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Originally launched in Canada in 2007 – and due to complete in 2020 – Montreal-born Vincent Boucher’s survey of the complete organ music of Charles Tournemire for ATMA Classique has reached its third volume (of a projected 20), offering an opportunity to get up to speed with the series thus far. All three discs have been programmed thematically, with the first, Resurrectio, employing Casavant’s 6,489-pipe IV/55 Opus 869 in the Church of the Holy Guardian Angels in Lachine to present a compendium of pieces associated with or alluding to the Resurrection. Boucher offers an unambiguous declaration of intent for the huge undertaking to follow, making full use of the instrument’s imposing dynamics and wide colour palette to deliver richly executed readings whose robust poetry sits more than comfortably with Tournemire’s signature sense of the mystic.

That deeply Catholic mysticism is to the fore in the second volume, Nativitas, which focuses on the hushed expectancy and joyous realisation of the birth of Christ, and finds Boucher relocating to the Grand IV/65 Opus 615 Casavant in Montreal’s Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste. (It is Boucher’s intention to record the complete series on important Canadian organs.) And again, the soloist acquits himself with remarkable technical dexterity and panache, treating the beguiling simplicity of the Petites fleurs musicales with captivating delicacy, and the op.75 Fresque symphonique sacrée with what can only be described as hypnotic understatement.

Volume 3 is titled, aptly enough, Trinitas and has the imposing, agenda-changing op.41 Triple Choral at its centre: a work that draws a fine performance from Boucher as he deftly negotiates the shift from the ecstatic to the meditative – the touchstone for much else here – and reveals himself to be especially adroit with both Tournemire’s feathery introspection and his free-flowing and full-bodied improvisations (notably in the Offices from L’Orgue mystique).

All three discs boast superb recordings – courtesy of engineers Anne-Marie Sylvestre and François Goupil, and producer Johanne Goyette – and set the bar impressively high for a survey that will be well worth following.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing