This is a very nice recording, despite the drubbing Biggs took from the Gramophone reviewer of the time, who apparently had a horror of interestingly registered color and anything that, as he writes, might "ipater(sic) les bourgeois." I assume he means "épater" (amaze or impress) , but he in any event ends up revealing a good deal about his own shabby snobbery.
I guess I am one of that horrid bourgeois (without, however, enjoying the pedestrian, creature comforts that implies), because Biggs has always been my favorite organist. I do not find most organ playing very interesting; Biggs makes it very interesting, undoubtedly by appealing to my philistine musical sensibilities. So be it. I will add to my musical boorishness by recommending highly this wonderful piece by Poulenc, and the glorious recording of it made by Biggs and Burgin on the Aeolian Skinner organ in Boston's Symphony Hall.
The Franck recordings presented here are among the most satisfying performances I have heard of the works, and the sound is very good for the era, which was capable of producing quite wonderful recordings.
The Poulenc was recorded in 1948 and issued on a Columbia 78 set; Biggs and Burgin performed the symphony at that time in Symphony Hall, Boston, which makes me suspect that the Columbia Symphony, in this instance, is in fact the BSO, which was under contract with RCA. The Franck was first issued in 1950 on this LP, Columbia ML 4329
I grew up listening to records -- shellac and vinyl -- and the sound of a needle tracking the grooves of an old LP is still deeply comforting to me -- a sound from childhood, like the fan of the hot air furnace coming on. However turntables are now relatively scarce, and we are becoming less tolerant of noise from the medium the music is stored on, so putting up renovated files of what I consider choice, but neglected performances, seemed a good way to spend some time. There are several thousand LPs in the house, a lot of them not re-issued on CD, some of them performances of real importance. If you like something, post a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Everything posted here is in my personal collection on LPs or 78rpm records, and any restoration to the file is done by me. I do not post anything from CDs.