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This fine project records Grigny’s Livre d’orgue (1699) within the context of plainchant, together with four motets by Lebègue in the hymn-suites, all liturgically appropriate. The organ is highly effective, tuned in a modified meantone temperament and with all the required tonal colours. Only the powerful Positif cromorne tends to overbalance the Récitcornet in the five-part fugues. A team of rich resonant voices sings the plainchant, here stylishly ornamented, and soprano and tenor soloists perform Lebègue’s motets with basso continuo (1687): Motet pour le Saint- Esprit, Pange lingua, Ave verum corpus and Salve regina.

Although both Bach and Walther copied Grigny’s Livre, the original print was prone to errors. Bucher makes many alterations (mercifully, he plays a b1 in the notorious bar 35 of the Récit de tierce en taille!). Inégalité is not always thought through sufficiently, making the Basse de trompette and the passages of Italian string writing in the dialogues sound trite, and the occasional slurs suggesting short-long inégalité are ignored. There are also instances of rather too much rhythmic flexibility (even whole beats omitted), suggesting some over- interpreting. However, there are many splendid moments in which both tempo and inégalité are excellently judged. A worthwhile achievement.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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