At first sight the two composers on this disc seem disproportionately represented, at least if their fame were to be the mark by which such things are judged. Durufle's reputation has lasted well, based very justly on such works as his Requiem and the Organ Suite. Alain, in contrast, has fared less well, perhaps because his death during the defense of Paris in World War II cut short the time during which his fame might have grown.
On the other hand, Alain was by far the more prolific of the two composers, and this disc delivers a satisfying overview of his greatest works for the organ. Durufle's contribution consists of his tribute to the former composer, in the form of the Prelude and Fugue on the name Alain.
Alain's compositional pallette is wonderfully broad; at its most energetic in the Litanies and yet perfectly calm in the Jardin Suspendu. The Trois Dances are virtuosic pieces and a real thrill to listen to.
William Whitehead is an exceptionally talented organist, and he possesses technique and knowledge in abundance where this repertoire is concerned. At the console of what can only be described as a beast of an instrument in Auxerre Cathedral (most of the pipework seems to be horizontal, and very loud), he conjures up excitement in great measure, and yet still finds quieter, more reflective registrations where necessary.
If you've enjoyed music by Durufle, Messian, Dupre or any other French composer of the 20th century, this disc is highly to be recommended, and for lovers of the organ it really ought not to be missed.