Langlais: Huit chants de Bretagne; Trois esquisses gothiques; Offrande à une âme

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LABELS: FY/Solstice
WORKS: Huit chants de Bretagne; Trois esquisses gothiques; Offrande à une âme
PERFORMER: Jean Langlais (organ)
The phenomenal roar of the Notre Dame organ is something everyone should hear at least once in their life – it is a noise quite unlike any other. It is here captured by two different organists, both of whom frequently deliver great gusts of spine-tingling tutti down the vast nave. Langlais plays his own music, and it is a rare delight to hear some less well-known pieces. The Offrande à une âme, the Requiem for his wife Jeannette, is important both for its extremely personal origins, and its absorption of Messiaen-like tendencies, where the music takes on a more transparent and sectional character. The Notre Dame organ, between vociferations, assists in providing these new textures. Pierre Cochereau, titulaire of the Notre Dame organ from 1955, is portrayed here in two different lights; firstly as a miniaturist, with some Classical-style offerings and a quirky variation suite, with no piece longer than a couple of minutes. He here restricts himself to the oldest stops, from the late 18th-century Clicquot part of the organ. The second half of the disc is Cochereau as himself, and never more so than in the Sortie from the Messe dominicale. For a few fleeting minutes, true inspiration is captured on disc for posterity. William Whitehead