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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Ouverture (Intrada et fugue) in C K 399/285i (1782) [4:22]
Adagio in C für Glasharmonika K 356 (1791) [3:28]
Fugue en mi bémol majeur K 153/375f (1782) [2:17]
Fugue en sol mineur K 154/(358k) (1782) [1:46]
Andante mit Variationen K 501 (1786) [8:35] *
Fugue en sol mineur K 401/375c (1782) [3:27] *
Trio en sol majeur K 443/385l [1:55] *
Adagio und Allegro in f für eine Orgelwalze K 594 (1791) [10:24]
Ach  Gott, vom Himmel sien darein K 620b [3:22]
Eine kleine Gigue en sol majeur K 574 (1789) [1:35]
Andante in F für eine kleine kleine Orgelwalze K 616 (1791) [6:37]
Zwei kleine Fuguen (Versetten) für Orgel K 154a (1782) [0:30] [0:24]
Allegro und Andante in f für eine Orgelwalze K 608 (1791) [9’18]
Olivier Vernet, organ, * with Cédric Meckler (4 mains)
Rec: St Louis en L’ile, Paris, 25-27 May 2006 DDD
LIGIA DIGITAL Lidi0104171-06 [59:31]

The astonishingly prolific French recording artist Olivier Vernet turns his attentions to music of Mozart in this release from Ligia. Billed as the complete organ works, it includes, in addition to the 3 famous works for the orgelwalze, a number of sketches and shorter works, together with several 4-hand pieces performed with Cédric Meckler. The programme makes a satisfying hour’s listening and can be enjoyed in a single sitting.   
        
I have, however, serious reservations about Vernet’s playing. At its best it features a rather charming playfulness (Fugue en mi bemol), but too often it is hard driven, has a tendency to rush, features skittish articulation, and is in general lacking in poise. The central section of the K594 Fantasia is so hectic as to quickly become maddening, (especially given the secondary registration with the 1 1/3’ stop which is irritating in the higher registers). The more famous K 608 Fantasia is probably the fastest on record, and feels forced with slightly messy ornaments and an overall sense of panic. The 32’reed is great, but demands another tempo. The excessive contrast in tempi between the sections also contributes a feeling of a lack of unity. The four-hands works, perhaps out of necessity feel more relaxed and work better.

The organ on the other hand is stunning; the new Bernard Aubertin instrument in the church of St Louis en L’ile in Paris has received my praise here before. Here it is brutally recorded allowing little to be appreciated of how it actually sounds in the room. And while some flutes work ravishingly the context of Mozart’s music, the mid-18th century middle German character of the organ often feels too severe for the rococo nature of the literature, with the exception of Mozart’s counterpoint essay K620b which is hard to recognise as coming from his pen. The quality of the instrument remains though undeniable. 

It’s a shame given the beautiful instrument, and the undoubted talents of Olivier Vernet not to be able to be more enthusiastic.

Chris Bragg


 

 


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