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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67228
Recording details: November 2000
Berner Münster, Switzerland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: August 2001
Total duration: 17 minutes 54 seconds

'Another feast of organ music played on a fine instrument. Herrick’s playing … can only be described as unfailingly brilliant … Hyperion has found … the key to the continued success of this hugely enjoyable and, at times, downright spectacular series of Organ Fireworks. Herrick is a musician with a powerful urge to communicate. And communicate he does, drawing on his enormous technical and intellectual resources to turn out performances which sometimes amaze, often astound but never fail to stimulate' (Gramophone)

'A definite recommendation for this latest Fireworks CD is in order' (International Record Review)

Trois paraphrases grégoriennes, Op 5

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Like his classmate and lifelong friend Olivier Messiaen, Jean Langlais was profoundly influenced by the work of Charles Tournemire, whom he was to succeed as organist at Sainte Clotilde in Paris and with whom he studied improvisation from 1930 onwards. It was the deeply spiritual quality in Tournemire’s work, as well as the intensely personal use of plainsong, which attracted them. The formal freedom and reliance on the imagination which he encouraged came as a breath of fresh air after the highly structured and rigid teaching of Dupré. Langlais summed up his debt to Tournemire most eloquently when he said, ‘From him I learnt the true poetry of the organ’.

Like Reger, Langlais was enormously prolific and the Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes, written between 1934 and 1935, remain not only one of his earliest works of real maturity but also one of his most enduringly popular. Mors et Resurrectio is prefaced by words of St Paul to the Corinthians, ‘Death, where is thy victory?’, and proceeds inexorably in three mighty waves. The composer identifies two themes: the first, which is of his own invention, represents death and builds gradually from the depths; the second, based on the Introit from the Mass for the Dead, represents life and is first heard on a trumpet stop. After a double exposure of these two ideas the plainsong theme is treated more extensively and develops into an all-engulfing climax. The music has a sense of grandeur, conjuring up the vast and imposing spaces of a Gothic cathedral. It is worth bearing in mind that had it not been for the loss of his sight at the age of two, Langlais may well have followed his father into the family trade of stonecutter.

The second movement is also based on two themes, in this case Gregorian chants, each of which is presented separately. In the third section, one of the most exquisite moments in his entire output, fragments of the two themes float by over sustained chromatic harmonies. The Te Deum is a joyous paean of praise—a rhapsodic treat­ment of the thirteenth-century hymn, with an extended middle section based on the text ‘In Thee have I trusted’.

from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2001

Other albums featuring this work
'Langlais: Missa Salve regina & Messe solennelle' (CDH55444)
Langlais: Missa Salve regina & Messe solennelle
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55444  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
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