One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid world-wide.

French Organ Music from the Golden Age - Volume 3
André RAISON (c.1650-1719)

Messe du premier ton (1688) [33:45]
Offerte du 5me ton (1687) [7:22]
Louis-Nicolas CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749)
Suite du premier ton (c.1710) [17:40]
Suite du deuxième ton (c. 1710) [16:44]
David Ponsford (organ)
rec. 8-10 July 2013, Abbey of Saint-Michel, Thiérache, Aisne, France.

David Ponsford’s excellent series of organ music from the French Golden Age reaches volume 3 with substantial works performed on a stunning instrument by Jean Boizard (c. 1675-1717). This organ is a remarkable survivor of two fires, the French Revolution and two world wars, and has remained essentially unmodified from its early 18th century origins.
André Raison is the less familiar of the two names represented here. He was one of the highest ranking organists in Paris in his day, and composed five organ masses. These are not always based on plainchant melodies and many of the movements have a secular connection to harpsichord dance forms of the time. This results in quite a lively feel for much of the piece, though there is a nice balance between these and the more stately music essential for the appropriate ecclesiastical atmosphere of certain parts of the service. Raison’s Messe du premier ton is something of a compendium of organ styles and moods, and perfect for demonstrating the qualities of the instrument played. The Offerte du 5me ton, Le vivre le roy des Parisiens celebrates the recovery of Louis XIV from a nasty operation, and is an exuberant work full of dance sections. The often spectacular registrations follow those specified by the composer.
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault was a pupil of Raison, and the two suites on this recording are dedicated to him. Clérambault was organist by royal appointment and a natural successor to Raison, composing in the same French Baroque tradition but showing a development in terms of scale and ever richer harmonic treatments. The two suites each have seven movements which would have been the requirement for an alternatim Magnificat: the organ couplets alternating with sung plainchant. Explorations of tonal contrast and dialogue as well as counterpoint and other aspects of French and Italian styles all join to create the kind of superb sequence in which you can just lie back and lose yourself, confident of inhabiting the sounds of the time in which these pieces were written.
The Clérambault works in particular are fairly popular on recordings, and there is even a version made using the same instrument in an otherwise vocal programme from the Virgin Veritas label (see review). David Ponsford’s superb series deserves support however, and truly rewards investment. A review of volume 1 can be found here, and volume 2 here. This third volume is something of a highlight but each has its own special character and they all belong together on your shelf of organ treasures.
Dominy Clements