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Hyperion Records

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Night from the roof of One St Paul's Churchyard (2006) by Peter Spens
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA68046
Recording details: April 2012
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Richard Pinel
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 6 minutes 12 seconds

'I am totally convinced throughout this splendid album by Johnson's playing, which is superbly poised and magnificently self-assured' (Gramophone)

'Transcribing Franck's D minor Symphony for organ works extremely well. Simon Johnson's performance on the instrument at St Paul's Cathedral is deftly paced, and the shorter pieces are also enjoyable' (BBC Music Magazine) » More

'This new Hyperion recording of Franck's Symphony in Simon Johnson's transcription and played by him on the great organ of St Paul's Cathedral is an impresssive and enlightening experience. Johnson clearly has the measure of the work … I was enthralled throughout. The Cantabile and the great Pièce héroïque are very finely performed … the detail in the recording is surprisingly good considering the venue, and the engineers have to be applauded for capturing this magnificent instrument in its more refined and gentle registration … Johnson's performance is beautifully paced throughout' (International Record Review) » More

Cantabile, M36
1878; No 2 of Trois pièces pour grand orgue, M35-37; composed for the opening of the Paris Trocadéro and first performed in its Salle des Fêtes by the composer on 1 October 1878

Cantabile M36  [6'12]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Franck gave the first performance of the Trois pièces on 1 October 1878, in the Salle des Fêtes (Festival Hall) of the new Palais du Trocadéro, which had been built for the Universal Exhibition held in Paris that year. Written specifically for the occasion, which was probably the most important recital of Franck’s career, they are concert pieces with no specific religious intent. Two of Franck’s most devoted disciples couldn’t help ascribing a spiritual element to the exquisite Cantabile, however, Vincent d’Indy noting that it is ‘the typical prayer of an artist who is also a true Christian’, and the ever-devout Tournemire eulogizing: ‘The soul’s unsatisfied desire—a saint’s inner supplication—incessant pleas—faith in divine mercy.’ Whatever the context, the Cantabile was something of a hit for Franck.

from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2013

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