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AE10381 Boëly, Alexandre Pierre François Grands Offertoires, Fantaisies, Cantiques & Pièces libres
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll organ of Bayeux cathedral (Gallery organ)
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll organ of Bayeux Cathedral (Choir organ)
Roth, celebrated organist at St Sulpice in Paris, performs 21 short pieces by Alexandre Pierre Francois Boely (1785-1858). He plays the 2-14 Choir organ (1861) and the 3-53 Grand organ (1862) in the west gallery of Bayeux Cathedral, originally an 11th Century church expanded a century later in full Gothic style. Tourists leaving the Bayeux tapestry exhibit should turn up the hill and visit this beautiful, historic church. Both organs are by Cavaille-Coll. Selections 1-8 and 16-21 are played on the Grand organ. Both instruments have had overhauls and restorations.
This recording includes the best known Boely organ pieces—Toccata in B minor, Allegro ma non troppo, and the Fantasie & Fugue, but also presents 18 other compositions. The lighter-weight pieces—Canon in E minor, the Cantiques, and the Offertory for Christmas Mass—are played on the smaller but quite adequate Choir organ.
There aren't very many Boely recordings, perhaps owing to the assumed superficiality of mid-18th Century French organ music. That may be a legitimate complaint about Lefebure-Wely, but Boely was several cuts above that. He was a contrapuntalist who glorified Bach and created pieces thoughtfully crafted. His best compositions are not necessarily long or involved. The longest of the 21 pieces here is seven minutes.
Listeners who seek better shaped compositions, without all the fuss and bother of drawn-out or programmatic pieces should like this collection. Roth has no technical problems and presents these works in a straightforward manner, as they should be. The organ is splendid, as is the engineering. Another fine recording of French music that includes Boely is by Brooks at St Pierre, Douai (Priory 637, Sept/ Oct2000).METZ
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