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These are undoubtedly the most valuable CDs of Alain’s organ works since the recordings made in the 1990s by Helga Schauerte. Here, James Higdon focuses solely on the 1942 edition and markings that Jehan’s father, Albert, made on his personal copies. For further interest, six pieces appear twice, with a bonus rendition on the restored Alain house organ. I can see why they are included on both instruments: while it is interesting to hear the tonal palette that inspired Jehan, the pieces do not speak with the same authority outside church acoustics. Higdon and the Helmuth Wolfforgan in Kansas, with its generous acoustics meticulously modelled on a French church, make all the pieces sound wonderfully fresh, raw and evocative. For such an academically interesting disc, sleeve notes are minimal with scant information about the two fine organs recorded. This would be my only criticism of a fascinating and well-executed double-CD recording.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica


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