Langlais: Suite armoricaine; Cinq mélodies de Ronsard; Suite for Piano Duet; Vitrail; Diptyque,

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COMPOSERS: Langlais
LABELS: Solstice
WORKS: Suite armoricaine; Cinq mélodies de Ronsard; Suite for Piano Duet; Vitrail; Diptyque,
PERFORMER: Janine Collard (mezzo-soprano), Claude Faucomprez (clarinet), David Guerrier (trumpet), Marie-Louise Langlais (organ), Jean Langlais, Alain Raës, Sylvie Mallet (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SOCD 180
Best known as an organist-composer, Jean Langlais also wrote chamber works that constitute largely undiscovered territory even for aficionados. His sacred vocal works, such as the Missa Salve regina, have entered the church-music repertoire, and organ music by the successor of Franck and Tournemire at Sainte-Clotilde has readily gained devotees, but few people could claim close acquaintance with most of the works on this welcome new disc.

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The piano is the consistent feature, either on its own, accompanying trumpet, clarinet or voice, or, most unusually, combined with organ for the curious Diptyque. The latter is built upon the unlikely but effective foundations of the early Mouvement perpetuel, the neglect of which by pianists is perplexing. Langlais may not be in the top rank of composers, but his voice warrants attention, especially when performed, as here, with the care of devotees. The jewel in this collection is the account of the Cinq mélodies. Sung by the mezzo-soprano who had inspired them, Janine Collard, and with the composer at the piano, passion rather than polish underlies their spirited performance. A fascinating disc for anyone who thinks that they know the music of Langlais, and a useful resource for performers seeking new repertoire. Christopher Dingle