Vierne: 24 Pièces de fantaisie

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LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm Gold
WORKS: 24 Pièces de fantaisie
PERFORMER: Ben van Oosten (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 316 0847-2
Vierne’s 24 Pièces de fantaisie were written towards the end of his life, at a time when his many recital tours overseas were bringing to bear a marked influence on his compositional style. There is a wonderfully broad range of moods and textures to be found here, spanning every major and minor key, from the sombre tranquillity of ‘Résignation’ to the impish humour of ‘Feux follets’ and the imposing austerity of ‘Cathédrales’, which one can imagine filling effortlessly the vast expanses of Vierne’s beloved Notre Dame Cathedral.


Ben van Oosten plays on the splendid four-manual Cavaillé-Coll instrument at St Ouen, Rouen, giving performances of great integrity and finesse. His finely honed technique lends many of the faster pieces such as ‘Naïades’ from Suite No. 4 a real lightness of touch and vivid characterisation. Most satisfying is his ability to let the music ebb and flow naturally, for instance in ‘Clair de lune’ from Suite No. 2, where the delicious opening flute solo defies any mechanical origin and the marriage between sound and acoustic seems almost ideal. The famous ‘Carillon de Westminster’ achieves its thrilling impact mainly through van Oosten’s finely-judged tempo. A hugely enjoyable disc. Stephen Haylett