This disc jumps to the top fidelity-wise of the three different SACDs of Franck’s organ works which I’ve been auditioning recently. So a very small label in Boston can better the efforts of a well-financed major label like DGG in this case. Comparison of the one same selection on the two discs – the Second Chorale – shows a cleaner reproduction of all the different registers and voices and a wider and more architecturally-enveloping feeling of the being in the space where the organ is being played. I’m no organ expert, and hadn’t before heard of particular instrument. It in the Church of Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus, in Montreal, and was built in 1915 with a restoration completed in 1999. Ms. Gary is Professor of Organ at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and an international concert organist.
The opening Grande piece symphonique is the major work here. A masterpiece at the transformation of several different themes into a unified whole, the sublime five-movement work epitomizes the early French symphonic organ school. If the dense musical vocabulary of Franck is run together and muddied in reproduction, as nearly all two-channel recordings do, the positive attributes of his “organ orchestrations” cannot be appreciated. And this hi-res surround recording does a superb job of allowing one to “listen into” the scoring of the different registers and timbres. The last track of the disc – the Final – is similar to Franck’s Heroic Piece in pulling out all the stops, so to speak, and with it’s almost pop-sounding melody, sending parishioners home with a bounce in their step, when used as a postlude.
– John Sunier