George McPhee - Grand Choeur

Published Wednesday 23rd November 2011
George McPhee - Grand Choeur
George McPhee - Grand Choeur

STYLE: Classical
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Regent REGCD371

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This is the first recording of the restored organ of Paisley Abbey, played by the doyen of Scottish organists, George McPhee. Originally dating from 1872 the core of the organ is by famous French builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Completely restored and extended by Harrison & Harrison in 2009, Paisley Abbey organ is one of the finest organs in Scotland and is a thrilling and colourful sound in a glorious acoustic and producer/engineer Gary Cole has yet again done a magnificent job in capturing every detail. As befitting its historic pedigree the repertoire is a selection of well-known, and some less well-known, works by 19th- and 20th-century French composers from Cesar Franck (1822-1890) to Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). McPhee certainly plays all the right notes in the right order and organ buffs will want to hear the instrument in all its glory but for the general listener this may be too specialised to hold our attention. This reviewer prefers his organ music to thunder out and rattle the rafters and, on occasions such as the two movements from Louis Vierne's "Symphony Number 3 in F Sharp Minor" it does just that. But there are too many meditative meanderings for my taste.

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