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The organs of Mexico’s Catedral Metropolitana are unique. The largest pair of Spanish-style instruments to survive anywhere and the largest baroque organs on the American continent, they were created for this vast space in 1735/6 by Zaragossa-born Joseph Nassarre Cimorra. Following a restoration in the 1970s by D.A. Flentrop, always considered unsatisfactory, they have now been re-restored by Gerhard Grenzing and are shown off to extraordinary advantage by Jürgen Essl and South African-born Viennese organist Jeremy Joseph in this recording of Soler’s mildly barmy concertos. The instruments are sophisticated, subtle and hugely colourful, with antiphonal and echo effects made possible not just by their spatial separation, but by the small echo (swell) devices and the stops in the rear façades sending sound backwards into the aisles running parallel to the chancel. Essl and Joseph’s creativity and brilliant ensemble playing, together with the sixth-comma meantone tuning (and the organs are perfectly in tune!) make this a joy to listen to. Who, ultimately, could resist those chamades blazing their way through the ‘Emperor’s Fanfare’? This is really a lot of fun, the excellent photography partly making up for the rather stingy 53 minutes of music.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica


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