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Saint-Saens - Seven Improvisations Opus 15


AJJ

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I've just come across these on a CD - they sound rather fine to me - do they get played much? I certainly have not heard them in recitals recently.

 

A

 

I play them as a set, and have also recorded them (on a CD from the recently rebuilt organ of Giggleswick School). Two were recorded by Christopher Dearnley (nos.4 and 7) some years ago in the Great Cathedral organ Series, and I believe Margaret Phillips has also recorded them. They rather 'take their time' so aren't easy to programme as a set, though they are extremely evocative and allow the player to display the delicate colours of an organ really well. Needless to say, the most often played, no.7 is the boisterous one of the set. I believe they were written long after Saint-Saens ceased holding any sort of organ appointment; I think they were written when he was in retirement in Algeria.

 

I have more than a slight soft spot for them and can recommend them to anyone who doesn't simply live for loud noises and a chance to show off!

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I've dipped into these from time to time, but never learnt the complete set. I should; they're all excellent and none of them is overly difficult, not even no.7. As Cynic says, they would be an excellent choice if you want to show off a variety of softer colours of the organ. Hmm... I think I might go and run them through again on the old toaster, just for fun.

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