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As predicted above, I did indeed buy that CD.

 

The Vierne is excellent with the best singing of any commercial recording I have so far heard and the organ is, well ND de P., maybe not quite as vigorous as the wonderful Pierre Cochereau recording but still spine-tingling.

 

To the second piece then; the Leguay Messe Deo Gratias. To my obviously uneducated ears much of it is little more than a cacophony. Some of the organ part seems largely to consist of a lot of random notes, one of the percussion instruments sounds spookily like the noise one makes by popping an index finger out of the corner of the mouth and the brass, well, a bit like part of the organ score, a lot of seemingly random notes flying about. With the Kyrie taking 12'10", Deo Gratias there isn't a Gloria. At one point I became aware of a gently rising glissando (of the sort made by a wooden "bird whistle" - you know, the one with a plunger) - sounding like a quiet flute stop. "How the hell did Lefebvre do that?" I thought, then remembered that our appropriately French Le Creuset kettle was on the range and just coming to the boil with a gentle whistle! (Proper kettles make much better tea than portable immersion heaters...). That'll teach me to listen on the West Gallery system in the afternoon when Mrs T has just come in from the office in need of refreshment.

 

To be fair I have heard the piece just the once and must say that there some quite exciting moments and one extraordinarily beautiful soprano solo. Some of the lovely quieter voices of the organ are also used to good effect. I shall certainly play it again and am sure I shall get much more from it in the future but do hope it's not on the menu when next I visit Paris.

 

P

 

Those recorded improvisations which I have by Leguay also sound like this description.

 

Editions Lade produced a CD of the organ of Nôtre-Dame de Paris shortly after the 1990 - 92 restoration. Leguay is playing on this recording. As far as I am concerned, it is a greatly wasted opportunity. The idea was to feature many of the individual ranks, then families and various ensembles, followed by the several different tutti effects which are available on this large instrument. Unfortunately, Leguay appeared to lose any imaginative faculty and simply played a few notes and some random chords on each featured stop and combination. There are also one or two sorties recorded live. After one, there is a brief round of appause. Since I have no wish to be uncharitable, I shall not speculate whether this was simply due to the cessation of the row from upstairs.

 

Oh, I appear to have done just that....

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