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Apart from countless hours of Pierre Cochereau’s improvisational genius, François Carbou’s microphones captured the playing of other greats at Notre-Dame during the 1970s. This CD features recordings from three concerts given by Maurice and Marie-Madeleine Duruflé 1970-72. The organ is the Notre-Dame instrument from the Cochereau era; rough, out of tune, devastatingly loud when the chamades arrive and, of course, all captured at uncomfortably close quarters. The greater playing here is that of Mme Duruflé: her stunning performances of the Tournemire improvisations on Victimae Paschali and Ave maris stella – tran- scribed by her husband little more than a decade earlier – are the disc’s undoubted highlights, with performances of Dupré’s Variations on a noel and Maurice Duruflé’s Prélude et fugue sur ALAIN not far behind. Maurice Duruflé contributes slightly uncomfortable performances of Franck’s First Choral and Fantaisie in A and a sinewy, beautiful second movement of Vierne’s Sixth Symphony.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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