(Two masterpieces for organ and orchestra in the French tradition served on a silver platter. ) The organ is above all a solo instrument. But it happens that the organist leaves the solitude of his gallery to join the orchestra for a Symphony with organ by Saint-Saëns or a Concerto by Poulenc. And also sometimes the Symphonie concertante by Joseph Jongen (a Belgian who died in 1953), which can be heard at the Orchester symphonique de Montréal at the end of the 2023-2024 season.
The last two works are brought together on a new release from the Polish label CD Accord featuring organist Karol Mossakowski, the NFM Philharmonic Orchestra of Wrocław and its conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. The latter, also at the head of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, is not unknown to Montrealers for having already conducted the final of the Montreal International Music Competition a few years ago.
Mossakowski, 32, has just been named co-titular organist of the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. He was trained in the purest French tradition at the National Conservatory of Paris, notably by Olivier Latry, organist emeritus of our OSM.
If the recording, made at the National Musical Forum in Wrocław, an important center in western Poland, surprises us, from the first chords of Poulenc’s Concerto, with a relative acoustic dryness and a certain distance, the lively and contrasting direction of Guerrero was quick to win us over. We feel a real appetite for music.
Karol Mossakowski handles with equal happiness the imposing Klais organ (4 keyboards, 77 stops), of which he participated in the inauguration in October 2020. The organist makes the instrument sing well, with a legato that is always nourished. The technical pitfalls of the perilous Toccata ending Jongen’s Symphonie concertante are easily overcome.
A nice addition to the discography, especially for the little-recorded Jongen.