YVES RAMETTE (1921-2012): Organ Works - Toccata et Fugue (rec. 1980), Pour une nuit de Noël (rec. 1993), Solum in modum (rec. 1965), Pastorale (rec. 1978).

Catalogue Number: 09Q072

Label: Navona Records

Reference: NV5971

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Ramette's organ works, by contrast with the harmonically conservative symphonies that we offered previously, sound thoroughly 20th century; the writing is full of pungent dissonance and a very free - sometimes largely absent - sense of tonality. The Pastorale, an extended exploration of man's place in the natural world, is built of a geometrically expanding series of repeated motifs, some of which are Messiaenic birdsongs, while the virtuosic Toccata et Fugue combines Tristanesque chromaticism with a passing resemblance to Messiaen's dissonant, tonality-based, non-functional harmony. Frequent changes of time signature, the only demonstrably modern feature of Ramette's unrepentantly romantic symphonies, here becomes an incessant feature, lending a sense of perpetual, linear flow, unimpeded by metrical downbeats, to the music, especially evident in the mystical nature-music of the Christmas suite. The earliest piece, Solum in Modum, dates from around the time he stopped writing symphonies altogether. It is by far the most tonal work here, the ricercar that forms its second part being a far more conventional contrapuntal essay than the complex 1980 Fugue, while part one is the closest here to the romantic French organ tradition. The later pieces may be a bit conservative for the 1970s and 80s, but they are thoroughly modern in idiom, and in fact feature a very individual voice in organ composition, not substantially reminiscent of any compositional school or doctrine (and perhaps most remarkably for a French organist-composer steeped in religious mysticism, managing not to sound much like Messiaen most of the time). 2 CDs. Yves Ramette (organ of Église Saint Ferdinand des Ternes, Paris).

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