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Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) was a Parisian student of, and assistant to, Gabriel Fauré. Stylistically his music is difficult to pinpoint, the extraordinary variety of influences being crystal- lised in the Deux vocalises, the first of which pervades a Ravel-like modal melancholy, while the second flirts with a chilly serialism. In general the music is characterised by a certain impersonal introversion in which rhythm and melody play second fiddle to a sometimes exceptional (as in the Fugue op.133) contrapuntal rigour. Despite moments of remarkable originality (such as the conclusion of the aforementioned fugue), I can’t help but suspect that the music is more interesting to play than to listen to. However, Christian Schmitt’s outstandingly mellifluous playing, and the attractive sounding Goll organ (housed in the iconic case of the previous 1950s Beckerath, immediately familiar from the pages of Sumner), provide Koechlin’s music with the most ideal advocacy.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing