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Track(s) taken from CDA67922

O salutaris hostia in D major

1904; dedicated to Gaston Choisnel; Saint-Saëns' own arrangement of the fifth movement of his Op 4 Mass of 1856

Andrew-John Smith (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2011
La Madeleine, Paris, France
Produced by Daniel Moult
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: July 2012
Total duration: 2 minutes 52 seconds

Cover artwork: Leaving La Madeleine by Jean Beraud (1849-1935)
Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'The mighty Fantaisie pour orgue-Aeolian, complete with tubular bells, written for the new American Aeolian organ in 1906, sounds epic on this vast, brooding instrument, so splendidly tamed by the dextrous Smith' (The Observer)

'Saint-Saëns described the Fantaisie as 'unplayable by the hands and feet' but Andrew-John Smith proves otherwise … in the more conventional repertoire, Smith capitalises on the colours that the La Madeleine instrument so richly offers' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The variety of colour explored by Smith on this fabulous instrument contributes to the joyous experience of listening to his performance. The use of orchestral tubular bells … is successful and Smith's dextrous virtuosity thrills us though to the conclusion … the enthusiasm with which Smith talks about these pieces in his notes … is amply reflected in his playing, which is in turn commanding, sensitive, robust and lyrical, as the music requires' (International Record Review)
Gaston Choisnel is the dedicatee of O salutaris hostia, the only organ transcription of his own work that Saint-Saëns ever published. Generally he was happy to allow others (Guilmant, Busser, Boëllmann and Gigout among them) to undertake these arrangements for him, but in 1904 he himself returned to the Mass, Op 4, of 1856, and to its graceful fifth movement, for sopranos and organ, as the source for this miniature. He performed the piece himself at the Salle Pleyel in November 1904, prompting Arthur Pougin to write in Le Ménestrel of this ‘absolutely delightful’ work that it ‘so enchanted the audience’ and that ‘so enthusiastic was the applause that he should have repeated it’.

from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2012

Gaston Choisnel fut le dédicataire d’O salutaris hostia, que Saint-Saëns—fait unique—transcrivit lui-même pour orgue. D’ordinaire, il était heureux de laisser à d’autres (notamment Guilmant, Busser, Boëllmann et Gigout) le soin de réaliser ces arrangements mais, en 1904, il revint à sa Messe op. 4 de 1856 et à son charmant cinquième mouvement, pour sopranos et orgue, source de cette miniature. Il la joua à la salle Pleyel en novembre 1904, ce qui fit écrire à Arthur Pougin, dans Le Ménestrel: une pièce «absolument ravissante» qui «enchanta tant le public» et qui souleva «des applaudissements si enthousiastes qu’il a dû la bisser».

extrait des notes rédigées par Andrew-John Smith © 2012
Français: Hypérion

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