DuprŽ/Gilles/Demessieux

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Dupré/Gilles/Demessieux
LABELS: Guild
WORKS: Symphony in G minor, Op. 25; Cortège et Litanie; Symphony in E minor; Poème
PERFORMER: Jeremy Filsell (organ); BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth
CATALOGUE NO: GMCD 7136
Dupré’s orchestral sound is thick and not differentiated enough from that of the organ; the whole thing sounds like porridge being stirred. It’s not the fault of the performances: these are generally alert and well co-ordinated, though problems of tuning between soloist and orchestra are not always entirely solved. The recently built organ at St John’s, Smith Square doesn’t help; something with a more ‘snarly’ French sound would have given much more variation to the colour. Stylistically, Dupré’s music is firmly in the line of Franck, but it doesn’t have his thematic strength. At the end of the Symphony, I was hard-pressed to recall any of the previous 27 minutes, which had felt more and more like some pre-service improvisation. The solo Symphony by Joseph Gilles, who died in 1942, suffers from the same fault: after two lengthy, meandering slow movements, a lively intermezzo and a vigorous finale come too late to recapture the interest. Most interesting is the Poème by Demessieux. At last, there is some musical inventiveness, and the orchestra complements the organ, rather than propping it up. On the whole, a CD solely for devotees of the byways of organ literature. Martin Cotton

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