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Salve Regina
Yves CASTAGNET (b.1964)

Messe: Salve Regina pour chœur, soli et deux orgues [34:30]
Francis POULENC ( 1899-1963)

Litanies à la Vierge Noire [8:33]
Olivier LATRY (b.1962)

Salve Regina pour orgue et voix [22:48]
Choeurs de la Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris/Lionel Sow; Sylvain Dieudonné (Gregorian chant)
Yves Castagnet (orgue de chœur); Olivier Latry (grand orgue)
rec. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, 8-12, 28-31 October 2007
HORTUS 056 [65:51]
Experience Classicsonline

This CD is the latest in the wonderful Editions Hortus series documenting the flourishing music-making scene at Notre Dame. The choir sings here as you have never heard a French choir sing. Such a quality was unthinkable in the time of Cochereau - and there are plenty of recordings to prove the point. Following on from the recording of the Missa Deo Gratias by organist titulaire Jean Pierre Leguay, the present CD features a new mass for mixed choir and two organs. This is entirely based on the Salve Regina theme. The composer is the titulaire of the orgue de chœur, Yves Castagnet. The other pieces are the well-known Litanies à la Vierge Noire by Poulenc and an expanded, composed (!) commentary on the Salve Regina by Olivier Latry, Leguay’s colleague as organist titulaire of the Grand Orgue, and one of the most famous of all concert organists.

It’s Castagnet’s mass that makes this release really special. It employs a relatively tonal, but highly evocative harmonic language, somewhat post-Duruflé - as is the use of the plainchant in the context of the whole - and occasionally post-Alain. The Gloria almost quotes the third of the Trois Dances but is never derivative. The Sanctus with its organ toccata accompaniment is highly impressive, and the immense colour and enormous presence of the Notre Dame Grand Orgue is put to good use in general. This atmospheric and passionate work deserves international renown. The choir of Westminster Cathedral, for instance, should surely adopt it.

Latry’s composition will remind the listener immediately of his concert improvisations. The voice - tenor, Charles Barbier - is in fact used in alternatim, singing each verse of the chant between Latry’s versets. After 17 minutes a second, un-named (female) soloist sings the "O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria". This is the only moment at which both organ and voice are heard together. Latry’s personal connection with the Gregorian chant he learned as a school boy in Boulogne-sur-Mer is tangible.

This is essential listening; beautifully presented as usual and featuring thrilling performances. Castagnet’s mass setting is really remarkable. Don’t miss this.

Chris Bragg

 


 




 


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