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This is a great discovery. Ben van Oosten takes no prisoners and gives a tour de force on this massive-sounding IV/78 instrument by Stahlhuth (1912) and Jann (2002); though both German firms, their work here is undeniably French and unapologetically heroic. There are favourites among this all-French programme: Guilmant’s Invocation and Allegretto; toccatas by Gigout and Dubois. There’s even Guilmant’s charming arrangement of Saint-Saëns’s Le cygne. Bonnet’s miniature Elfes is pure jazz, and Variations de Concert (unbelievably his op.1) will have even the most reserved listener wildly playing ‘air organ’. The appealing pieces by Gabriel Pierné (a pupil of Franck, and his successor at Sainte-Clotilde) are worth ordering straightaway, and there is the Deuxième suite (op.27) of Boëllmann – not just a welcome change to the ubiquitous Suite gothique, but also high-quality, like this entire release.

MATTHEW POWER Read the full review on Agora Classica


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