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The sixth in Hortus’s series ‘Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre’ sees Thomas Monnet perform an attractive and unusual programme of music from France, Belgium, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands composed during the years of the first world war. Hendrik Andriessen is represented by Fête Dieu, the gritty, impassioned evocation of a wartime church procession which is surely one of the lesser-known highlights of a variable output. Non-Reger-devotees may find the 20 minutes of Trauerode self-indulgent by contrast. However, the piano transcriptions are original and compelling: the little known Choral by Joseph Boulnois inhabits a musical language not often associated with the organ, while Thomas Monnet’s own transcription of Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin is virtuosic and clever. I find that the over-recorded Dudelange organ frequently adds up to less than the sum of its very many parts, but the brilliant playing here makes up for it – Monnet’s squeezing of every last nuance of colour is impressive indeed.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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