Compact Disc

 

Orgues de Malte.  Artists: Pierre Méa, John Aquilina.  First recording of the historic organs in the Cathedrals of Malta.  1 CD.  74' 26.    English and French booklet. 3760109130196 - Released: August 2011 - Ad Vitam Records AV110415

Track List

 

Oratory's historic Organ of St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta (1579)

- Francesco Correa de Arauxo - Tres glosas el Canto Llano de la Immaculada Concepcion

- Anonymous Spanish - Cancion "Je vous ..."

- Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia - Salve de Lleno

- Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia - Salve de 1. tono por De la sol ré

- Juan Cabanilles - Pasacalle 1. tono

- Girolamo Frescobaldi - Canzon dopo l'Epistola

- Luzzascho Luzzaschi - Toccata del quarto tono

- Ercole Pasquini - Canzone Francese

- Girolamo Cavazzoni - Christe Redemptor Omnium

 

Historic Organ of St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral, Mdina (1774)

- Anonymous English - My Lady careys dompe

- Anonymous English - Upon la mi ré

- Maurice Greene - Voluntary in B flat

- Giuseppe Paolucci - Toccata per l'Elevazione

- Domenico Zipoli - Canzona in Fa

- Domenico Zipoli - Canzona in sol

 

Great Organ of St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta (1960)

- Dietrich Buxtehude - Praeludium in D dur BuxWV 139

- Johann Sebastian Bach - Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 659

- Claude-Bénigne Balbastre - Noël "Joseph est bien Marié"

- Jean-Francois Dandrieu - Noël "Or nous dites Marie"

- Johann Sebastian Bach - Pièce d'orgue in G dur BWV 572

 

Pierre Méa & John Aquilina

 

Pierre Méa a suivi l’enseignement des organistes Olivier Latry, Michel Chapuis, Michel Bouvard et Louis Robillard, et a vu ses études récompensées par deux premiers prix (orgue et harmonie) au Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris en 1991. Lauréat 1992 de la fondation Yehudi Menuhin, il est actuellement organiste titulaire du Grand Orgue de la cathédrale de Reims, après avoir été pendant onze ans suppléant à l’orgue de chœur de Notre Dame de Paris.

 

John Aquilina est l’un des plus jeunes organistes maltais de renom. Il a eu l’occasion de se perfectionner sous la houlette de Douglas Haas (de l’Eglise Presbytérienne de Kitchener au Canada), de Nicolas Zelle et aussi de l’organiste, pianiste, improvisateur et compositeur français, le célèbre Jean Guillou.

“Orgues de Malte” CD presented to HE The President of the Republic of Malta

 

French Ambassador to Malta met with the President of Malta, George Abela to convey his best wishes for the Christmas season and to donate "Organs of Malta" CD’s newly released by the French Embassy. The recordings by organists Frenchman Pierre Méa and John Aquilina, the organist at the M’dina Cathedral were made to highlight the organ heritage of Malta. The two organists recorded on the organs of St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina at of St John’s co-cathedral as well as the Oratory of St John’s. The two organists also played to a packed audience on December 10th for an outstanding Christmas at St John’s.The CD features compositions by masters from Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France.

 

CD Reviews

 

“Les deux interprètes (Pierre Mea et John Aquilina) se mettent au service de ces instruments et nous les font entendre sous leur meilleur jour, par un jeu raffiné et un programme bien choisi."

 

"The two interpreters (Pierre Mea and John Aquilina) are at the service of these instruments and we heard their best, with refined playing and a well-chosen program"

ResMusica

 

An invaluable historical as well as musical record, including a few firsts to boot. It seems that the historical organs of St. Paul and St. John's Oratory, where many knights are buried, have never been recorded before. And I believe that some of the works on this CD are also enjoying their first recording. In fact, one of the highlights on this disc has never, as far as I know, been recorded before. The Toccata per l'Elevazione by Giuseppe Paolucci (1726-1776) is the kind of piece that always brings out an organ's beautifuly soft and warm tones, and organist John Aquilina has chosen the perfect combination of stops on this instrument to achieve just that, which also reinforces the pieces inner harmonic beauty.

 

Other fine moments on this new recording include the simple chant inspired piece by Francesco Correa de Arauxo(1584-1654) in which you can actually hear the air passing through the pipes and the mechanical action of the valves as they open and close. The Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) early effort at counterpoint. The joyful little flute stops that organist Pierre Méa deploys for the My Lady careys dompe. And the perfectly paced and voiced interpretation of the Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 659 by Johann Sebastian Bach. You will also have fun following all the different twists that Claude-Bénigne Balbastre (1727-1799) inflicts on his Noël "Joseph est bien Marié".

 

The sound recording itself was engineered by the highly respected musician and producer Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi. It captures these exceptional instruments and the spatial acoustics around them very well. Ad Vitam records has the exclusive use of a proprietary technology called HDRS (High Definition Recording System). I recommend that you visit the Ad Vitam website for an interesting background on their recording philosophy.

Jean-Yves Duperron - October 2011

Classical Music Sentinel

 

"Enregistrer de l’orgue est un pari très difficile. Les mélomanes le savent, les audiophiles aussi. En octobre 2010, à l’initiative de Daniel Rondeau, ambassadeur de France à Malte et "vieux complice" de Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi (producteur du label Ad Vitam records), vingt pièces furent jouées respectivement sur l’orgue de l’Oratoire de la co-cathédrale de Saint-Jean de La Valette, l’orgue de la cathédrale métropolitaine Saint-Paul de Mdina et le Grand Orgue de la co-cathédrale Saint-Jean de La Valette. Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi a réalisé une prise de son dans sa plus simple et divine expression. L’enregistrement HDRS nous livre une écoute d’une pureté et d’un naturel remarquables. Un grand moment de plaisir. "

Haute Fidélité

 

"Un parcours enregistrer par Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi. Un orfèvre du son, qui utilise avec bonheur pour ses prises de son a propre technique HDRS." 

Hifi video

 

"Présenté sur France Musique (émission « Organo pleno »"

(Benjamin François) en avril 2011

 

Three of Malta’s foremost church organs feature in a new special CD collection by French organist Pierre Mea, of Reims Cathedral in France, and John Aquilina, the Mdina Cathedral organist. Called “Orgues de Malte”, the CD is a special gift of homage to Malta’s historical organs by the French Embassy on the island. 

 

Featuring some of the best organ classical composers in Europe, the CD is the brainchild of French Ambassador Daniel Rondeau who proposed this project to serve as further “testimony to the sincerity of our friendship”. He confides that the idea struck him during a music concert organised by the embassy and Din l-Art Ħelwa at St John’s CoCathedral in June, where Pierre Mea played the organ. The concert was 

held on the day the resistance movement known as Free French was born under the leadership of General Charles de Gaulle, 70 years earlier, in 1940.

 

Appreciating the impressive sound of Malta’s historic organ in the cathedral, where so many knights found their resting place, Ambassador Rondeau felt that the occasion deserved remembering. He immediately set out to organise the recordings. Both Mea and Aquilina were invited to perform during special sessions on the 

two organs of St John’s and the historic one in Mdina’s Cathedral, the latter built in 1774 and restored in 2005. 

 

Originally located in the Chapel of the Langue d’Auvergne, the oratory organ in St John’s was built in 1579. The main organ of the Valletta sacred temple is a recent installation, having been designed by Ralph Downes in 1960. This was the first time a sound recording of the two historic organs, found in St Paul’s Cathedral and the Oratory of St John’s, took place. One of the best sound engineers of our time, Jean Yves Labat de Rossi, was entrusted with the audio recording. The locations were made available through the cooperation of the Metropolitan Chapter and St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation. 

 

The CD brings together works by Spanish, English, German, Italian and French composers. On the collection the oratory’s organ hosts works by de Arauxo, de Heredia, Cabanilles, Frescobaldi, Luzzaschi, Pasquini and Cavazzoni, while the one in St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina features compositions by Greene, Paolucci and Zipoli. On the main organ at St John’s, Mea and Aquilina play Buxtehude, Bach, Balbastre and Dandrieu. The CD also includes some English anonymous popular pieces. The music dates back to the 16th, 17th and eighteenth centuries. 

 

Recipient of a number of awards for his performances Pierre Mea became a laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation after having been substitute organist at the Notre Dame de Paris for 11 years. He has performed in various countries under famous orchestra directors, including Riccardo Muti and Kurt Masur. He is the 

official organist of the Reims Cathedral, professor of organ music at the Conservatoire National de la région de Reims and lectures at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris.

 

John Aquilina, the Mdina organist since 2001, has given a number of solo recitals in Malta and accompanied choirs in major choral works. He is known to combine the re-creation of works in the organ repertoire with the spontaneity of improvisation. In 2009 he attended master classes with world-known French organist and composer Jean Guillou. On the launch of the CD both organists were the guest performers of the French Embassy in an evening of organ music held at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. 

Charles Xuereb, The Times of Malta, 21 January 2011