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Pontevico Abbey in Italy houses a new Mascioni organ of three manuals and 43 stops. Utilising the historic cases of the previous organs either side of the chancel, the Great and Positive divisions are housed on the same side as the console with mechanical action. The Récit and Pedal are housed on the other side with electric action. The style is characterised by a fairly conservative middle-European eclecticism; the reeds ‘neutral’, the flutes rather chiffy, the fonds undeniably warm, aided by the excellent acoustics. The curious translation in the booklet describes the organ as ‘ambivalent’ and I rather feel the same. In any case it seems a curious organ on which to record (yet another) Franck set. Fausto Caporali, organist of Cremona Cathedral, has a natural affinity for the music, however, with an excellent sense of tempo rubato, line and expressive gesture. Occasionally his interpretations get a bit bogged down, particularly in the sections immediately prior to the final climaxes of the larger pieces as well as in the slower, melodic passages (the second sections of the First Choral and the C major Fantaisie especially).

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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