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Record Box - Planning your collection - with Bill Newman

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Global Fascinations and Sophistications

Triumphal Music for Organ & Orchestra

 

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Joseph Jongen (brother of Léon, whose Malaisie for orchestra was recorded by London International) enjoyed considerable success when his Symphonie Concertante was first performed at the Brussels Conservatoire de Musique on 11 February 1928. Eugène Ysaye was in the audience and wrote the composer a long letter detailing his impressions - much as Berlioz did after first hearing Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony! Hypnotic attraction comes right at the start, where the motto theme (one whole note, a staccato eighth - longer note) forms the rhythmic basis from which the soloist embroiders his decorative, interweaving melody. The second movement is pure improvisation, and the third mysterious and contemplative. But the brilliant Toccata Finale is what captured audiences' imaginations [listen - track 4, 0:00-1:00]. Virgil Fox's earlier EMI-Capitol recording is now superseded by this new one.

I caught up with Marcel Dupré shortly before he died when he gave a recital at one of the churches in Brussels in the early 1970s. Cortège et Litanie is a re-working of his solo organ piece to include orchestra, but his Concerto in E minor concentrates on the problems of balancing organ with orchestra while providing opportunities for both to explore a succession of instrumental sonorities. Alfredo Ibarra directs, and Wearn again is the producer. The problems I have keeping in touch with my close friend Jonathan, are due to his enormous commitments recording rare repertoire throughout Europe. I hope that Guild now turn their attentions to recording the organ repertoire of Charles Tournemire.

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Copyright © 26 July 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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