Franck described the subtext of the work as ‘the joy of the world, transformed and gladdened by the word of Christ’. It is built on two main thematic ideas, the first a gloriously noble tune that Emmanuel Chabrier described as ‘the very soul of music’, and the second an energetic peal from the trombones, with responses and modulations from the brass and woodwind. The two are developed and combined ingeniously.
Marcel Dupré made a transcription of the Symphonic Interlude that he played before Midnight Mass at the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, where he was the organist. The tradition of playing the work was carried on by his successors, Jean-Jacques Grunenwald, and the present titulaire, Daniel Roth, who made his own more detailed version that forms the basis of what is recorded here.
from notes by Simon Johnson © 2013