from Philadelphia to Boston, where, in charge of the Symphony Hall organ, he recorded a recital of French organ encores. He has traversed almost the whole of the span of French music, from the 1600s to almost the present day (no Alain or Messiaen was recorded, and how on earth can J. S. Bach be classified as French unless it is the arranger - Marcel Dupré who takes all the credit).

Once again, the recording quality is superb, and although there is not much deep musical experience here, this is more due to the choice of repertoire than any shortcoming in the playing or recording.

Boston’s Symphony Hall has one of the finest acoustics of all halls, and the engineers have caught this admirably.

This disc is superb, and I have enjoyed listening to it again and again since receiving it for review. Strongly recommended.


John Phillips

 



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