Gillian Weir: A Celebration

 
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DUPRÉ / FRANCK / COUPERIN / BRUHNS / BACH / MESSIAEN
Gillian Weir: A Celebration
Gillian Weir (organ)

[ Decca Australian Eloquence / 22 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 12 February 2021

'Weir is to the organ what Heifetz was to the violin, and Casals to the cello - a phenomenon,' pronounced the celebrated broadcaster John Amis.

This boxed set is a 22-CD celebration of the doyenne of organists on her 80th birthday (17 January 2021) spanning her illustrious career of nearly five decades. Presenting Dame Gillian Weir's complete Argo recordings, selected recordings on other labels that have reverted to her, and most enticingly, no fewer than ten discs of previously unpublished BBC radio broadcasts - selected by Dame Gillian.

The booklet includes an extended essay with wonderful anecdotes by Dame Gillian herself. The 20,000-word booklet includes informative introductions to the recordings, with Gillian Weir's reminiscences and amusing anecdotes from the recording sessions and from her encounters with composers such as Olivier Messiaen and William Mathias.

HIGHLIGHTS:

A showpiece recital of dazzling toccatas and fantasias from the French organ tradition opening and closing with spectacular pieces by Marcel Dupré, the epitome of the French organist-composer tradition.

A recording of Charles Camilleri's breathtaking Missa Mundi, one of many pieces written for and premièred by Gillian Weir.

A stunning disc of pieces by Messiaen recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 1966, shortly after she won 1st prize at the St Albans International Organ Competition.

A recital on the beautiful organ of Hexham Abbey, built by Dame Gillian's late husband, Lawrence Phelps.

No fewer than ten discs of previously unpublished BBC radio broadcasts - selected by Gillian Weir, including:

- The complete organ works of César Franck, recorded on the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse

- A thrilling "Proms" recital from The Royal Albert Hall, London of music inspired by dance

- The then-complete works of Messiaen recorded in 1979 at the The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, on the organ chosen by Messiaen himself for the première of one of his monumental works

- Dame Gillian's recital from St Alban's Abbey recorded the day after winning the St Alban's Competition, and marking the beginning of her recording career

- A recital of French music drawn from three individual programmes

'The contribution made to the world of the organ by Dame Gillian Weir is almost incalculable. Our instrument has hardly had such a skilled ambassador in modern times' - CHRIS BRAGG (MUSICWEB)

'Dame Gillian is one of the greatest of living artists; her playing shows a perfect mixture of hand and heart, a true musician with the technique to tackle anything.' - JOHN AMIS, WRITER AND CRITIC

'Weir's virtuosity and control are staggering. An achievement of outstanding musical integrity' - GRAMOPHONE

'The organ world will never be the same again.' - JOHN ALLISON IN THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH reviewing Dame Gillian's final recital

Letter from Gillian Weir to producer Cyrus Meher-Homji:
"The design is simply amazing. Everything about it is supremely beautiful. You have even matched the colour of the discs with their sleeves! The design of all the Eloquence CDs is always immensely striking and elegant, but this has surpassed them all. You clearly have a very special team, but your hand is seen in every detail, creating a magnificent harmony throughout the set.

And of course the actual sound is wonderful. I still can't imagine how you extracted all those recordings from the BBC. I remember saying to you gloomily that they would never release them and back came your airy reply "Oh, that won't be a problem". They magically appeared and their sound quality is somehow better than ever."

Tracks:

CD1 NICOLAUS BRUHNS (1665-1697): 3 Præludium ∙ Fantasia on Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland
SAMUEL SCHEIDT (1587-1654): Passamezzo
Clare College, Cambridge

CD2 JEAN-FRANÇOIS DANDRIEU (1682-1738)
Premier Livre de Pièces d'Orgue
Leonhardskirche, Basel & St. Maximin-Thionville, France

CD3 LOUIS MARCHAND (1669-1732): Pièces d'Orgue (includes Troisième, Quartième and Cinquième Livres, and extracts from the Premier Livre)
St. Maximin-Thionville, France

CD4 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564 ∙ Fantasia in G major, BWV 572
Trio Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, BWV 525 ∙ Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582
St. Laurenskerk, Rotterdam

CD5 FRANÇOIS COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Messe pour les Paroisses
Prediger-Kirche, Zürich

CD6 FRANÇOIS COUPERIN Messe pour les Couvents
Prediger-Kirche, Zürich
LOUIS-NICOLAS CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749) Premier Livre d'Orgue; Deuxième Livre d'Orgue
St. Leonhardskirche, Basel

CD7 FRANÇOIS ROBERDAY (1624-1680) Fugues et Caprices
St. Leonhardskirche, Basel

CD8 CHARLES CAMILLERI (1931-2009) Missa Mundi
Royal Festival Hall, London

CD9 Hexham Abbey Organ Widor ∙ Vierne ∙ Bull ∙ de Grigny ∙ Mullet ∙ Daquin ∙ Dupré ∙ Langlais ∙ Tomkins ∙ Sweelinck ∙ Dubois
Hexham Abbey, Northumberland, England

CD10 FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Hör mein Bitten (Hear my Prayer)* ∙ Veni, Domine ∙ Ave Maria†
*Felicity Palmer, soprano ∙ †John Elwes, tenor ∙ Heinrich Schütz Choir and Chorale / Roger Norrington
Kingsway Hall, London
ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967) Psalm 114 from the Geneva Psalter ∙ Laudes Organi - Fantasia on a 12th Century Sequence
Brighton Festival Chorus / László Heltay
Guilford Cathedral

CD11 OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
Le Banquet Céleste ∙ Les corps Glorieux (excerpts) ∙ Apparition de l'Église Éternelle
Royal Festival Hall, London

CD12 OLIVIER MESSIAEN Verset pour la fête de la dédicace ∙ L'Ascension (Mvs II & III)
Royal Festival Hall, London

MARCEL DUPRÉ (1886-1971) Variations sur un Noël
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Fantaisie No. 1 in E flat major
LOUIS VIERNE (1870-1937) Feux follets ∙ Naïades ∙ Toccata (Pièces de fantaisie)
JACQUES CHARPENTIER (1933-2017) L'Ange à la Trompette
MARCEL DUPRÉ Deuxième Symphonie, Op. 26
Hradetzky organ in The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

BBC BROADCASTS

CD13 LOUIS VIERNE Naïades ∙ OLIVIER MESSIAEN Combat de la Mort et de la Vie
WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934-1992) Variations on a Hymn Tune (Braint)
The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Alban, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
DIETERICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Toccata in F major, BuxWV 156
GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Aria detto to Balletto
LUIGI ROSSI (1597-1653) Toccata Settima ∙ ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955) Fugue
ANTON HEILLER (1923-1979) In Festo Corporis Christi
Chapel of Clare College, Cambridge, England

CD14 ANTONIO VALENTE (1520-1580) Lo ballo dell' Intorcia
CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890) Chorale No. 2 in B minor
ANTON HEILLER (1923-1979) Tanz-Toccata ∙ PETR EBEN (1929-2007) Walpurgisnacht (from Faust)
JEHAN ALAIN (1911-1940) Trois Danses ∙ OLIVIER MESSIAEN Transports de joie
The Royal Albert Hall, London

CD15 MARCEL DUPRÉ Le Monde dans l'attente du Sauveur ( from Symphonie-Passion) ∙ JEHAN ALAIN Intermezzo
CHARLES TOURNEMIRE (1870-1939) Choral-paraphrase sur le Victimae Paschali Transcribed Maurice Duruflé
Birmingham Oratory, UK
JEHAN ALAIN Deux Fantaisies
Royal Festival Hall, London
JEAN LANGLAIS (1907-1991) Incantation pour un jour saint
MAURICE DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Prélude sur l'Introit de l'Epiphanie
LÉON BOËLLMANN (1862-1897) Versets sur 'Adoro Te'
JEANNE DEMESSIEUX (1921-1968) Deux Chorale Preludes ∙ Te Deum
Aarhus Domkirke, Denmark

CD16-17 CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890) Complete Organ Works
Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France

OLIVIER MESSIAEN

CD18 Le Banquet Celeste ∙ Diptyque ∙ Apparition de l'Église Éternelle ∙ L'Ascension

CD19 La Nativité du Seigneur

CD20 Les Corps glorieux

CD21 Messe de la Pentecôte ∙ Verset pour la fête de la Dédicace ∙ Livre d'Orgue

CD22 Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité
The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC