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SACD Review

Charles Tournemire

Organ Music

  • Dix Pieces
  • Piece Symphonique, Op. 16
  • 5 Improvisations
  • Adagio, Op. 19 #1
Andreas Sieling, organ
Schola der Berliner Domkantorei/Tobias Bromann
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG9461514-6 79m Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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Charles Tournemire's stock has always been on the lean side, both during his lifetime and much more after his death at the age of 69 in 1939. His discography is also rather sparse, so this superb MD&G issue is timely in more ways than one, particularly in reviving his work for organ which are only now coming to our attention.

So why has Tounemire's music always been considered as that of an outsider? Maybe the reason is that nearly all of his works are strongly influenced by mysticism and his creative process was always propelled by a firm belief that all music should serve the Catholic Church and all the liturgy that goes with it.

The works on this disc are practically all rooted in the 19th century tradition, but even as early as 1900, Tournemire was already hinting at his mature style. All the pieces are performed on the Wilhelm Sauer Organ in Frankfurt, a monstrously sonorous instrument which Andreas Sieling exploits with inspiring ability and awesome virtuosity. The Berliner Domkantorei and their Kantor, Tobias Brommann sing with heartfelt enthusiasm and minute precision exposing Tournemire's inventions in all their inner beauty. The sumptuous SACD sound is an added bonus for this splendid issue.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech