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Joseph Nolan’s Widor survey continues with this group of less-played late works. The first CD opens with the often-mercurial Suite latine, post-dating Symphony no.10 by a quarter of a century. Nolan’s interpretation is characterised by a solid, if not quite innate, sense of the elderly Widor’s whimsy, coupled to a fine ability to control and project on these most venerable of Europe’s 19th-century organs. His feeling for phrase and colour is especially evident in the transcriptions that make up Bach’s Memento, well suited to the more lyrical, less blazingly intense instrument in Lyon. A pair of transcribed marches, the Marche américaine and Marche nuptiale, provide some concluding fun. Two small minus-points: I wonder if the combined poetry of instrument and space, in Toulouse in particular, isn’t lost slightly through Mike Hatch’s complex recorded mix, which seems to put the instrument both directly in front of the listener and also behind him (slightly disconcertingly). Second, if you are intent on recording some of France’s finest historic organs, to stick the logo of a synthetic organ manufacturer on the disc, at a time when the UK’s historic organs have never been more at risk from the electronic alternative (unlike in France), seems naive. Only in Britain.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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