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Hyperion Records

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Leaving La Madeleine by Jean Beraud (1849-1935)
Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67922
Recording details: May 2009
La Madeleine, Paris, France
Produced by Michael Hedley
Engineered by Dick Koomans
Release date: July 2012
Total duration: 6 minutes 6 seconds

'The mighty Fantaisie pour orgue-Aeolian, complete with tubular bells, written for the new American Aeolian organ in 1906, sounds epic on this vast, brooding instrument, so splendidly tamed by the dextrous Smith' (The Observer)

'Saint-Saëns described the Fantaisie as 'unplayable by the hands and feet' but Andrew-John Smith proves otherwise … in the more conventional repertoire, Smith capitalises on the colours that the La Madeleine instrument so richly offers' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The variety of colour explored by Smith on this fabulous instrument contributes to the joyous experience of listening to his performance. The use of orchestral tubular bells … is successful and Smith's dextrous virtuosity thrills us though to the conclusion … the enthusiasm with which Smith talks about these pieces in his notes … is amply reflected in his playing, which is in turn commanding, sensitive, robust and lyrical, as the music requires' (International Record Review)

Élévation ou Communion in E major, Op 13
composer
1859; dedicated to Alexis Chauvet

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The Élévation ou Communion in E major, Op 13, was dedicated to one of Saint-Saëns’ friends, Alexis Chauvet, whom the composer helped secure his old position at St Merry in 1863. Whilst it survives in an early manuscript that may date from as early as 1856 (Bonnerot gives 1859) it was not published until its inclusion in a volume by Canaux et Maeyens-Couvreur in 1865. There remains the possibility that it originated as a now-lost motet for upper voices though by the time of its publication it was on two staves and carried the indication ‘2 Claviers et Pédale’. The work clearly enjoyed a certain success and was republished by Durand in separate versions for organ and harmonium in 1880 and in Saint-Saens’ own transcription for piano solo in 1886.

from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2012

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