follows up his breathtaking Retour
de Bayreuth with his tribute
to Claude Debussy. In this instance
we gain a little more insight into Mallié's
mindset through the interesting, if
slightly puzzling interview with the
player. This forms a large part of the
programme notes but I have a feeling
that it loses something in translation.
Mallié offers so much
here, yet the final result is confusing.
For a start the number of tracks listed
on the inlay do not correlate with the
actual number of tracks on the disc.
This makes following the, nominally
six, multi-sectional improvisations
a real challenge. As if that weren't
enough, no fewer than 27 themes are
printed in the booklet. Good idea you
might think, but some are not by Debussy;
doubtless there is a very logical reason
for their inclusion, but Mr Mallié isn't
telling us what it is. Other themes
are used which aren't listed. The Prelude
and Fugue is, Mallié tells us, based
on the Passepied from Debussy's
Suite Bergamasque, but this theme
doesn't appear. There are also very
obvious themes from Children’s Corner
not listed. Perhaps the booklet
is best ignored?
Now the good things.
Mallié's other-worldly whirlwind of
ideas picks up from where Retour
left off. Here there is more evidence
of his association with Messiaen; Mallié
studied with him in the Paris Conservatory.
This can be heard both harmonically,
and, perhaps most obviously, in his
ability to establish that most Messiaenic
trade-mark, the creation of music that
is both static and ecstatic simultaneously.
I find, in general, the improvisations
here are less succinct and seductive
than on the Wagner disc, although the
Prelude, Fugue and Final especially
is wonderful. Perhaps the organ doesn't
help. Hortus tell us nothing except
that it is a 1933 creation of Victor
Gonzales. The lack of photo and specification
at least is criminal! It sounds rather
small, perhaps thirty stops, a sort
of miniature Soissons perhaps. Not incidentally
that it has the noisiest combination
action I've ever heard on a CD.
I'm left with mixed
feelings overall; this would be so recommendable
if it wasn't for the superlative quality
of Retour de Bayreuth which this
never quite reaches, and the uninformative
and misleading booklet.