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Of Franck’s single symphony, Norman Demuth wrote: ‘Never was there such magnificent music so badly written.’ In creating an organ transcription, Johnson believes that the work’s form and orchestration (so censured by critics) may be understood better when considering Franck the renowned improviser, drawing orchestral sounds like organ stops. Certainly this recording illustrates a closer connection between the orchestral Symphony in D minor and the earlier Grande pièce symphonique than might other- wise be apparent. Together with a transcription of the Symphonic Interlude from Rédemption, this CD (backed by insightful sleeve notes) makes for an interesting reappraisal of this familiar composer. The St Paul’s organ is recorded with more clarity than other recordings, revealing every nuance of Johnson’s fine interpretations.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing