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This is the fourth in a series of six Messiaen CDs by America’s pre-eminent Messiaen interpreter Jon Gillock. Gillock’s association with Messiaen and his decades of familiarity with this repertoire are wholly evident throughout this release – not least in the softly ecstatic Monodie and second part of the Dyptique, in which the influence of Messiaen’s teachers, Dukas and especially Dupré, so evident in the opening, seems to evaporate forever. The organ heard here is the 100-plus rank Pascal Quoirin instrument in the modestly sized Episcopal Church of the Ascension in New York. Its wealth of softer colours, especially the harmonic flutes, is enchanting. Only in ‘Combat de la mort’ is any sense of decadence evident; sometimes less is more, especially when the space bears no relation in either scale or sound to anything French. It is, nevertheless, beautifully captured by Raven’s microphones and the booklet, as usual from them, is excellent.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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