RENÉ LOUIS BECKER - Organ Music Vol. 2

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Cavaillé-Coll Organ
RENÉ LOUIS BECKER - Organ Music Vol. 2 - Damin Spritzer (Organ) - 034069694924 - Released: November 2014 - Raven OAR-949

1} Toccata in B-flat, Ite, missa est, Op. 69c
2} Postlude in D minor, Op. 75a
3} Toccata, Op. 32
4} Cantilène, Op. 63
5} March in D Minor, Op. 76a
6} Toccata, Benedicamus Domino, Op. 68a
7} Interlude from 12 Compositions for Organ, Op. 16
8} Prelude from 12 Compositions for Organ, Op. 16
9} First Sonata in G, Op. 40

As mentioned previously in the review of Volume 1 (reviewed here), organist Damin Spritzer jumps right into the action with an assured confidence and refined musicality that quite simply reinforces the high level of craftmanship and beauty inherent to the music of composer René Louis Becker (1882-1956). The opening Toccata in B-flat alone, which could easily intimidate many organists with its agitated left-hand and busy pedal work, moves forward at quite a pace under Spritzer's command, and thus reveals its determined musical lines all leading to a powerful finish. I would have loved to be sitting up in the organ loft when she played those final three chords. By contrast, her choice of registration for the softly tender Cantilène, Op. 63 demonstrates an organist who knows how to balance colors on a sonic canvas.

The instrument of choice this time is the four manual Organ of the Cathedral of Sainte-Croix in Orléans, France. An 1880 Cavaillé-Coll that was restored in 2004-2008. Its stops range from a 2' Doublette to a 32' Contre-Bombarde, with everything else in between, including a curious "Effets d'orage" (storm effects). It was designed to overcome the acoustical challenges created by the extra long nave of the cathedral. And those of you who are always seeking out new music to listen to will be glad to know that besides the Sonata, all pieces on this new Raven CD are world première recordings. Both volumes belong on the shelves of all organ music enthusiasts.

Jean-Yves Duperron - December 2014