Monday, October 26, 2009

The Organ, the Choir, French Culture: Everthing at its Height

I've been sent a note about a new recording of the Vierne Messe Solennelle, Opus 16, an attempt to recreate an early 20th century high Mass for Easter, recording at Saint-Sulpice. It is gloriously over the top, just as it should be. The organists are Daniel Roth and Eric Lebrun, and from the samples, the use of full stops on two organs is stunning. In addition, there are two choirs, the large polyphonic choir directed by Jean Sourisse, and the Gregorian choir directed by Thibaut Marlin.

Most American Catholics have never experienced anything like this, though at one point it was height of French Catholic practice to put on this kind of liturgical extravaganza. The chant if of course accompanied, which isn't to my taste, but one must consider the context and aim of this form of Mass. Also, listening to the organ Mass this way does extend one's sense of the possibilities of the artistic tableau of the liturgy. The CD comes with a 64 page book too.

Be sure to listen to the samples. The sound and performance are lush and vast, unlike most anything you have ever heard.

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