DUPRE: Works for Organ, Vol. 2 (Robert Delcamp) (Naxos: 8.553918)
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Works for Organ Vol. 2
Marcel Dupre had along and busy career as a recitalist, composer, teacher, writer and editor andhe exerted enormous influence on all aspects of the organist's art in the earlypart of this century. Dupre's place in the evolution of twentieth century organmusic has yet to be fully understood or appreciated and there are those whowould seek to detract from the enormous impact his playing and teaching had oncountless students who studied with him. It cannot be ignored that the list ofhis Premier Prix students at the Paris Conservatoire contains nearlyevery important twentieth-century French organist and composer, includingMarie-Claire Alain, Jean Langlais, Jean Guillou, Jeanne Demessieux, and OlivierMessia?½n. Several of his organ works have become recognised as standardrepertoire for the instrument, and Dupre was unique in that, like Chopin andLiszt in the nineteenth century, he wrote with the innate understanding of thepossibilities of the organ as 'seen' through the hands and feet of a virtuosoperformer. The technical and colouristic innovations present in his organ musicare perhaps comparable to those Chopin and Liszt for the piano who in theirtime, like Dupre, exerted enormous influence as performers, composers, andteachers. If nothing else, the consummate artistry of Dupre the improviser,will certainly assure him of an exalted place in the history of the King ofInstruments.
The Fifteen Versetsoriginated as improvisations, made during the Vesper service for the Feastof the Assumption at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on 15th August, 1919. Duprewas interim organist at Notre-Dame from 1916 until 1923, while Louis Vierne wasin Switzerland undergoing eye treatments. The work was dedicated to ClaudeJohnson, co-founder of Rolls Royce, who was present at that service andcommissioned Dupre to reconstruct the improvisations and bring them into print.
Johnson was later responsible for Dupre's first visit to England in 1920, whereOp. 18 was heard at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The collection isdivided into three books, Books I and II being based upon theoriginal Gregorian chants, while the Magnificat versets of Book III useoriginal themes.
Lamento was composed in 1926 in memory of the son of Mrand Mrs Arthur M. Henderson of Glasgow, Scotland. Henderson had been a pupil ofWidor and a long time friend of Dupre. It is the first in what was to be a longseries of commemorative works written in memory of family and friends. Twothemes are heard, the first a sombre lament played on the oboe stop, the seconda gentle theme of consolation. After a build-up, the second theme reappearsplayed on the vox humana.
The Seventy-NineChorales were conceived as a pedagogical work, intended to prepare the studentfor the study of the chorale preludes of Bach. They are graded in difficulty,and each piece is based upon the same chorale used by Bach.
?ëlevation is Dupre's first published organ work (1912)and is dedicated to Louis Vierne. It is typical of the numerous meditativepieces of that title which where were meant to be played during the most solemnportion of the Mass.
The Triptyque datesfrom 1956-57, and was first performed at the dedicatory recital of the HenryEdsel Ford Auditorium organ in Detroit, Michigan. As the title suggests, thework pays homage to certain antique forms. The Chaconne is a series ofnineteen variations on a four-bar theme first heard in the pedals. The Musettefeatures a folk-like tune heard over a murmuring accompaniment played on a4' flute in the pedals. The Dithyrambe (in the manuscript entitled Humoresque),is a movement of frenzied abandon in which two themes are subjected to spiriteddevelopment.
Descended from afamily of organists and musicians, Marcel Dupre was born in Rouen in 1886.
Taught by his father, he had his first appointment as an organist at the age oftwelve and in 1898 became a pupil of Alexandre Guilmant, his teacher at theParis Conservatoire, with Vierne and Widor, studying composition with the lastand winning the Prix de Rome in 1914. Unfit for military service, hesubstituted for Vierne at Notre-Dame between 1916 and 1922, and found time tostudy all Bach's music for the organ, in 1920 playing in recital the completeorgan works, thus establishing his reputation. An international careerfollowed, with recitals throughout the world. This he coupled with the positionof professor of organ at the Conservatoire from 1926 and employment as Widor'ssuccessor as organist at the Paris church of St Sulpice. He served as directorof the Conservatoire from 1954 to 1956 and died in 1971. Equally gifted as acomposer and as a performer, Dupre was a master of organ improvisation, inparticular on the fine instrument at St Sulpice.