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Songes et Élémens
Jean-Baptiste LULLY

Passacaille d’Armide (1686) transc. d’Anglebert [5’10]
Les Songes Agréables d’Atys (1676) transc. d’Anglebert [2’55]
Marche de la Cérémonie turque/Menuet pour les Faunes (1670) [3’00]
Nicolas DE GRIGNY (1672-1703)

Veni Creator (1699): en Taille a 5 [2’32; Fugue a 5 [2’28]; Duo [2’50]; Récit de Cromorne [3’49]; Dialogue sur les grand jeux [3’25]
Louis-Nicolas CLERAMBAULT (1676-1749)

Suite du Deuxième Ton (1710/1714): Plein jeu [2’37]; Duo, Gay [1’35]; Trio, Gracieusement [2’21]; Basse de Cromorne, Gay [1’40]; Flutes [3’08]; Récit de nazard, Gayement et gracieusement [2’28]; Caprice sur les grands jeux, Gayement [2’11]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)

Les Boreades (1764) transc. Thilo Muster: -Entrée [4’38]; Entrée de Peuples [3’36]; Gavotte pour les Heures et les Zephyrs [2’47]; Contredanse en Rondeau [2’47]
Jean-Féry REBEL (1666-1747)

Les Eléments (1737) - Loure: la Terre et l’eau – Chaconne: le Feu [5’00]
Michel CORRETTE (1707-1795)

Pièces de mon Livre de Clavecin qui se peuvent toucher sur l’orgue (1734) Feste Sauvage – Tambourin [1’59]
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704)

Te Deum (1690) - Prelude [1’42]
Olivier Vernet, organ
rec: St Croix, Bordeaux, 29th April 2004 DDD
LIGIA DIGITAL LIDI 0104154-05 [68’20]


This disc is actually a recording of a live concert played by the French organist Olivier Vernet on the famous reconstructed Dom Bedos organ of 1748 in the church of St Croix. Apart from the remarkable skill required to be able to play live concerts which are later released as CDs, this release is also noteworthy for its combination of traditional fare Classical French repertoire and transcriptions of orchestral and vocal music from the late 17th and 18th centuries.

Olivier Vernet is an astonishingly prolific recording artist. A former student of Marie-Claire Alain and Michel Chapuis, and now Professor at the Conservatoire in Tours, he has a reputation for fast, and, it must be said, superficial interpretations. In this release though, I found his approach only once to be too quick; in the central section of the Dialogue sur les Grands Jeux from the Livre D’Orgue of de Grigny. That apart, the playing is filled with panache and flair for both music and instrument. The organ literature is well handled, and although the organ is a generation later than de Grigny, the key-colour from Rameau’s 1726 temperament is very welcome in the Veni Creator. Further, Vernet isn’t afraid to use the big pedal reeds in the literature, perhaps not authentic, but, like the famous recordings of André Isoir in Poitiers, a surely allowable mid/late 18th view of the music of forty or fifty years earlier. However, it is in the transcriptions that the instrument really comes alive. The grandeur and specific affekts so typical in this music are less explicitly found in the 18th century organ music from France; which, arguably, had peaked with de Grigny. Listen to the beautiful inégalité and ornamentation in Rameau’s Les Boréades, or the considerable virtuosity in the Rébel – one seldom hears an 18th century French organ played like this.

And doesn’t the organ just love this music? Now considered one of the ultimate examples of 18th century French organ building, the present instrument is the result of a painstaking reconstruction by the excellent Pascale Quoirin in 1996. A remarkable amount of material had survived from the original instrument, including half the pipework, and nine of the soundboards. One should consider that if one wanted to reconstruct an organ by an 18th century builder anywhere in Europe, then Dom Bedos, whose beautifully practical treatise on organ building is one of the most famous and detailed tomes ever written on the subject, would surely be a dream choice! The organ is now in its original state; five manuals, 32’ Plein Jeu in the Grand Orgue, the pedal reeds with the Grand Ravalement to A0, the solo reeds, (Quoirin’s new Gros Cromorne on the Bombarde is especially impressive), the ultimate Grands Jeux - the sound is just breathtaking.

Despite being slightly brutally recorded, this is hugely entertaining, (the audience in the church obviously loved it as well as evidence by the two encores), and highly recommended. Further, Ligia assure me that the disc won’t cost more than 12 EUR. Don’t miss it.

Chris Bragg

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