Van Oosten: Guilmant - Complete Organ Sonatas (3 CD, APE)
Van Oosten: Guilmant - Complete Organ Sonatas (3 CD, APE)

Performer: Ben van Oosten
Composer: Alexandre Guilmant
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 3
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: MD&G
Size: 754 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc: 1
01. Sonata (Symphony) for organ No. 1 in D minor, Op. 42: Introduction et Allegro
02. Sonata (Symphony) for organ No. 1 in D minor, Op. 42: Pastorale (Andante quasi Allegretto)
03. Sonata (Symphony) for organ No. 1 in D minor, Op. 42: Final (Allegro assai)
04. Organ Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 50: Allegro moderato
05. Organ Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 50: Larghetto
06. Organ Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 50: Allegro vivace
07. Organ Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 56: Preludio (Allegro maestoso e con fuoco)
08. Organ Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 56: Adagio
09. Organ Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 56: Fuga (Allegro moderato)

Disc: 2
01. Organ Sonata No. 4 in D minor, Op. 61: Allegro assai
02. Organ Sonata No. 4 in D minor, Op. 61: Andante
03. Organ Sonata No. 4 in D minor, Op. 61: Menuetto (Allegretto)
04. Organ Sonata No. 4 in D minor, Op. 61: Final
05. Organ Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 80: Allegro appassionato
06. Organ Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 80: Adagio (Adagio con molt’ espressione)
07. Organ Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 80: Scherzo (Allegro)
08. Organ Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 80: Recitativo
09. Organ Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 80: Choral et Fugue (Allegro)
10. Organ Sonata No. 6 in B major, Op. 86: Allegro con fuoco
11. Organ Sonata No. 6 in B major, Op. 86: Méditation (Andante quasi Adagio)
12. Organ Sonata No. 6 in B major, Op. 86: Fugue et Adagio

Also available:  André Isoir - L'orgue romantique - Toccata (FLAC)

Disc: 3
01. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Éntrée (Tempo di Marcia, maestoso)
02. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Lento assai (Rêve)
03. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Intermezzo (Allegretto)
04. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Grand Choeur (Allegro con brio)
05. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Cantabile (Andante)
06. Organ Sonata No. 7 in F major, Op. 89: Final (Allegro)
07. Organ Sonata No. 8 in A major, Op. 91: Introduction et Allegro risoluto
08. Organ Sonata No. 8 in A major, Op. 91: Adagio con affetto
09. Organ Sonata No. 8 in A major, Op. 91: Scherzo (Vivace)
10. Organ Sonata No. 8 in A major, Op. 91: Andante sostenuto
11. Organ Sonata No. 8 in A major, Op. 91: Intermède et Allegro con brio

Unlike Widor or Vierné(not to mention Cesar Franck’s works), Guilmant’s symphonies/sonatas have been mostly neglected in the recordings, with the exception of his first sonata and some isolated movements (as the theatrical scherzo from sonata 5). A master of the first generation within the silver age of organ, the late XIX century Belgian-French tradition, his sonatas have not only historical value for prompting the origination of the symphonic organ composition, but they are music of very high quality: firstly, solid formal constructions, and secondly, but importantly, rich, inspired, elaborated, varied, even brilliant at times. It certainly is not music to everyone, but it is Real music.
Van Oosten version is both technically and artistically beyond reproach. Lofty, spacious, neither too quick nor too slow; always clear, deep and majestic, letting this grand music evolve as it deserves.
The Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Rouen is a magnificent instrument perfectly tuned, colorful and ideal for this repertoire.
The recording (1988) sounds really well, clear, crisp, without much reverberation and keeping the almost inevitable distortion produced by the bass from the organ pedal at a minimum.
If you like organ music, and specially the French romantic school, this set is a must, to be the companion of Widor’s Symphonies, Vierné’s symphonies and Fantasy Pieces, etc. But if you are looking for hollowly brilliant, dramatic, “fireworks” or simply entertaining music, then forget about it.

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