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OSM - Saint-Saens - Moussa - Saarihao / CBC - First Play

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This new album on the Analekta label celebrates the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, the massive new Casavant organ recently installed in La Maison symphonique de Montréal, the 2,100-seat concert hall that is home to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Named after the founder and general manager of the OSM from 1939 to 1970, this organ bears the Casavant opus number 3,900. With 109 registers, 83 stops, 116 ranks and 6,489 pipes, it's one of the largest organs ever built by Casavant. (View photos of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique in the gallery above.)

The OSM and its music director, Kent Nagano, threw a bash on May 28, 29 and June 1, 2014, to inaugurate the organ. Highlights of those concerts are preserved on this new release, streaming above until Oct. 23. The centrepiece of the album is Camille Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, known as his Organ Symphony. The OSM's guest for this work is Olivier Latry, organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory. He's also organist emeritus of the OSM.

Rounding out the album are two new works. First, A Globe Itself Infolding, an 11-minute work for organ and orchestra commissioned by the OSM from Samy Moussa, a Montreal composer now living in Berlin. The organ soloist is Jean-Willy Kunz, the OSM's organist in residence.

The third work on the album is Maan varjot (Earth's shadows), a three-movement work for organ and orchestra by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, dedicated to French composer Henri Dutilleux who died in 2013. It was co-commissioned by the OSM, the Orchestre national de Lyon and London's Southbank Centre. Latry is the soloist. Pre-order Saint-Saëns - Moussa - Saariaho on Archambault.


1-4. Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78

I. Adagio - Allegro moderato

II. Poco adagio

III. Allegro moderato - Presto

IV. Maestoso - Allegro

5. Moussa: A Globe Itself Infolding

6-8. Saariaho: Maan varjot

I. Misterioso ma intenso

II. Lento calmo

III. Energico