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CD booklet
Widor-Vierne: Messes pour choeurs et orgues

The WholeNote
November 26, 2015

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) and Louis Vierne (1870-1937) were, respectively, organists at St.-Sulpice Church and Notre Dame Cathedral. The recent Paris terrorist killings occurred not far from the churches where these works originated. During those dreadful days I felt particularly uplifted by this disc, for both the emotional resonances of the two great masses (along with six motets) and the youth and promise of the singers. There is freshness and confidence in the singìng of both boys’ and young mens’ choirs of Mount Royal led by Patenaude, that is complemented wonderfully by Boucher’s great organ and Oldengarm’s small organ near the choir. On disc we cannot fully sense the spatial separation of the great organ from the rest in Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory, yet the dynamic and timbral contrasts in the magnificently resonant acoustical space are effective indeed!

Vierne’s Solemn Mass in C-Sharp Minor (the track list wrongly states F-Sharp Minor) opens with a Kyrie that felt a little stiff, but ended impressively. In theSanctus, the affecting opening call in each of the choir’s four sections followed by the whole choir, the impassioned and even raw singing of the “Pleni sunt,” and captivating organ registration throughout were highlights. In Widor’s Mass for Two Choirs the excellent trebles of the Petits Chanteurs are heard to advantage in the Kyrie. In the Gloria there are interesting crossrhythms and other challenges, but the ensemble on the recording remains amazingly tight throughout.

Roger Knox - The WholeNote

Music Web International
November 20, 2015

 «Warmly communicative performances in very decent sound; well worth hearing.»

-Dan Morgan

Click HEREto read the whole review.

La Scena musicale
November 17, 2015

*****
This is a wonderful ATMA disc featuring two French masses for choir. Louis Vierne’s Messe solennelle is a superb score filled with action and impressiveness. Widor’s Messe pour deux chœurs is full of colour and texture, and magnificently combines organ timbres with light vocal harmonization. Motets by each composer round out the album, much like sweets after a main course. Some musical gems include Vierne’s “Ave Maria” and Vierne’s “Tu es Petrus.” This recording benefits from a balanced and clear sound, and is a testimony to the performers’ musicality and commitment. We tip our hat to Gilbert Patenaude for having built an exceptional choral tradition north of Mount Royal. His choristers sing with grace and conviction, all the while respecting the music’s sacred and solemn mood. In addition, Vincent Boucher masters St. Joseph Oratory’s wonderful organ timbres magnificently, and Jonathan Oldengarm’s delicate organ playing is a wonderful addition. A CD you’ll enjoy over and over again. 

La Scena musicale - Eric Champagne