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The Great Organ of St. Eustache, Paris

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 10, 1993
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jean Guillou
  • Audio CD (March 10, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dorian Recordings
  • ASIN: B000001Q8H
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
In this recording, the great Jean Guillou inaugurates the brand new Van den Heuvel organ in the Church of Saint Eustache, Paris. The recording is excellent! Guillou gives a highly diverse program: from Bach to Guillou himself, and he gives equal treatment to all of the composers. I have never heard any of these pieces played better. The first movement of Widor's fifth symphony has never been played better than on this recording. Guillou shows of the magnificent organ wonderfully!
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Format: Audio CD
Jean Guillou could be compared with the pianist Glenn Gould in some respects. He is an artist with his own unique ideas about performance practice: his registrations are unconventional, he pulls tempi about often to extreme degrees, he highlights (by means of solo stops) material that makes one pause and think - "Why have I never heard that in there before?" He plays entirely from memory (except his own compositions, and even with those he barely glances at the score whilst playing), and if memory lapses occur, he improvises in such a way that casual listeners never suspect that anything has gone wrong or that what they are hearing is not part of the piece they think they are hearing. His finger action is lightning-fast, and he dances on the pedals as if they were red-hot coals. Essentially, he re-interprets music in his own way, treating musical scores as little more than blueprints to vary and improvise upon as he sees fit. (It is worth noting that no-one - even one from among his pupils - has yet been able to imitate his playing convincingly.) And no matter where he performs (his recital career has taken him around the world and back again) he somehow manages to make the listener imagine that they are at home with him in Ste Eustache, by re-creating as nearly as possible the sound of that organ using the resources of the instrument set before him. Above all else, he is a deeply original musical thinker and an outstanding, living example of the French tradition of composer-organists, having studied with Dupré, Duruflé and Messiaen - two of the finest players and one of the most remarkable composers of the last century.
This disc is probably the best with which to sample Guillou's work both as performer and as composer.
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