SACD 2540 Cover

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Symphony No.3 “Organ Symphony”
plus works by

Philippe Bélanger, organ
Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal
Yannick Nézet-Séguin

SACD2 2540

Ingenious developments in organ-building in France in the 19th century gave rise to a repertoire of colorful, grandiose, and virtuosic music.   At the time, musical life was focused on the few musicians who both held the posts of organist at prestigious centers, and were also composers.   Guilmant, Vierne, and Widor wrote a considerable amount of music for the organ, while Saint-Saëns, though a prolific composer, wrote only a few works for organ.   His Symphony No. 3 (“Organ Symphony”) was an attempt at the modern and avant-garde, with a major part for the organ and with a piano played by four-hands used as an orchestral instrument.

Philippe Bélanger, the young musician who holds the post of official organist at the Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, recorded this disc on the Oratory's imposing five-manual Von Beckerath organ.   For the “Organ Symphony”, the orchestra was positioned below the organ loft and, with the help of cameras for synchronization, recorded simultaneously with the organ.   The presence of the orchestra beside the splendid organ within an acoustically rich and generous space allows this work to resound in its full, solemn dimensions.

Symphonie n° 3 en do mineur, op. 78, «avec orgue» [36:03]
Symphony no. 3 in C minor op. 78 ("Organ Symphony")
1er mouvement
  1 • Adagio - Allegro moderato [10:30]
  2 • Poco adagio [10:30]
2e mouvement
  3 • Allegro moderato - Presto [7:18]
  4 • Maestoso [7:45]

  5 • Marche sur «Lift Up Your Heads» de Handel [7:20]

LOUIS VIERNE (1870 1937)
  6. Carillon de Westminster [7:04]

  7 • «Allegro vivace» de la Sixième symphonic pour orgue [9:37]

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