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RACHEL LAURIN - Organ Works - Rachel Laurin (Organ) - Karen Holmes (Organ) - Caroline Léonardelli (Harp) - Damian Rivers-Moore (Horn) - 003469694322 - Released: May 2013 - Raven OAR-943

1} Epilogue, Op. 50
2} Fantasia for Organ and Harp, Op. 52
3} Twelve Short Pieces, Volume 2
4} Sonata for Organ and Horn, Op. 60
5} Prelude and Fugue in F minor, Op. 45

One need only listen to the Epilogue, Op. 50 to conclude that Rachel Laurin is not an organist who merely dabbles in composition, but rather a solid composer who also happens to be a fine organist. It's built around three main ideas led by a turbulent and agitated introduction, a beautifully melodic second subject, and a hymn-like progression of broad chords that expose Laurin's French Roman Catholic upbringing, that all merge into one heck of a piece of music that would put any organist to the challenge. And at the other end of the spectrum lies the strangely compelling Fantasia for Organ and Harp, Op. 52 in which harpist Caroline Léonardelli and organist Rachel Laurin weave together beautiful sounds from both instruments producing a wide gamut of effects and colors re-inforced by the quality of the writing. Each and every piece on this new CD has something different and subtantial to say. From the deeply expressive slow movement of the Sonata for Organ and Horn, Op. 60 to the quirky Fuga Comica from the Twelve Short Pieces where the joke is on the poor organist who has to learn how to play it, every one has a character all its own and the stamp of a great composer.

An added attraction, and an extra bonus for me in particular, is the fact that this recording was made in the Ste-Anne Church in Ottawa, Canada. A church where I myself was organist for about 25 years. Unfortunately for me, I left that position about two years before they decided to renovate the organ in 1988. It's a fine Casavant 40 stop instrument built in 1917 that, while I was organist there, was plagued by many problems mostly caused by neglect and also bits of plaster and drywall dust stuck in the pipes from building renovations that had occured many years before. The 1988 rebuild seems to have brought it back to its original glory. It's an organ blessed with beautiful flute and wood stops.

Raven Recordings once again does what it does best by presenting to us music, musicians and instruments off the beaten path. May the discoveries never end.

Jean-Yves Duperron - June 2013