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Recording of the month

A palpable reality

Gillian Weir plays Messiaen -
is thrilled

'... exciting fidelity ...'

Olivier Messian / Gillian Weir - The Organ Works Volume 1 © 2002 Priory Records Ltd

Gillian Weir's Messiaen intégrale came out in 1994, and this first evidence of a reissue by Priory is both a coup for the company and a reminder of Dame Gillian's magisterial achievement, that had the unstinted approval of the composer above all. The three works date from Messiaen's twenties, and indeed Le banquet céleste was written before his appointment to La Trinité in 1931. He remained organist of the church for more than sixty years. Built by Théodore Ballu, who became Inspector General of Parisian architecture, the church was his major undertaking apart from the restoration of the Hotel de Ville destroyed by the mob during the Commune. He had previously completed the unfinished church of Ste. Clotilde, associated equally strongly with César Franck. La Trinité was a Second Empire church designed for a fashionable congregation, with theatrical decoration and a porch campanile as main exterior feature. From the beginning it had a Cavaillé-Coll organ, which survives as modestly modified by Messiaen. Gillian Weir's recordings were made on the Cathedral organ of Århus in Denmark, an instrument that seemed to fulfil Messiaen's essential demand for power combined with clarity. The Århus reeds were imported from France.

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Copyright © 29 January 2003 Robert Anderson, London, UK


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