My copy of Harmonia Mundi's CD of Michel Corrette's Organ Concertos in their budget collection « Musique d'abord » is frustrating, in that in lieu of a booklet with liner notes it has a collection catalog, so I get no background information on these works. They are quite enjoyable. Michel Corrette was a French composer whose dates (1709-1795) snugly span the entire 18th Century. He was an original also, and the inventor of the "Concertos comiques", which were in fact conceived as dance music to take place between one-act "operas comiques" or vaudevilles that were played on the occasion of various fairs and markets held in Paris as a way to by-pass the monopoly on theatre held by the "Comédiens français" and "Comédiens italiens" (see Concerts et Concertos Comiques-Ensemble Stradivaria). In these he infused popular music into serious music, developing folk themes and popular songs and writing for instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy or the French bagpipe ("musette").
The Organ Concertos are colorful and lively. Corrette has the organ gambol and flourish in its treble registers, with none of the thickness sometimes associated with the instrument, making it sounds like a barrel organ at times. There's something very French about the music - it is festive, light and insouciant, a bit fluffy, very entertaining. The Aria from the 4th Concerto (track 12), with its imitation of the hurdy gurdy and its bird calls (no liner notes to explain it!), is irresistible. Nonetheless, the Sixth starts like Vivaldi's Four Seasons and makes you think it was written by the Red Priest - no wonder, since Vivaldi's concertos were one of Corrette's big inspirations, and he adapted "The Spring" in form of a choral work, the psalm Laudate Dominum. The Concerto stands out from the rest for its more dramatic hues.
In the shared First Concerto in G (tracks 1-3), Saorgin and Bezzina's Baroque Ensemble of Nice play on a grander scale that Dominique Ferran and Daniel Cuillier's Stradivaria Ensemble (see link above) - but it is more a question of recording pickup than actual size of the forces involved: Bezzina's ensemble of nine strings has one more violin and one more viola, but one double bass less than Cuillier's eight. But the recording is much more resonant, making them sound as if in a church, or in the concert hall, or outdoors, rather than as in the salon of a French aristocrat like Cuillier.
I wouldn't vouch that these are the definitive interpretations - it seemed to me that they left place for a more dynamic and accented approach, and it would be great to hear Minkowski tackle them. But as they are they offer many pleasures.
Very entertaining. TT is 53:48, and the disc has two other entries on this website, where you might find it cheaper: Organ Concerti and Concertos pour Orgue et Orchestre,op.26.