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The Pascal Quoirin organ of the Church of the Ascension was designed explicitly to render all of Messiaen’s works with the specific sounds intended by the composer. This the organ faithfully does, with all the subtle, colourful combinations delivering the kind of resonance that Messiaen would surely appreciate. Any player has to work hard, though, to compensate for the lack of warm acoustics, especially in a work that exploits elements of time and space across two hours in 18 movements. Jon Gillock’s thorough intellectual and musical command of the Livre du Saint Sacrement brings out all the theatrical drama and intense power of Messiaen’s musical narrative.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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