Duruflé: Veni creator; Prelude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Durufle
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Veni creator; Prelude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain
PERFORMER: Hans Fagius (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1304

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Adding another Duruflé oeuvre intégrale to the catalogue alongside those of Olivier Latry, Pierre Pincemaille, Todd Wilson and John Scott, this one commends itself on a number of counts, though ultimately cedes to any of these predecessors. In places the Swedish player Hans Fagius hits upon a spontaneous and improvisatory quality, so vital for this slimly structured music, notably in the Adagio of the Veni creator and in the Prelude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain. The pacing of the build-up in the latter’s Fugue is notably well managed. But elsewhere, his playing can sound rather literal-minded. A rhythmically staid interpretation of music that is so often luscious and harmony-driven smacks of an unwanted asceticism. However, it is good to hear the inner parts in the Scherzo, so often played as a wash of impressionistic colour without definition. It is pleasing, too, to hear the newly discovered Méditation, a delightful, if unadventurous, addition to the Duruflé oeuvre. The organ is the fine Frobenius in Aarhus Cathedral, which sounds well, though is not particularly francophone, despite the reeds apparently having been voiced according to French principles. Like many organs placed high in a gallery, its crisp immediacy of sound has proven hard to capture, and the impression is somewhat generalised. The recorded sound on John Scott’s series for Hyperion is much better and achieves a fine balance between impressionistic gauze and clarity.

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William Whitehead