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The composer-as-organist bases this cycle on seven 19th-century paintings in Aix-en-Provence Cathedral, representing Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Unction of the Sick, Ordination, Marriage, with a concluding eighth movement, ‘Sacrament of the Brother’. Each piece is based on melodic fragments of the preceding Gregorian chant – sung according to the Solesmes tradition – with techniques derived from improvisation: chant themes with progressively expanding intervals, sequences, ostinati, chord clusters and canons, projected with a wide variety of tonal contrasts and dynamics from the romantic organ, and thoroughly inspired by this cathedral. The recording balance is excellent, capturing both extensive resonance and detail. The plainchant is vigorously sung, but with slightly rustic tuning, and the organ performances are fluent and vibrant.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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