World of the Organ Vol. 3

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UGAB - World of the Organ Vol. 3 - La Dalbade (France 1888) - Yves Rechsteiner (Organ) - 3760014196522 - Released: July 2011 - Alpha 652

1- Saint-Saëns - Danse macabre, Op. 40
2- Chopin - Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9
3- Beethoven - Larghetto from Symphony No. 6, Op. 68
4- Lefébure-Wély - Élévation
5- Franck - Fantaisie in A major
6- Widor - Andante from Symphony No. 9 for organ, Op. 70
7- Chopin - Funeral March from Piano Sonata, Op. 35
8- Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14: Marche au supplice
9- Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14: Songe d'une nuit de Sabbat

The organ of La Dalbade, recently restored and never recorded, now stands out as one of the greatest representatives of French romantic organ building. Yves Rechsteiner, distinguished in the first volume of this collection (Cintegabelle/Rameau – Alpha 650), has devoted himself once again to a transcription exercise (brilliantly reviving a long tradition) of major romantic symphonic pieces. Composed on purpose for this recording, the transcriptions enable the instrument to reveal sounds as no other work would. The romantic "Correspondances" come to their full meaning here and enable us to rediscover some very familiar pieces. {Alpha Records}

You may have had the impression from my previous reviews of Vol. 1 - Cintegabelle and Vol. 2 - Lunéville from this wonderful overview of French pipe organs on the Alpha label, that I was extremely pleased with both the recording and presentation quality of this ongoing project. Let me just say that this new volume in the series, without a doubt, reinforces my opinion that this undertaking by the people at Alpha is in a class all its own.

For starters, the transcriptions for organ by Yves Rechsteiner of these orchestral works are brilliant, and once again demonstrate that a good organist, playing on a well designed instrument and using properly configured registrations, can in fact become a one-man orchestra. His choice of stops for each and every piece always serve to highlight the work's orchestral nature and emulate its original orchestration. Even the purely organ works on this recording, like the Élévation by Lefébure-Wély, are given a warm tonal palette which, in this piece in particular, exhibits this organ's beautiful singing qualities and velvety soft foundation stops. And at the other end of the spectrum, you had better hold on to your hat, because your speaker cones will displace lots of air when you listen to the Symphonie Fantastique movements by Hector Berlioz which includes bells, reeds and Bombarde stops going full bore. Yves Rechsteiner's virtuosity over the technical demands alone should be enough to thrill your musical appetite.

And there's the organ itself. I could go on and on about this 1888 Puget Organ from the church of Notre-Dame de La Dalbade in Toulouse which includes such exotic stops as the Euphone, Bariphone and Ophicléide, and its impressive set of foot pistons. But the extensive and detailed 80-page booklet notes and stunning photographs of the organ will tell you the whole story. The booklet alone is worth the price of this CD and explains the need for amaray-style packaging for this series of recordings. Details abound and even include a copy of some of the original design plans for the pneumatic mechanism of the organ. If you are an avid collector of pipe organ recordings, I can't but highly recommend this treasure filled series, which goes without saying, has been planned and put together not only with expertise, but also with a deep love and respect for organ music.

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2011