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Cesar Franck At Notre Dame, Paris.


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Andrew Fletcher's review in the latest Organists' review of the new Latry Franck CD from Deutche Gramophon (for some reason titled 'IN SPIRITUM') is nothing short of extatic! Has anyone heard it yet - if so is it worth buying?

 

AJJ

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Andrew Fletcher's review in the latest Organists' review of the new Latry Franck CD from Deutche Gramophon (for some reason titled 'IN SPIRITUM') is nothing short of extatic! Has anyone heard it yet - if so is it worth buying?

 

AJJ

 

Hmm: Franck (not complete!), DG, Latry, NDdP - seems like the recipe for something spectacular (though I find the Messiaen somewhat 'cold').

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Hmm: Franck (not complete!), DG, Latry, NDdP - seems like the recipe for something spectacular (though I find the Messiaen somewhat 'cold').

 

I was disppointed by his Franck, which I found to be much colder than his Messiaen (I like the latter quite a lot, actually). I very much prefer his Duruflé and his Vierne from the 1980's. But maybe he has set standards so high that one ends up "expecting" too much from him...

 

Anyway, my favourite Franck set is that of Susan Landale.

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I have a few Franck sets, but neither the Latry nor the Landale.  I can't say that I find any of those I have quite "right".  Is the Landale Franck currently available?  What label is it on?  Where was it recorded?

 

Rgds,

MJF

I recently purchased the Susan Landale 2CD set of Franck organ works. It is on the Callope label. I ordered it from http://crotchet.co.uk where it retails at £12.95 plus p+p costs. A bargain, featuring as it does superb performances on several C-Coll organs including St Sulpice.

 

The DG Latry recording which received just about the most positive review I have ever read in the new edition of Organists Review, elsewhere has had mixed reviews. All seem to agree on fantastic sound, but....

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I have a few Franck sets, but neither the Latry nor the Landale.  I can't say that I find any of those I have quite "right".  Is the Landale Franck currently available?  What label is it on?  Where was it recorded?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

As Jeremy already said, it has been published by Calliope. Details (including instruments) can be found on their Web site here.

 

Just curious: which Franck sets do you already have?

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Just curious: which Franck sets do you already have?

 

I have the Demessieux, which I think is very good, and "almost there".

 

I have half of the Costa, which is good, but not quite up to Demessieux. (The other half disappeared during my move interstate, along with various other recordings and belongings. Unfortunately, I think this recording is now long out of print.)

 

I have the Guillou, which I bought expecting something of an eccentric performance - I certainly wasn't disappointed on that score - and as much as anything to hear what the (then fairly new) St Eustache van den Heuvel sounded like.

 

And I have the Langlais, which I bought hoping to hear a pure Ste Clotilde tradition Franck. Oh well ...

 

Rgds,

MJF

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I'd just like to add that Jean Costa recorded at Perpignan cathedral, which ACC re-built in 1857 to a scheme of 58 stops over 4 manuals and pedals. It was enlarged by some 20 stops in the 1930s, but seems as far as possible to have been fully restored to its ACC condition by Renaud in 1993.

 

The Perpignan organ is a somewhat larger cousin of the original Ste Clotilde instrument. The Pedale has the same stoplist, while the Recit is just 3 stops larger - Viole 4', Cornet V and Cor Anglais 8'. The Grand-Orgue and Positif are less developed than their equivalents at Ste. Clotilde, but the Bombarde division (manual 1) contains the resources they lack, eg. Bombarde 16', Flute Harmonique 8' and Flute Octaviante 4'.

 

Yes, I may be indulging myself in a bit of fantasy, but I do like to think that the sound of the Perpignan organ perhaps gets a little closer to the original Ste Clotilde than any other.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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As a "Franck-ophile", I have numerous CDs of his works, all with different qualities. André Marchal at the pre-Van den Heuvel St. Eustache, Marcel Dupré at St. Thomas New York, MC-A, David Sanger, Peter Hurford, Eric Lebrun and so on. However this week, when I wanted to brush up my reading of the third Choral I returned as I always do, to the recording by Fernando Germani at Selby Abbey. He was the one who first introduced me to Franck, playing at All Souls Langham Place in the 1950s, and I have been hooked ever since. I am looking forward to Pierre Pincemaille's new CD which I expect to have something different from all those that have gone before.

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I have the Demessieux, which I think is very good, and "almost there".

 

I have half of the Costa, which is good, but not quite up to Demessieux.  (The other half disappeared during my move interstate, along with various other recordings and belongings.  Unfortunately, I think this recording is now long out of print.)

 

I have the Guillou, which I bought expecting something of an eccentric performance - I certainly wasn't disappointed on that score - and as much as anything to hear what the (then fairly new) St Eustache van den Heuvel sounded like.

 

And I have the Langlais, which I bought hoping to hear a pure Ste Clotilde tradition Franck.  Oh well ...

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

If those are the ones you don't find "quite right", your taste pretty much seems to match mine - I haven't listened to Costa, but neither of the others are among my favourites.

 

Besides the Landale and Robilliard sets I already mentioned, I like the Marchal set mentioned by John (the quality of that 1958 recording is somewhat marginal, and the organ horribly out of tune, but Marchal's playing is pure poetic delight). I'm also quite fond of Jacques Amade at St-Ouen (on the Chamade label, which unfortunately went out of business) and of Thorsten Laux at Laon Cathedral (IFO label).

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After listening with great pleasure to some of Pincemaille's other CDs (notably his improvisations and his Stravinsky transcriptions), I was disappointed by his Widor set. It surely has a lot of raw energy, but all too often, he gives me the impression of "shaking" Widor's music more than necessary. Well, it is all a matter of taste, of course, but overall, I still prefer Ben van Oosten - his playing makes this music sing and breathe.

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As a "Franck-ophile", I have numerous CDs of his works, all with different qualities.  André Marchal at the pre-Van den Heuvel St. Eustache, Marcel Dupré at St. Thomas New York, MC-A, David Sanger, Peter Hurford, Eric Lebrun and so on.  However this week, when I wanted to brush up my reading of the third Choral I returned as I always do, to the recording by Fernando Germani at Selby Abbey.  He was the one who first introduced me to Franck, playing at All Souls Langham Place in the 1950s, and I have been hooked ever since.  I am looking forward to Pierre Pincemaille's new CD which I expect to have something different from all those that have gone before.

 

 

Did not Michael Murray record a set of Franck at St Sernin ? And from the LP era Marie-Claire Alain (forget where she was playing but remember the notes provided a fairly detailed comparison between the organ she was using and St Clotilde in Franck's time. Also Graham Steed on Bath Abbey shortly after the previous reconstruction

 

Brian Childs

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Pierre Pincemaille, there is one great organist, his complete widor played on C.C. organs is outstanding. I bought the boxed set while in Paris a while back, I have not heard better,,,,,,yet

Peter

 

I do agree with you!

As for Van Oosten, I assume he is a great organist but in his Widor, he has simply played the notes, as Pincemaille has tried to revamp a music which was considered by many as too "oldish".

I heard the 4th symphonie played by him in St Sulpice 2 years ago: it was spendid!

For Franck, he has warned me that he had taken into consideration the "pianist" as well as the "orchestrator" sides of Franck...

Will it be popular or not? Certainly a matter of taste but as always with PP his interpretation can't leave you indifferent ;)

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As for Van Oosten, I assume he is a great organist but in his Widor, he has simply played the notes, as Pincemaille has tried to revamp a music which was considered by many as too "oldish".

 

If, by "simply played the notes", you mean "dull", then I beg to differ. What is true is that van Oosten lets the music speak for itself - simply, musically, and beautifully. On the other hand, Pincemaille seems to, kind of, "squeeze" the musicality out of the notes by force. His interpretation is full of good ideas and intentions, but the actual result overshoots them by quite a margin.

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Did not Michael Murray record a set of Franck at St Sernin ?  And from the LP era Marie-Claire Alain (forget where she was playing but remember the notes provided a fairly detailed comparison between the organ she was using  and St Clotilde in Franck's time. Also Graham Steed on Bath Abbey shortly after the previous reconstruction

 

Brian Childs

 

 

I remember being bitterly disappointed by the MM set. The organ sounds wondrous, but the tempi! The final pages of the Grand Piece Symphonique, for example, are simply interminable, and one is left suspecting this is all musically rather thin...

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  • 2 weeks later...

My copy of the Olivier Latry Franck arrived this morning. I don't know if it would sound better on SACD equipment, but I found it disappointing from start to finish. I didn't perceive a single spark of emotion or ray of sunshine anywhere. Nor did it sound like N.D. de Paris. At times, the melodic lines were almost lost. When I contrast this recording with the energy in the Vierne and Widor discs, I can't help thinking that the chemistry between composer, performer and producer was less successful on this occasion.

 

JC

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  • 2 months later...

yes, I have. Generally, very well played indeed. But I wish Mr Fletcher had warned us about Latry's decision to interpolate a sort of mini-cadenza at the end of Piece Heroique. It is, shall we say, an "error of judgement". Franck's (fine) ending needs no further inflation.

Peter Godden

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Latry's decision to interpolate a sort of mini-cadenza at the end of Piece Heroique. It is, shall we say, an "error of judgement". Franck's (fine) ending needs no further inflation.

Peter Godden

 

If I'm not mistaken, that mini-cadenza is not due to Latry, but to Franck himself, in the initial draft of the manuscript as he played it for the inauguration of the Trocadero organ in 1878. He removed it for the printed edition (and I agree that restoring it isn't exactly the brightest idea Latry has had so far).

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yes, I have. Generally, very well played indeed. But I wish Mr Fletcher had warned us about Latry's decision to interpolate a sort of mini-cadenza at the end of Piece Heroique. It is, shall we say, an "error of judgement". Franck's (fine) ending needs no further inflation.

Peter Godden

 

Acc is correct - , there exists an 'alternative' ending of this work - I have a recording of Maurice Clerc (Organiste Titulaire of Dijon Cathedral since 1973) playing the organ of S. Sernin, Toulouse. He, too, plays a different ending to the Pièce Héroïque. I have not heard the recording by Latry, but I suspect that it is the same variation. I have a vague recollection of reading where the manuscript for this alteration is located. Unfortunately, I am currently unable to recall the details.

 

Personally, I quite like the original ending - it is, after all, only different for about two bars: a repeated fanfare-like tonic major chord on the clavier over a dominant pedal, followed by two altered chords (including a dominant seventh with an added sixth) and the resolved tonic chord played as a grace-note before the tonic-dominant-tonic pedal-hopping ending. Not too different!

 

I have to say that I was more surprised whilst turning pages for David Briggs during his recital on the occasion of the re-opening of the organ of Gloucester Cathedral after the 2000 restoration by Nicholson & Co. Shortly before the conclusion of the JSB Passacaglia and Fugue, he inserted a slightly longer (and completely improvised) cadenza. However, it sounded both effective and entirely in keeping with the style of the work and the mood of the evening. It can be heard on the commercially-released CD, recorded at the time.

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My copy of the Olivier Latry Franck arrived this morning.  I don't know if it would sound better on SACD equipment, but I found it disappointing from start to finish.  I didn't perceive a single spark of emotion or ray of sunshine anywhere.  Nor did it sound like N.D. de Paris.  At times, the melodic lines were almost lost.  When I contrast this recording with the energy in the Vierne and Widor discs, I can't help thinking that the chemistry between composer, performer and producer was less successful on this occasion.

 

JC

You better try the very last recording of Franck's organ works by Pincemaille on St Sernin de Toulouse!

He explains why he has adopted rather faster tempi than usual.

http://www.solstice-music.com/index.php?basculeLangue=true

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