It is particularly interesting to hear how the closing section acquires breadth and sonorous weight on the organ, whereas on the harpsichord the less sustained notes give the same passage the character of a decrescendo. (The same effect occurs at the end of the Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la and several other pieces.) The organ makes the melodies, imitations and dissonances sing out beautifully, but the harpsichord gives greater clarity to the rapid left-hand runs. My first instinct, having recorded both, was to leave only the harpsichord version on this complete recording; yet the organ’s sustained notes and eloquent gravity certainly add a quality that cannot be achieved on the plucked strings of the harpsichord. Debussy specifically wished his Nocturnes to sound ‘flou’ (unclear); similarly, waves of slightly imprecise organ sound in a large building can be moving. Yet modern technology usually only offers our ears an absolutely clear and clean sound, as if this were the only way the music should speak to us...
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999