Hyperion Records

Messe solennelle, Op 16
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

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66898 track 4
Recording date
14 June 1996
Recording venue
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Arthur Johnson
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Vierne, Widor & Dupré: Choral Music (CDA66898)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: February 1997
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