FRANCK: Offertoire syphonique. DALLIER: 5 Invocations. SAINT-SAËNS:
Improvisation No. 7 in a, op. 150. Fantasie in E-flat. DELVINCOURT: Sortie
Marie Ducrot (organ).
Carthagène 730548 TT: 58:55
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Better. I admit that, excepting César Franck, I'm not very fond
of French organ music before the 20th century. Couperin leaves me cold.
The great composer-organists like Vierne and Widor do little for me.
It's not a dislike I can explain, let alone justify. I've never liked
ice cream, either, and most fresh fruit makes me nauseous.
Leaving out the Franck and the Saint-Saëns, I don't connect with the
program. The early Franck Offertoire, hands down the best work here, seems
to prefigure the Pièce héroïque. The Saint-Saëns
Improvisation, of smaller scope, nevertheless moves incisively as a lively
gigue, while the early Fantasie is a lovely pastorale. The remaining
works, in other hands, would I'm sure have just gone by. The Dallier
-- five Marian
invocations -- interests me more than the Delvincourt, or at least four
of them do. The first four work with (unusually) pentatonic themes, while
the last too easily imitates the famous Widor Toccata. The Delvincourt
comes across as just another French organ piece, held together mostly
with spit and duct tape.
However, even here, the playing gets its hooks into me. Belgian Marie
Ducrot, in the tradition of blind organists, should be better known.
I know so
little about the workings of the organ, I can't tell you the kind of
details organ fanatics like to immerse themselves in and registration
very little sense to me. Furthermore, one organ tends to sound much like
another to me. Nevertheless, I do distinguish among organists. I like
those with a strong sense of line and the ability to bring out the most
voice at a particular moment. Ducrot doesn't let the music go by in a
big wad. She has an acute sense of the entire design of a piece and through
dynamics and color changes clarifies architecture "on the fly." One
also doesn't hear annoying pauses while she changes the stop-combinations.
Her sense of line and her rhythm are strong.
S.G.S. (October 2013)