LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Messe du huitème ton pour l’orgue
PERFORMER: René Saorgin (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 905245
The unique sound-world of the French classical organ, of which both Correte and Jullien were exponents, carries with it a weight of responsibility for the performer. Finding the right instrument on which to perform and making informed decisions about registration are the first two hurdles, which are only partially overcome in this recording.
The veteran French organist René Saorgin plays at his own church, Monaco Cathedral, on the 1975 Boisseau organ. With overbearing mixtures, and a tremulant which emphasises the rather caustic upper registers, Saorgin’s task of making this music sing is an uphill one. The reeds have plenty of fire for the Dialogue movements, however, and Saorgin lilts these along appropriately. Given the number of recordings available on old instruments, the bland equality of this modern organ’s temperament also vitiates some of the music’s expressivity. Nevertheless a recording of this particular Messe is welcome. It is one of the few which were published with precise registration instructions, and therefore provides a cornerstone in our understanding of the palette of French Classical organ colour. If only it had been married to a historic instrument, this performance would be an invaluable document. William Whitehead