I had not heard of Joseph Bonnet's name before receiving this disc for review but must confess that it was really a pleasant discovery to hear this excellent selection of his organ music.
Bonnet was born in 1884 in Bordeaux, a town steeped in ancient music tradition and with a chequered history as regards the various organs scattered around the city. He died at the end of 1944, just before the war ended so his career traversed two world wars and a huge change in the musical landscape.
The works on this disc are chiefly indebted to the Widor-Franck tradition and are joyously played by Harold Britton on the exquisitely tuned Notre Dame organ in London. The variations De Concert are sturdy in their opening but the music unfolds superbly making use of the various colours that the organ provides.
A large part of the disc is made up by the Twelve New Pieces published in 1910 and here one can enjoy an inexhaustible variety of tunes from Romances to the suitably titled 'Caprice heroique' which ends the work in barnstorming fashion.
I wouldn't say that this is a major discovery but fans of obscure and rare organ music will surely want this excellently recorded disc in their collections.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech