Auguste FAUCHARD (1881-1957)
Symphonie Eucharistique (1944) [56:10]
Presentation of the Légion d’Honneur to Fauchard on 5 June 1953 by Marcel Dupré and Fauchard’s acceptance speech [20:30]
Emmanuel Hocdé (organ)
rec. 6-8 April 2010, Cavaillé-Coll organ de l’Eglise Saint-Sulpice, Paris. DDD
world premiere recording
French composer, priest-organist, Auguste Fauchard was much associated with Laval Cathedral. Seemingly his music was influenced by Widor and Dupré. He attended the Schola Cantorum, Paris in 1925-27. There his tutors were Vierne and d’Indy. His catalogue of compositions includes motets, songs, symphonic works and pieces for cello and piani. His organ catalogue takes in four organ symphonies: numbers 3 and 4 of which date from 1941 and 1944. His other prominent organ works include Le Mystère de Noel (1940), Choral (1950), In Memoriam (1952) and Cinq Chorals sur Vexilla regis (1953). Thierry Adhumeau counts Fauchard’s Messe de Sainte Thérèse de l’enfant Jésus (1947) as “a sheer masterpiece”.
The playing is imposing and Hocdé sustains the spell across a canvas of Mahlerian span. The Symphonie’s four movements: Invitatoire, Sacrifice, Communion and Procession together run to 56 fascinating minutes. As someone who is positively allergic to the sound of the organ I found this work deeply attractive. Its moods and styles range from Delian ruminative in the Invitatoire – the Delian sound-world is in the ascendant here - to gratingly mordant dissonance in the Sacrifice du Calvaire. Those harsh blows at 10:00 into tr. 2 surely represent the crucifixion and the nails hammered home. This is carried forward at 11:00 in a sort of dynamic breathing that echoes the earlier martellato but leached of all impact and transformed into a tired ostinato. It’s remarkable. Much of this music is regally imposing simmering between Delius and Franck. The sweetly innocent carol-like Communion seems to hymn atonement and restored innocence towards a state of guiltless repose. The Procession makes free with brusquely celebratory dissonance evocative of Messiaen in rolling abrasively crashing festival waves (tr. 5 7:02). The rising climax of that finale distantly references “Twinkle twinkle little star” – surely unintentional. A pummelling tumult of impacts rises to a most glorious peroration at 10:33. It’s angular and awkward but the effect is one of sovereign and piled-high majesty.
The organ’s specification is spelt out on pages 30-33. Its action can be clearly heard in the first and fourth tracks of the Symphonie but it detracts not a jot.
The disc ends with 20 minutes of the presentation to the composer by Marcel Dupré of the Légion d’Honneur. That was in 1953. Dupré’s oration is like a magical invocation. Fauchard’s reply is more formal. With primary grade French I could follow most of what was said but I guess you will listen just the once.

Rob Barnett
A pummelling tumult of impacts rises to a most glorious peroration. Sovereign and piled-high majesty. Glorious!