THIERRY ESCAICH - Live Improvisations

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Gerhard Grenzing Organ
THIERRY ESCAICH - Live Improvisations - Gerhard Grenzing Organ - 4026798106911 - Released: November 2010 - Aeolus AE-10691

In September 2009, the new organ in the Church of Santa María, Deba (Basque country, Province of Guipúzkoa), built by the Gerhard Grenzing Organ company of Barcelona, was introduced to a wide public with a series of inaugural concerts. The French organist and composer Thierry Escaich, one of the world’s most important improvisers, performed the opening concert on September 5th, 2009. He improvised on his own themes, music by other composers, and on traditional themes from the basque folklore. The opening concert was recorded live. This recording communicates a very authentic impression of the spectacular live experience of an unforgettable concert evening, honoured with long-lasting applause by the numerous listeners. It also captures and brings into focus the creative process as it happens.

This exceedingly creative composer and improviser is in control of a wide range of attributes such as an innate understanding of harmonic relations and unusual but effective intervals and combinations, a keen sense of the dramatic, and an intrinsic perception and knowledge of the instrument that allows him to use and combine stops in an effective and colorful manner. His improvisations are so elaborate that you would think he is playing something pre-composed and pre-rehearsed instead of creating music as it happens. All the more thrilling and challenging stuff to listen to, and gasp at the musical complexities as they unfold.

Gothic Suite on "Agur, Itziarko Birjina Ederra"
- Ouverture
- Musette
- Courante
- Sicilienne
- Fantasque
- Aria
- Final

Agur, Itziarko Birjina Ederra
- Fantasia on "Agur, Itziarko Birjina Ederra"

Ritual Dance on a theme from "Litanies" by J. Alain

Transsylvanian Dance

Prelude and Double Fugue on "O filii et filiae"

Plaza Zaharra
- Fantasia on "Plaza Zaharra"

Osio Bide Polka
- Pantomime on "Osio Bide Polka"


Debako Martxa
- Finale on the "Marcha de Deba"

The 40-stop instrument, although small in concept, is a synthesis of the larger instruments found in the Iberian tradition. Along with its older brothers, it features impressive nazard and reed stops, peculiar to the Iberian organ building tradition. Because it was built to fit perfectly within the size and acoustics of the church, regardless of its limited number of stops, it can still produce and project wide dynamics, that at certain moments will blow your hair back. The fine Aeolus recording has captured the organ's fine details and surprising power, and the creative energy within that impressive inaugural concert, for you to enjoy in your living room.

Jean-Yves Duperron - January 2011