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Franck, César: Complete Organ Works Vol. 2 - Hans-Eberhard Ross

Franck, César: Complete Organ Works Vol. 2 - Hans-Eberhard Ross

Audite  91.519 (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


César Franck: Pieces posthumes pour Harmonium ou Orgue a Pedales pour L'Office ordinaire (L'Organiste II), Offertoire sur un Noel Breton, Fantaisie in C (3rd Version), Entree pour Harmonium, 3 Pieces pour Grand Orgue (Fantaisie in F, Cantabile, Piece heroique), Petit Offertoire pour Harmonium, Andante quasi lento pour Harmonium

Hans-Eberhard Ross (organ)


This double SACD is the second part of a series of 3 double SACDs which together present César Franck’s complete organ works for the first time. This complete edition naturally includes the 12 major well-known works of this composer. In addition to these, it contains at least 40 minutes of first recordings alongside many smaller treasures of the repertoire. The works for harmonium are available here in their entirety in their versions for organ, as are two organ works discovered during the 1970s and 1980s, also new to the recording medium.

Besides these aspects of completeness, the present complete production is marked by the special sound of the Goll Organ. Its warm, soft sound, resulting from widely constructed pipes, creates an unobtrusive power and fullness; the essence of the French Cavaillé Organs has been preserved and further developed in this instrument.

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Review by John Broggio - October 4, 2008

The second volume in this series is no less successful than Franck, César: Complete Organ Works Vol. 1 - Hans-Eberhard Ross.

As before, the music is played on the wonderful Goll Organ of St. Martin, Memmingen and the second volume is subtitled "Unrecognised greatness". Here the L'Organiste II (from which the "Pièces posthumes pour Harmonium ou Orgue á pèdales pour l'office ordinaire" are drawn) are split across the two discs, together with 4 other similar scale works as well as the third version of the Fantaisie in C and the Trois Pièces Pour Grand Orgue.

L'Organiste II is a set of works written for a former pupil of Franck who left the big city to work as a village organist. The 43 (mainly) miniatures that comprise L'Organiste II are on the whole small scale and not of lasting interest to most listeners. However, there are a few more substantial parts that repay repeated hearing and illustrate the respect that Franck held for the post of church organist - oh that all players would employ music of this quality today. The other miniature pieces that were originally conceived for harmonium but like L'Organiste II and they have been transposed (in a very similar and convincing way) by Hans-Eberhard Roß. Throughout, Roß plays with absolute dedication and conviction that many would not bring to such "trivial" works.

The Trois Pièces are, of course, conceived on a wholly different scale and Roß responds in kind. He brings out the Tristan-like qualities of the Fantaisie as well as delivering a very satisfying reading of the Pièce Héroïque indeed.

Just as in the first volume, the acoustic of the Memmingen church is very fine for the purpose - not cloudy nor dry and the Audite team capture the reedy timbre of the Goll instrument with a care rarely heard in organ discs so far on SACD.

Even though this is very fine playing and recording, this cannot be recommended for those other than those who seek a complete collection or devoted organ music fans.

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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