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As part of a celebration of ‘Reims, City of Royal Coronations’ the cathedral chose to pay homage to their most famous incumbent, Nicolas de Grigny, through the commissioning of new organ pieces, each drawing inspiration from one of the five great hymns of Grigny. The works of the five composers (Thierry Escaich, Pierre Farago, Benoît Mernier, Vincent Paulet and Jean-Baptiste Robin) are presented on this double SACD together with the original baroque hymns. Because of the poor condition of the cathedral organ they are recorded on the new Bertrand Cattiaux organ of the Basilique Saint-Remi, an instrument inspired by 17th-century Franco-Flemish aesthetics. The new works are undeniably 21st-century and colourfully inventive, the plainchant establishing the connection across the centuries. Thierry Escaich’s Evocation IV is particularly fine and Benoît Mernier’s Pange Lingua interesting as the only one that alternates with Grigny’s versets.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing