Searle Wright's performances of the Three Franck Chorals
This website presents two noonday recitals given by Searle Wright at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University. Both were recorded by WKCR, Columbia's student-run radio station. The dates of the recitals were March 15, 1967 and February 19, 1969. The 'playlist' page presents the 1969 recital. The 'files' page contains links to both recitals.
The repertoire is the same: the Three Chorals of Cesar Franck, No. 1 in E Major, No. 2 in B Minor, and No. 3 in A Minor. Searle liked to program them this way, one after the other, starting at 12:10 PM, and ending in time for afternoon classes.
Searle's approach is architectural, un-self-indulgent, unpatronizing. In his hands the Chorals seem to be both romantic symphonic poems and classical variations.
He projects everything in the piece with complete clarity, but he does not allow the juicy bits to dominate his presentation or to to obscure the interrelationships within the pieces. In this way, the architecture itself becomes highly expressive.