add to wish list | library

18 of 18 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the paid links below. As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.
  Deutsche Grammophon -
  477 541-8
  César Franck: Organ Works - Olivier Latry
  "In Spiritum" César Franck: Organ Works

Olivier Latry (organ)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

delete from library | delete recommendation | report errors
Related titles: 2

Reviews: 2

Review by georgeflanagin September 13, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
For the ADHD readers who like just a line or two: This music is well played. The registration is conservative, and serves the music well. There is plenty to enjoy even if you don't have 20Hz response. The recording set up sounds different from Latry's other SACD. Buy it if you like Latry and Franck. Do not buy it for a subwoofer demo record, or if your idea of the perfect organist is Jean Guillou.

And now ... the real review.

Based solely on inventory, I must like this music. I have very few organ records (30?), but I have plenty of copies of these pieces. My first exposure to this music was when I was a 17 year old university freshman, and I used to wander away from campus in search of the city that surrounded me. I discovered the 4485 pipes conveniently located here:

The B minor Chorale has been rattling around in my head ever since.

My theory of organ recordings is that they come in four types:

The first class serves the organ: an example is Telarc 80096.

The second class serves the organist: an example is Dorian 90134.

The third class serves the recorded sound, an example is Telarc 80234.

The fourth class serves the music. As stated in the summary, this is mainly a recording of the fourth class.

Let's address how this recording is to be evaluated in each class.

Class One: A record of the instrument.

The other Latry disc (Midnight at Notre-Dame - Olivier Latry) is much more of a tour of the capabilities of this instrument. This recording of Franck's music doesn't exactly work the thing to death, and if you want a recording wherein this music beats up the organ, then this recording ( is probably the one you want.

On the other hand, I think the registrations chosen by Latry are consistent with the music. He chooses mainstream stops, and exhibits none of the Michael "Here, let me show you what my feet can do" Murray pedal exaggerations.

Class Two: A record of the organist.

The apocryphal story of J S Bach is that he said the organ was easy to play because, "All one has to do is hit the right notes at the right time, and the instrument plays itself." Even if true, there is a good bit of selection to be done by the organist: tempos, phrasing, registration, etc.

Tempo is the easiest thing to quantify, and my comparison of the times with several other recordings show that Latry is in the middle of the pack, and the spread is not wide. The registration may be a bit "church-y" for some listeners, but I did not find it to be dreary. Particularly in the three Chorales, Franck wanted the pieces to suggest reverie and reflection. Constantly changing stops is not desirable in this case, even if it is interesting.

I haven't heard Latry's traversal of Messiaen because I already have the Hans-Ola Ericsson set on BIS, but I am considering buying Latry's work. This disc makes such a purchase seem quite tempting.

Class Three: The sound

Well, let's take on the low notes first, as that is why most people buy organ music. Unlike many organ records, the low notes are not exaggerated in this recording. The low notes are natural and full, but I did not find it necessary to turn down the Meridian 2500 subwoofer as I sometimes do.

There are no sub-sonics or extra musical sounds, which is a relief. Absence of low frequency trash helps with the clarity of the music, and particularly with the determination of pitch at low frequencies (which is very hard to do).

My semi-homebrew active crossover has a 3rd order high pass at 20Hz which I prefer to engage only when there is a significant rumble, such as that found in the Couperin album I reviewed in July 2006. I did not find it necessary. The 4th order crossover frequency is set to 45Hz, which makes it easy to turn off the main speakers and evaluate the contribution of the sub-woofer alone.

To the members of this website who have not invested the dollars and the floor space in a quest for the bottom octave, you may breathe easy. This is an organ record you can enjoy. But, if what you are looking for is something to rearrange the upstairs furniture without having to vault the stairs, this is not the SACD to which you aspire.

The rest of the sound is as it should be, with the exception that antiphonal characteristics of the sound are lost in the distance. On the other hand, I have never been to Notre Dame. I cannot quite agree with Xavier Gallet about the sound, but then I was listening in two channel mode. The microphone position(s) seem to be farther away from the source than they were in the /Midnight at Notre Dame/ disc. Since this is not flash-and-dazzle music, the music does not suffer from the long decay times.

Class Four: It's about the music

By exception, most of what would be said here has been covered above. Let me conclude with this:

To me, this disc is an ideal introduction to Franck's organ music, and its contents are about half of what usually goes into a "complete" collection. This disc provides one example from each of the three groups of Franck's major works. For me, the jewel is the Prelude, Fugue and Variation. Its well known melody sings out purely throughout the piece, and Latry keeps the fugue from being overpowering or distracting.

The bottom line is that what we hear is Latry playing Franck, with out all the audiophilia nervosa that sometimes surrounds organ recordings.

George Flanagin

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by Xavier Gallet January 1, 2006 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This recording seems to have a veil on it, which is why I am giving it only 3 stars (listening in multichannel). Otherwise the performance is fine and to those who like the music of César Franck, I can only recommend this SACD.

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Works: 5  

César Franck - Choral No. 1 in E major, FWV 38
César Franck - Choral No. 2 in B minor, FWV 39
César Franck - Choral No. 3 in A minor, FWV 40
César Franck - Pièce héroique, FWV 37
César Franck - Prélude, Fugue et Variation in B minor, FWV 30