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  Motette -
  MOT 50814
  Vierne - Widor - Langlais
  Vierne: Messe solenelle cis Op. 16, Naiades Op. 55 No. 4, Adagio fis aus der 3. Orgelsinfonie Op. 28, Widor: Messe fis Op. 36, Langlais: Messe solenelle Op. 36, Naji Hakim: 2. Satz auf The embrace of fire

Vokalensemble Kölner Dom
Männerstimmen des Kölner Domchores
Winfried Bönig
Ulrich Brüggemann
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Reviews: 2

Review by voixceleste December 20, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Just as these magnificent masses were written with the large French cathedrals in mind, the combination of Organs, Singers, and the Kolner Dom have produced one of the finest examples of church music extant.

The Dom actually becomes a third component of the masses. The engineers, whom unfortunately are left off of the extensive notes on the performances, have truly shown their excellence in this recording. They oh so carefully never allowed the other two performers to overshadow the vast space in which they are performing, conversely the Dom never overshadows the singers or the instruments.

While standing in the Dom in early December 2013 I dreamed of hearing this recording and it is certainly one of, if not the best, of the 21 recordings of cathedrals in Amsterdam, Germany and Alsace that I purchased on my recent trip.

I'm not an engineer, so I can't comment on the physics of this recording, I speak only from a musicians viewpoint. Sonically and musically this is an amazing recording that should be in the library of every organ lover.

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Review by sacd-fan April 4, 2012 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The Cologne cathedral might be one of the most difficult place to do an organ recording: A huge gothic room, big echos, two big organs far away from each other.
Sound engineer Christoph Martin Frommen has proven with some recordings, that this can be recorded in a proper in 2CH and perfect way in 5.1CH. One example is “Liszt, Bruckner, Strauss: Transcriptions for Organ - Winfried Bönig”
Now there is this recording project “Vierne - Widor - Langlais“ included two additional challenges: up to two choirs and the new high pressure division of the main organ. Both again located in different places of the building than the two main organs.

Listening to the 2CH Versions, it still is a very good recording, but to display this really complex situation two speakers are definitely not enough! For 2CH listeners there are other recordings which are better to get to know these pieces. To compare imterpretations, the 2CH version is interesting.

What about the 5.1CH tracks? The choirs are mixed to be the main source of sound. Regarding the sonic power of the organs, this is a wise decision. Therefore the echo of the choir is significantly smaller than that of the organs. If the listener is used to recordings where the echo is about equal, this is a little irritating in the beginning. But it is the more realistic way regarding the situation at a live performance.

Three tracks on the SACD are organ solo and do not belong to the messes. Naiades from Vierne is a very colorful and quiet piece. The sonic arrangement makes it feel like a water flowing in the middle of the cathedral.
The most impressive solo track is Hakims “Embrace of fire”. Here the high pressure organ division has been chosen for the registration. The piece from 1986 definitely is modern organ music in its most impressive way. Crazy rhythms and huge dynamic are combined with very dissonant chords and pauses makes the piece a battlehorse for any surround audio system.

All in all a very interesting recording showing that also recording is an art of itself – not only the music.

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Works: 4  

Louis Vierne - Messe solenelle in C sharp minor, Op. 16
Louis Vierne - Organ Symphony No. 3 in F sharp minor, Op. 28
Louis Vierne - Pieces de Fantaisie Op. 55
Charles-Marie Widor - Mass in F sharp minor, Op. 36