The Organ

Virtuoso French Organ Music

Jennifer Bate at La Cathédrale Saint Pierre de Beauvais
Regis RRC 1147
75' 45"

This is a most enjoyable CD, mainly because the playing of Jennifer Bate is always intelligent, musical and essentially beyond criticism, but also because the organ at Beauvais is so marvelous; not a huge instrument full of enormous reeds, but a characterful instrument with a large complement of mixtures benefiting from a generous and rewarding, acoustic.

The repertoire on the original disc (Boellmann Suite Gothique, Guilmant Cantilène Pastorale, March on 'Lift up your Heads' Saint-Saëns Improvisation No. 7, Gigout, Toccata in B minor, Scherzo and Grand Choeur Dialogué is joined by Vierne Impromptu and Clair de lune (Op. 54) and Diverissement and Carillon de Longpoint (Op. 31); and Langlais's Triptyque. The additions join the (under-represented) Saint-Saëns in broadening the appeal of the disc beyond the merely popular.

I have the original disc of the Vierne, and can vouch for the improved remastered sound, which has increased presence and impact, although there was one audible edit which was presumably unable to be fixed - but 1982 was in the earlier days of digital recording. Despite the disc having a lot of popular music on it and no programme notes on the music, at budget price it is worth the modest investment. (I am not really sure what the strange Romanesque church on the cover has to do with the splendors of Beauvais though!)