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Dip Your Ears No. 231 (Ben van Osten’s Compleat César Franck)

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César Franck, The Organ Works
Ben van Osten

Ben van Oosten has recorded just about all the important romantic French organ literature – except that of the arguably most famous (or least organ-niche bound) one, César Franck. This empty spot on the escutcheon has now been filled in, with Oosten not only drawing on his wealth of interpretative and recording-experience but also on the majestic, newly restored Cavaillé-Coll organ of Saint-Ouen in Rouen.

The result is profoundly impressive. In the smaller works, he sets the standard either by default or with ease; in the grand works, he easily hangs with the best of them—whether Olivier Latry or Marie-Claire Alain. One might quibble with the decision to split the Six Pièces (opp.16 through 21) across two discs, but at van Oosten’s tempi, they would not have fit by a sliver. And if they had, that would still be nitpicky.

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