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Hyperion Records

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Notre Dame, Paris, 1884 by Felix Benoist
Berko Fine Paintings, Knokke-Zoute / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA66898
Recording details: June 1996
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: February 1997
Total duration: 22 minutes 59 seconds

'This magnificent disc' (Gramophone)

'There can be little doubt that this release will be one of the recordings of the year and my obeisance goes to all artists involved with this outstanding production' (Soundscapes, Australia)

Messe solennelle, Op 16
composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie  [5'26]
Gloria  [6'57]
Sanctus  [2'15]
Benedictus  [3'24]
Agnus Dei  [4'57]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
With the aid of propulsive rhythmic figures in the accompaniment of Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus, which give the music a continual sense of forward momentum, Vierne allows himself more time than Widor, more time for thematic development, and more time for imaginative expression. Perhaps the influences are still slightly undigested; the shadow of Widor looms large over some sections, while passages such as the central ‘Christe’ of the first movement are strongly reminiscent of Franck. But there is no doubt that the whole work is animated by real inspiration; following the awesome solemnity of the Kyrie and the triumphant Gloria and Sanctus, the mysterious antiphonal harmonies of the Benedictus sound a completely new note in the French church music of the time, and the long-breathed phrases of the Agnus Dei, again echoing from choir to Grand Orgue, bring the whole work to a wonderfully serene conclusion.

from notes by David Gammie © 1997

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