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Recorded live in concert, Colin Walsh’s intensely felt, richly characterised account of Messiaen’s La nativité du Seigneur benefits greatly from playing of concentrated resourcefulness and deeply sincere piety. There’s a wonderful sense of mysterious gravity at its centre, with emotions pulled in opposite directions in an opening sequence of glacial pace and granitic purpose before the ecstatic cornet solo of ‘Le Verbe’ bursts open into heavenly heights. Lincoln Cathedral’s articulate and agile Father Willis organ rises to the occasion magnificently, oppressively baleful in the depiction of Jesus’s suffering, fleet and fevered in ‘Dieu parmi nous’. Le banquet céleste sets the reverential tone in a recording of due scale and majesty.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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