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Joseph-Ermend Bonnal (1880-1944) is now so obscure, even his correct name is uncertain (the booklet uses three forms interchangeably). A pupil of Bériot, Fauré, Vierne and Widor, the organ dominated his career (he succeeded Tournemire at Saint Clothilde) and his composing, although he wrote in a wide variety of other genres, including a smattering for piano. The six pieces gathered here, written between 1921 and 1934, are charming, sometimes folksy in idiom; but it is the songs (from 1895 to 1938), which strike me as more original. They are beautifully sung here by the composer’s great-grand- daughter, although in one or two places with high, exposed lines, she does sound uncomfortable, for instance in Chanson triste. David Maw – an expert on Machaut and Howells – is a most sympathetic accompanist and soloist and this is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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