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It’s now nearly 20 years since Simon Nieminksi introduced the organ world to the radiantly perfumed musical language of Eugène Reuchsel through his ground-breaking recording of Promenades en Provence for Pro Organo. Recordings of this repertoire remain rare, not least because of the technical difficulties involved; Reuchsel was first and foremost a concert pianist. The present CD finds Nieminski in typically brilliant form in two late works from the 1980s, La vie du Christ and Bouquet de France. However, with Reuchsel’s musical narrative of Christ’s life consisting of 19 miniatures, all under four minutes, and the slightly Canteloube-esque folksong arrangements of Bouquet de France comprising a further 10 short pieces, the disc keenly misses something substantial. In addition, the choice of the Edinburgh Rieger is uninspired: aggression is in plentiful supply, mystery nearly entirely absent – a point brought home tellingly by comparison with Bernhard Leonardy’s recording of the Bouquet for IFO on the peerless St Sulpice Cavaillé-Coll.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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