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Track(s) taken from CDA67815

Prelude in F major

? circa 1855

Andrew-John Smith (organ)
Recording details: May 2009
La Madeleine, Paris, France
Produced by Michael Hedley
Engineered by Dick Koomans
Release date: August 2011
Total duration: 1 minutes 46 seconds

Cover artwork: Exterior view of La Madeleine, Paris by Philippe Benoist (1813-c1905)
Musée de la Ville de Paris, Musée Carnavalet, Paris / Lauros / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'O lucky Saint-Saëns! Lucky three times over! First, fortunate to have presided over Cavaillé-Coll's magnificent organ in La Madeleine; second, blessed with friends and pupils who revered him and inspired his improvisations; and third, surely grateful now to have in Andrew-John Smith an advocate who understands just how to lift from the printed page and project this remarkably rigorous yet beguiling music. The combination of this artist playing this music in such an authentic setting proves to be unbeatable' (Gramophone)

'Recorded on the Cavaillé-Coll instrument in Paris’s La Madeleine, where Saint-Saëns was organist for two decades, this programme centres on the sort of improvisations that spurred Liszt to describe Saint-Saëns as the finest organist in the world' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The preludes and fugues make a sharply contrasted trio: the first and last, in D minor and C, are grand in scale and conception; the second, in G, is much more compact and relaxed. Smith makes full use of the resources of the Madeleine instrument to colour them all' (The Guardian)
The Prélude in F major survives only in a manuscript source at the Bibliothèque nationale and was printed for the first time in Otto Depenheuer’s 1991 edition. It may be used in all manner of liturgical situations and is surely a typical, if youthful, example of Saint-Saëns’ small-scale improvisations, though Depenheuer concludes that from a break in the manuscript it was originally intended to be part of a larger work.

from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2011

Le Prélude en fa majeur ne subsiste que dans une source manuscrite conservée à la Bibliothèque nationale. Il a été imprimé pour la première fois dans l’édition de 1991 de Depenheuer. Il pourrait être utilisé dans toute sorte de situations liturgiques et est sûrement caractéristique des improvisations à petite échelle de Saint-Saëns, mais Depenheuer pense, à cause d’un trou dans le manuscrit, qu’à l’origine il était destiné à faire partie d’une œuvre plus étendue.

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew-John Smith © 2011
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

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