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Robin: Cercles Reflechissants, Regard Vers L'air / Robin

Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570892  
Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin
Performer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ROBIN Regard vers l’aïr (two versions). Cercles Réfléchissants. 3 Élements d’un Songe Jean-Baptiste Robin (org) NAXOS 8.570892 (62:42)

Jean-Baptiste Robin (b. 1976) is a French composer and organist, currently serving as the organist at Poitiers Cathedral and professor of organ and composition at the Versailles Conservatory. As Robin is a French composer-organist, his work falls into a grand tradition whose exemplars Read more include Charles-Marie Widor, Marcel Dupré, Louis Vierne, Jean Langlais, Maurice Duruflé, Olivier Messiaen, Naji Hakim, and Thierry Escaich. (Hakim is Lebanese, though his entire career has been made in France.) Robin has written music in other forms, but it is clearly the organ repertoire that forms the core of his musical personality to date. This CD collects all three of his published organ works in his own definitive and excellent performances. Style-wise, Robin’s music fits comfortably into what has become the lingua franca of post-Messiaen French organ music: flamboyantly dramatic textures (often including ostinato), rhapsodic gestures and formal designs, and a tonal language based on idiosyncratic uses of extended modality.

Regard vers l’aïr (A Look Toward the Air) (2001) is a piece that Robin developed in different, evolving versions. He has employed these variations depending on the character of the organ used for performance. Though the remainder of the disc uses the large modern instrument at Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris, this piece is presented in two versions, one of which is also recorded on a German Baroque-style instrument at Église Saint-Louis-en-l’Île in Paris. Besides some different choices of organ registration, Robin uses a more Baroque rhythmic freedom for the earlier version. Cercles Réfléchissants (Reflecting Circles) (2007–08) is a half-hour suite in seven movements that employs Robin’s “23 reflecting modes” (somewhat similar conceptually to Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition). The piece is symmetrically constructed and material is shared throughout the movements. It is a major work for the instrument that, though long, does not wear out its welcome. Trois Éléments d’un songe ( Three Elements of a Dream) (2003) comprises three brief movements that develop a small amount of musical material in diverse ways.

For some of the composers mentioned in the first paragraph (e.g., Vierne, Dupré, Langlais), their greatest contribution was unquestionably music for the organ. For others (e.g., Messiaen or Escaich), despite the acknowledged brilliance of their organ music, their work in other genres is of equal or greater significance. It remains to be seen into which category Robin will fall, but at present it is wonderful to be able to enjoy these dramatic works for organ. Because of its difficulty, this music is likely to end up in the repertoire of only the finest recitalists, but this excellent recording allows for the pieces to be experienced as the composer intends.

FANFARE: Carson Cooman
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Works on This Recording

Regard vers l'Aďr by Jean-Baptiste Robin
Performer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 
Venue:  Eglise Saint-Louis-en-l'Ile, Paris 
Cercles Reflechissants by Jean-Baptiste Robin
Performer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007-2008 
Elements d'un Songe (3) by Jean-Baptiste Robin
Performer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003 
Regard vers l'Aďr by Jean-Baptiste Robin
Performer:  Jean-Baptiste Robin (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 
Venue:  Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Paris 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Recommended  August 17, 2013 By L. Wilborn (Richwood, TX) See All My Reviews "I am not usually attracted to contemporary organ compositions due to the possible atonality and dissonance found in many of the works. Not the case here; it's different but accessible. Enjoyable program. Good recorded sound, good playing, and appropriate organ choices. A great addition to my organ music library. Recommended." Report Abuse
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