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Robert Delcamp
American Record Guide, November 2017

Winpenny presents Volume 3 of what one assumes will eventually be a complete series. These pieces were composed more than a decade apart and represent two different style periods. Le Corps Glorieux (1939) is the Resurrection—almost a sequel to the Christmas themes of La Nativite. For a long period the composer considered it his favorite work, as it represented a summation of his first compositional period. Winpenny gives a stunning account of the wonderful climactic IV, ‘Combat de la Mort et de la Vie’. The Messe de la Pentacote dates from 1950 and is a distillation of the composer’s improvisations in the late 1940s, containing the five sections of the Mass the organist was expected to improvise using the chant themes of the day: Prelude, Offertory, Elevation, Communion, Postlude. The style is more abstract, incorporating birdsong and mathematical procedures, prefiguring the more radical turn his style was to take in the 1950s. Winpenny again gives wonderful performances playing on a marvelous 2014 Siefert organ in Hildesheim Cathedral, perfect for these pieces. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2017

The third disc of Olivier Messiaen’s organ works, recorded by Tom Winpenny, couples his two most important works from the mid-part of the Twentieth century. Les Corps glorieux (The Glorified Bodies) is an extended score in seven movements depicting the life and death struggles that conclude with the resurrection, and is created in expressive symbolism. His style of composition was unique, long stretches of the first three movements being a very quiet unaccompanied chain of notes, the sparse use of harmonies creating a mood of ethereal grace and beauty. This ‘prelude’ only heightens the dramatic outburst in the long fourth movement, Battle between Death and Life, before the work takes on a final beatification. Technically the work is not exacting, but such long periods of quiet and slow-moving music is not easy to sustain, and to Winpenny’s credit he holds our undivided attention with the vast range of subtle colours available on the massive Orgelbau Seifart organ in Germany’s Hildeshelm Cathedral. It equally records beautifully, the church’s reverberation period, being relatively short, provides an ideal inner clarity. Coming soon after the Second World War, the Messe de la Pentecote (Pentecost Mass) is an ecclesiastical work corresponding to the improvised elements he would have used in his church duties, but made unusual by the use of birdsong imitations for the Communion section. In five sections, he moves to a more vertical style of chordal progression, with peace eventually interrupted by a massive virtuoso final Le vent de l’Esprit (The Wind of the Spirit) for the congregations exit. In total this is a disc no lover of Messiaen should be without. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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