Notes & Reviews:
The Cologne Cathedral offers almost perfect conditions for performing masses by Widor, Vierne and Langlais as this\ recording so beautifully demonstrates. The singers on this recording are the 32 professionals who make up the Cathedral Choir.
American Record Guide, July/August 2013
The Messe Solennelle in C-sharp minor (1900) by Louis Vierne was also written for St Sulpice, and the composer probably looked to the earlier mass by his mentor Widor for his model. As one might expect from a younger composer writing more than 20 years later, Vierne's harmonic diction is more advanced, sometimes similar to the colors of Debussy. The 1949 Mass by Jean Langlais makes advances on the harmonic language of Vierne. Here there is one organ and a single mixed choir. Langlais's demands on the organist and singers are formidable. Organist Winfried B÷nig fills out the program with three organ pieces. Two are by Vierne: the virtuosic 'Naiads' from the Fantasy Pieces and the Adagio from the Third Symphony. The third piece is the second movement from The Embrace of Fire (1986) by Naji Hakim (b 1955), who succeeded Olivier Messiaen as organist of La TrinitT in Paris. This virtuoso piece recalls the music of Hakim's predecessor and serves as a showcase for the new bombarde division of the Cologne Cathedral organ. Readers with an interest in this repertory will not go wrong in acquiring this.
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