Jean-Baptiste Monnot - VoyageBase2 Music has unveiled a mesmerizing assortment of Bach pieces performed on the organ, under the title "Voyage." Now, audiophiles can immerse themselves in the opulent realm of organ harmonies from Saint Ouen, Rouen, resonating from one of the greatest organs in the world, all from the comfort of their abode. Showcasing the organ mastery of Jean-Baptiste Monnot, a protégé nurtured by the illustrious organ virtuosos Jean Guillou and Olivier Latry of Notre Dame Cathedral, this collection proffers a mix of traditional and innovative sounds, embellished by the ultrasonic echoes of bats soaring amidst the recording.

High resolution immersionists are likely to be astounded with the recording mastery of Jake Purches, who captured the organ in both stereo and surround sound. Boasting a bandwidth of 100 kHz, Purches employed Sennheiser MKH8020 omnidirectional microphones and recorded in 32-bit linear at 352.8 kHz PCM (DXD). Seriously it so easy to hear how the recordings have meticulously captured every nuance of the music with unparalleled precision. Just to be clear, such fidelity permits aficionados, like us, to savor the entire sonic spectrum up to 50kHz, all the way from the commanding bass reverberations of the organ to the delicate harmonies of the bats' serenade interwoven throughout this spectacular sounding album. A novel dimension is introduced at the culmination of the album, wherein the bat symphony, resonating at frequencies of 47 to 80 kHz, is ingeniously transposed into the audible range through a tenfold reduction, imbuing the album with an unprecedented ambient ending.

The recording is focused on the Grand organ, an 1890 masterpiece dubbed 'Michaelangelo' sculpted by the maestro Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, celebrated for its resounding 32ft Contra Bombarde stop. Esteemed as one of the world’s most exhilarating and frequently documented instruments, this organ enchants audiences with its commanding and distinct resonance, further heightened by the Abbey's magnificent acoustics spanning 130 meters in length and towering 35 meters in height. I can definitively say that Purches has captured the aural ambience of the space and vivid resonance of the organ on these high-resolution recordings.

As listeners progress through the program, L’orgue du Voyage is unveiled, this portable organ fashioned by Jean-Baptiste Monnot hosts a selection of Bach compositions. Also presented in immersive 5.1 surround sound, the emphasis is placed on enveloping the listener within the organ's resplendent tonality.

What I especially like about these high-quality recordings is the absolute sense of sitting in the Abbey without leaving my own listening room. The organ floats across the soundscape, fully encompassing the sweet spot. The ambience of the early and decaying reflections are among the attributes that bring this recording to life. The subwoofer aids in delivering the deep rich bass tones, while the midrange and upper range shines all around. I find the movement of air at the closing of each piece to truly drive home the feeling of being transported to the space and time of the recording. While the stereo mix obviously lacks the depth heard on the surround, it maintains the high audio quality, and depending on the sampling rate and bit depth listeners can support on their system, may prove to offer advances in sound quality.

Alongside timeless compositions like Widor's 6th Allegro, which magnificently showcases the Grand organ's authoritative and formidable demeanor, the album encompasses mellower pieces by Bach, Brahms, and César Franck’s Pièce héroique. Voyage is a well-rounded collection of pieces performed on the organ.

Highly recommended for aficionados of organ music, immersionists seeking spatial recordings of classical works, and fans of the classics. Available on SACD or very high-resolution lossless FLAC’s up to Master 352kHz / 32-bit in both Stereo and 5.1 surround.

Released March 5, 2024.

 

 Format Info

SACD or FLAC files with both 5.1 surround and stereo mixes. The download files are available in super high-resolution versions up to 352kHz / 32-bit or down to CD quality 44.1kHz / 16-bit, all available exclusively through Base2Music.

 

 

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 About the Author

Wesley Derbyshire Profile Image

Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.

 

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