Hyperion Records

Grand Offertoire in D
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Léo Delibes, composer of the ballet Coppélia, knew Batiste as his uncle, but to students at the Paris Conservatoire he was the prodigy who had entered the institution himself at the age of ten and who had become Professor of solfeggio at sixteen. He became organist at the church of St Nicholas-des-Champs in 1842, then St Eustache in 1854, in an era when church worship and grand opera were genres not too far removed from each other.

This Grand Offertoire opens with solemn and pompous grandeur and leads into a stormy Allegro whose theme entwines the sharper angles of the harmonic minor key before an unashamedly naked cadence takes the music into an Andante maestoso aria, an exercise in organistic bel canto with coloratura decoration. The next Allegro plunges straight into another operatic cataclysm before the vox humana sings out serenely below flute decorations in another Andante maestoso. This operatic digest has a happy ending, regally Grandioso.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1992

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