Jean-Baptiste Robin (b. 1976) has made two previous recordings for Brilliant Classics: the complete organ works of his fellow-countryman Jehan Alain (BC94233) and an imaginative recreation of ‘The American Symphonic Organ’ (BC94726) which includes Jean-Baptiste his own, well-upholstered transcriptions of music by Bizet, Debussy, Mahler, Rachmaninov and others.
Now he presents his own compositions: the Fantaisie méchanique for organ, timpani and strings which gives the album its title; Etoile intérieure (Inner Star) for piano and organ, Récits Héroïques (Heroic Tales) for trumpet and organ, Three Solos and Cinq Versets sur le Veni Creator for solo organ, Chant de l’Âme (Song of the Soul) for clarinet and organ and Regard vers Agartha for four hands organ. In Robin’s music, Ostinatos and circular melodies reminiscent of the ticking and turning hands of the dial of a clock, knock against the warmth of a tempestuous, floating melody. The mediator which manages to reconcile and eventually unite both forces, is a machine, moved by a particularly intricate and complex mechanism, which yet carries the imprint of an unconventional and pliable musicality, capable of moving the senses: the ‘machine organ’. These circular melodies can often be traced from one work to another, linking them in a renaissance of Lisztian thematic transformation.
The composer explains his own preoccupations this way: ‘With the juxtaposition of two opposing states, a space between the two emerges, which interests me, like the suspended hiatus which exists between a powerful accent and the resonant web of pianissimo which follows in its wake.’ Thus Robin writes his organ music with the full scale of the instrument and its architectural context in mind; for this recording he plays the Stahlhuth / Jann organ of Saint-Martin’s church at Dudelange, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg.
Jean-Baptiste Robin is not only one of the foremost organists of France, he is also the author of a remarkable oeuvre, in which the organ forms the centre point. His musical language is eclectic, influenced by a wide variety of cultures, philosophies and religions both western and eastern. His music is highly evocative, it speaks, narrates, it stimulates the imagination. It is inspired by poetry, myths and legends, it speaks a language of micro- and macrocosm.
Robin secured the collaboration of several of France’s best soloists: Romain Leleu (trumpet), Francois Chaplin (piano), Philippe Cuper (clarinet) to join in works for their instrument and organ. The orchestra is the Orchestre regional de Normandie, conducted by Jean Deroyer.
A new recording of fascinating new music, both intimate, mystic and spectacular, by one of France’s most promising composers!