When the very young Marie-Claire Alain recorded for Erato for the second time, in late winter of 1955, she did not necessarily suspect that she was participating in a long discographic odyssey. The organist would become one of the emblematic personalities of the Erato catalogue, working with the French firm up until the early 1990s. On 27 February 1955, in the church of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, she began a series of recordings devoted to French composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She initiallly elaborated a brief programme of famous toccatas: Gigout, Widor and Boëllmann. Brisk tempos, nimble articulations, a wide variety of colours: Marie-Claire Alain charmed with her vivacious spirit – the famous piece by Widor (finale of the Fifth Symphony) is of noteworthy elegance. These youthful accounts already reveal all of Marie-Claire Alain’s affinities with this repertoire with which she has not always been associated and of which, in truth, she promotes a fleet, airy, supple vision. However, it was a few weeks later, around 13 March 1955, that Erato offered the young French organist, fully concentrated at the time on Buxtehude’s music, her greatest joy: she could defend ‘in studio’ the works of her elder brother, Jehan Alain. It is a veritable godsend to rediscover these youthful documents, keen and always pertinent, by Marie-Claire Alain, recorded in the church of Saint-Merri a little more than a year after her very first recording for Erato devoted to J. S. Bach.
Jos van Immerseel and Claire Chevallier have enjoyed a close collaboration for many years now. Like Jos van Immerseel, Claire Chevallier loves period pianos; like him, she is a researcher and possesses her own collection of keyboard instruments.
Known as the ‘First Lady of the organ’, Marie-Claire Alain was a strikingly mature, creative and intuitive artist. Spanning four centuries of music, from Baroque masterpieces by the likes of Couperin and Grigny, through cornerstones of the French organ repertoire by Widor, Vierne and Messiaen, to two discs of works by her brother Jehan, this collection is testament to her vast and impressively wide-ranging recording legacy.
"Whole Heart" is the debut album from cellist Claire Bryant featuring seven bold works for solo cello and string duo written by a luminary slate of diverse living composers: Caroline Shaw, Jessie Montgomery, Andrea Casarrubios, Adam Schoenberg, Jessica Meyer, Reena Esmail, and Tanner Porter. These works reflect love and the human experience. Whole Heart is a reminder of the collective challenges we face and the resilience and strength that live inside each of us.