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OLIVIER LATRY: Voyages – (Organ transcriptions) – Olivier Latry, organ – Erato/ Warner Classics

OLIVIER LATRY: Voyages – (Organ transcriptions) – Olivier Latry, organ – Erato/ Rhino Warner Classics 0190295888503, 78:31 (1/20/17) **1/2:

Good recording of a rather mundane program.

Voyages” is the first album to be recorded on the new organ of the Paris Philharmonie. Voyages contains 11 famous pieces – ranging from BACH to KHACHATURIAN By way of MENDELSSOHN, CHOPIN, LISZT, WAGNER, SAINT-SAËNS, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, FAURÉ, DEBUSSY and DE FALLA – it showcases both the ‘symphonic’ capacities of the new organ and the artistry of leading French organist Olivier Latry. Paris’s magnificent new concert hall, the Philharmonie, opened in January 2015, but its massive organ – which has over 6000 pipes and 91 different stops and weighs more than 25 tons – was not inaugurated until early 2016. This CD, Voyages, containing short pieces transcribed for organ, is the first to be recorded on the new instrument.

From the CD it’s clear this is a fine instrument. The low end is palpable, and the microphone is set back to give a sense of the acoustic space. I would have preferred the extended range of an SACD, but the CD rendering holds its own.

Larry is a fine organist. A native of northern France, he is closely associated with the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where he has held the position of Titular Organist for more than 30 years. He is also Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatoire and a celebrated international performer who has appeared in 50 countries across five continents.

My only complaint is the rather mundane selection of music for this debut CD. There are so many fine organ pieces, I feel a little cheated with these transcriptions. The Sabre Dance by Khachaturian, for example, really works better to my ear with an orchestra. And while it would have been an easy and good choice to play part of the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, instead we get his Dance Macabre in transcription.

So – good sound, but I think an uninspired selection of music.

TrackList:
1 Sabre Dance From Gayaneh, composed by Aram Khatchaturian
2 Danse Rituelle Du Feu From El Amor Brujo, composed by Manuel De Falla
3 Variations Serieuses Op. 5. composed by  Felix Mendelssohn*
4 Sinfonia From Cantata BWV 29 Wir Danken Dir, Gott, Wir Danken Dir, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
5 Der Heilige Franziskus Von Paula Auf Den Wogen Schreitend, composed by Franz Liszt
6 Vorspiel Und Isoldes Liebestod From Tristan Und Isolde, composed by Richard Wagner
7 Prelude Op. 28, No. 4, composed by Frédéric Chopin
8 Le Vol Du Bourdon . Flight Of The Bumblebee, composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
9 La Cathedrale Engloutie From Preludes, Livre I, composed by Claude Debussy
10 Sicilienne From Pelleas et Melisande, Op. 80, composed by Gabriel Fauré
11 Danse Macabre Op. 40, composed by Camille Saint-Saëns

—Mel Martin

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