Claude Ledoux: Notizen-Fragmente (2009/13)
Jean-Pierre Deleuze: Voici l’absence – Cinq déplorations en antiphonie (2011)
Cindy Castillo, organ, Aurélie Frank, voice
PARATY 114122.  69:39’

If ever an organ was designed for the performance of contemporary music, it is the 1981 Detlef Kleuker instrument in Notre-Dame des Grâces au Chant d’Oiseau in Brussels, designed by Jean Guillou as a successor to his 1978 ‘hand of God’ organ in Alpe d’Huez.  In this CD, two talented young Belgian musicians perform works composed for them by Belgian composers Claude Ledoux and Jean-Pierre Deleuze. The combination of organ and solo Cindy Castillofemale voice is a beguiling one. In this case it is enhanced by a generous acoustic, fascinating music, an extraordinary organ and excellent recording techniques (the engineer gets his own CV in the booklet) – and, of course, by the musically and technically virtuosic organ playing of Cindy Castillo (left) and singing of Aurélie Frank (below).

Ledoux’s Notizen-Fragmente starts at the extreme ends of the organ’s vast tonal range – a timbre that recurs throughout the sequence, leaving the harmonic centre for the evocative voice of Aurélie Franck.  It features a range of piquant sounds and little eastern-style AurŽlie Franck (Mezzo Soprano)ornaments, occasionally reminiscent of Alain and Messiaen, with vocal influences seeming to include the soaring vocal lines of Preisner’s music for Kieślowski films. The first real organ climax comes towards the end of the sixth fragment, and is followed by a large-scale organ toccata, the subdued section at the end involving an astonishing range of sonic effects.

Deleuze’s ‘Here is Absence – Five Antiphonal Deplorations’ starts with a thump, leading into an extraordinary passage for organ sounding like a gigantic train slowly rumbling into action.  The emotional climax comes in the second section, a powerfully expressed dirge on the death of an officer cadet killed at Verdun.  Other sections are based on 17th century Japanese Haiku.

This is an outstanding recording from two imaginative composers, performed by two brilliant young musicians.



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