The Organ


Daniel Roth plays the Great Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Daniel Roth is in fine fettle upon the mighty Cavaill-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, with a chronological pattern, of sorts, containing French music stretching from the reign of Louis XIV to a champion of twentieth century organ music, Marcel Dupr.

Music by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers (1632-1714) and Louis-Nicolas Clrambault (1676-1749) may seem at a loss with an instrument of this dimension in Saint-Sulpice but Roth is stylistically aware enough to allow the music much of its inherent majesty without overloading the lines at the expense of clarity.

Complimentary mixtures make Georges Schmitt's Offertoire in A an easy lay on the ear, each section testing the organ's subtler responses in Roth's skilful hands, the final episode building a nicely shaped tutti before Lefebure-Wely's much more contrasting Sortie in G minor fills one with notions of dance and nineteenth century joie de vivre.

Widor's Adagio, from Symphony No 8, is darkly painted, arousing the deeper Romantic psyche without getting too stuck in the mud with heavy textures that can all too easily bruise the ideas that ferment into bold reflective statements, which Roth delivers elegantly.

A tribute is made to Jean-Jacques Grunenwald, the successor on this instrument to Dupr - it was two years after Grunenwald's death (1982) that the then Cardinal of Paris, Monsignor Lustiger, drew up a document allowing the Cur of the parish to keep his authority over the appointments to well known Parisian instruments. David Roth was appointed to Saint-Sulpice in 1985. To acknowledge his predecessor Roth finds three absorbing works covering a range of styles and influences from twentieth century notions, which certainly provoke encouragement to hear more of this composer.

Three of Daniel Roth's own compositions from his Livre d'Orgue pour le Magnificat give much insight into his own notions of Frenchness and piety. Simple structures and warm harmonic layers, convey much of the contrast found in the movements, complexity is no diversion here, the harmony there to please many an ear, yet it's mindset is firmly fixed in the modern idiom, his Gloria Patri releasing a majestic transfiguration in conclusion.

How better to end the disc than by the juxtaposition of Marcel Dupr's weighty Paraphrase sur le Te Deum, captured distinctly by Neil Collier and Richard Corser's soul-searching recording for Priory Records - on form as ever! DA