Alain: Organ Works, Vol. 1: Litanies; Petite pièce; Le jardin suspendu; Deuxième fantaisie; Préludes profanes; Suite

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COMPOSERS: Alain
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Organ Works, Vol. 1: Litanies; Petite pièce; Le jardin suspendu; Deuxième fantaisie; Préludes profanes; Suite
PERFORMER: Eric Lebrun (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553632
This first volume of Alain’s organ music contains some of his more familiar works, including the justly popular Litanies, here given a strangely loose and uneven reading by Eric Lebrun on the Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Church of St Antoine des Quinze-Vingts in Paris. Even though Lebrun’s sense of rubato is entirely appropriate to the grand, sweeping design of the music, it seems to come at the expense of precisely articulated detail, an important requisite for interpreting Alain’s music. Fortunately this is not a fault that can be applied generally to his playing, and it is clear from this disc that Lebrun is a deep thinker who penetrates the soul of the music. Listen to the way in which he breathes fresh air into Le jardin suspendu, a piece which is often a victim of stifling, lifeless playing. I applaud particularly Lebrun’s restrained but colourful registration, bearing in mind that the composer’s own musical imagination was nourished by the intimate and distinctive sound of the family’s house organ. A distinguished recital, given first-class recorded sound. Stephen Haylett

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