STYLE: Classical RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 154830- LABEL: Musique D'Abord HMA1958199 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
This enjoyable budget re-issue of a collection first released in 2006 takes us back to the time of Claude Balbastre (1724-1799), one of the leading keyboard players and composers of his era. The tone of his Noels is breezily bright and joyful and the music could easily set the scene for any Christmas service or indeed be used in the church Christmas party. Book-ending Balbastre are pastoral pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach ("Pastorale in F major", BWV590), Louis-Claude Daquin ("Noël Provençal in G major"), and Domenico Zipoli ("Pastorale"). The works all sit together most comfortably and while the composers and compositions - Bach excepted - are obscure it matters not a jot. René Saorgin (born 1928) gives masterful performances on the historic organs of Tende and Chambéry, and as a bonus we hear the atmospheric carillons of Chambéry. All who enjoy being entertained by a top organist will appreciate this re-issue. My only gripe is due to the nature of the Music D'Abord series. The ethos is to make definitive recordings of interesting works available at the lowest price and to do this something has to give, in this case the packaging and liner notes. Those who want the full works in terms of detailed notes could, no doubt, track down the original Harmonia Mundi release and pay full price but if you are primarily interested in the music then the Musique D'Abord release is excellent value for money.
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