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Thomas Ospital (b.1990) is one of the two titulaires appointed to replace Jean Guillou at the (in)famous Van den Heuvel of St Eustache. This, as far as I can tell, is his debut solo disc and as such it represents the arrival of a remarkable artist. Ospital’s Liszt performances are imbued with poetry, finesse, drama and subtlety: not a gesture is wasted and empty virtuosity is entirely absent. The programme is brilliantly conceived: ‘Ad Nos’ at its centre (at 33 minutes a broad and telling performance); the scene prepared by Orpheus (in C major, from which the C minor of ‘Ad Nos’ follows seamlessly); and the disc ending with Am Grabe Richard Wagners and the fourth Consolation, performed as a pair of miniatures in the common tonality of C sharp/D flat. Ospital uses the organ brilliantly, finding beautiful, rather than grotesque, solo colours; only in the loud passages does the organ’s banality become at all evident. Unfortunately, the booklet lets all this down: no organ specification, limited photos and a rambling commentary by the intriguingly named Philippe le Guillou (?): ‘A sort of mysterious equation, indeed a form of alchemy links this instrument to Liszt…’. If you insist.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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