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Flor Peeters is the sort of composer whose music, more than 30 years after his death, is now chronologically distant enough to surely be due a revival. I must confess to only being familiar with the pieces which found any popularity in the UK (Suite modale, Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella, the Aria and – initially thanks to those tantalising fragments on the famous LP by Caleb Jarvis – the Lied- Symphony), so this jam-packed pair of CDs from the talented Roberto Marini is very welcome indeed. It illustrates a broad spectrum of development from the bombast of the early Symphonic Fantasy on an Eastern Gregorian Alleluia to the compact, modal Three Preludes & Fugues of 25 years later and the terse, Hindemith- like Sinfonia per Organo. The Variations on an Old Flemish Song are dedicated to Dupré, the final fugue and toccata so obviously referencing Dupré’s own Variations sur un noël. Often virtuosic, these scores are handled with aplomb by Marini on an organ which, until fairly recently, might itself have been dismissed entirely. The 1930 Klais in Antwerp was opened by Peeters and is clearly a child of the divergences in philosophy following the momentous German conferences of the mid-1920s, with Jahnn and Mahrenholz’s desire to rediscover earlier tonal constructions dressed in a pseudo-symphonic costume and allied to the technological advances of the industrial era. The tuning is sometimes a bit sour, but it fits the music like a glove.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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