Duruflé organ music

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Inigo
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Duruflé organ music

Post by Inigo »

Lurking for organ music in YT I've just discovered the music of Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986), and I'm in love again....the discovery has been through the renditions of a female organist, Kristina Novello-Kosima, of Russian birth, who is settled in Switzerland these latest years.
A complex music, but very beautiful and thrilling, which seems to be set in the French romantic school, similar to César Franck and others of this style. One has to listen to it several times, as at first it chokes with its complex changing harmonies and its extreme beauty, but after repeated listening starts to deploy its misteries and intrincated structure,marvelous. It's easy to repeat, for this music is, for certain souls as mine, strongly engaging. I compare it to what happens with Rachmaninoff music.
This piece is easier, if one can define this music as this : prelude sur le nom d'Alain, op7
https://youtu.be/vHSD-PQk7TE

And this is more surprising and brave, very very intense : toccata from suite no5
https://youtu.be/VpTPcnmEiKg

Searching on yt is interesting, as you'll find other versions, even a recording by duruflé himself playing the prelude
https://youtu.be/LvZ4DbXyu6k

Interesting to listen to several versions, as each performer seems to accentuate different faces of this complex and beautiful music. But the versions of kristina are very beautiful. She seems particularly suited for this music.

Have anyone known if there are 78s recorded by duruflé? These two pieces were composed in 1932 and 1947...
Inigo

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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Orchorsol »

Inigo, we have a wonderful affinity here!

I tend not to have favourites (too limiting, and so often impossible to compare dissimilar things) but I am very clear that my favourite composer is absolutely, emphatically Duruflé - despite him having written so little music due to his fiercely self-critical nature. So intensely subtle and deep, as you say. He is often mistaken for an impressionist, as that is the effect of the music, but technically he was extremely rigorous and methodical - yet his music is so richly emotional that it frequently brings me to tears, despite knowing it so well. And he can portray opposing extremes of emotion in just a single phrase, which continues to amaze me.

I will look forward eagerly to listening to the links you posted, many thanks indeed! These are my favourite performances online to date:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or147RQSBOM (despite being played on a virtual instrument)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnYZQb1oy-0 (despite noise - and the second and third parts following in separate videos)

Have you heard the new CD by Thomas Trotter? It has become my favourite complete works, to my surprise. Previously that was Jonathan Scott, closely followed by Todd Wilson.

He did record one or two 78s as an accompanist, and I believe they were not of his music. They must be vanishingly rare.
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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Inigo »

Ha! Not rare among people who love those old rare heavy and fragile records and the complex machines needed to play them! :D
In yt the is a performance recorded of duruflé playing his suite, except the marvelous toccata, which he hated, even forbade his wife (also organist) to play it... https://youtu.be/LK7dfNryIUI
Last edited by Inigo on Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Orchorsol »

Yes, thank you Inigo! You will not be surprised to hear that I have the LP... Indeed, only rarely would Durufle even teach his students in interpreting his Toccata.

I'm learning one of his tiny pieces now, the Chant Donné (en hommage à Jean Gallon). I'd love to play his major works, but they are beyond my ability!
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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Inigo »

I also have favorites, but I like many types of music. Among classicals, though, I had three --now four-- musicians whose works impact me very deeply, at the point of living a rare experience each time I listen one of their works, remaining in mind as an obsession for several days after... Those are Tchaikovsky, Franck, Rachmaninoff, and now Duruflé. Duruflé is new to me, and somewhat diluted into another greater thing that also impacts me, which is organ music. And this, since I was a little boy. Through my love for organ music I discovered Franck, Guilmant, Widor... Of course Bach, I forgot to mention, take it for granted, he's the father of organ music and the master of our musical frame. But I would say that anything 'organic' tends to impact me. Also the interpreters. One of my very first 78s was Bach's Sonata in Eb major BWV 525 in a French recording by Germani, pressed with that rate Vatican label SEMS. One of my preferred 78s. It sounds magical... But then I discovered Franck's Chorales, and this is rare, for the no3 sounded familiar to me. When young I heard it probably in any church, or an organ concert, so it was that at 25 or so I indeed re-discovered it, as until then I didn't know this was Franck's. Later I bought another 78 by Dupre playing Prelude Fugue et Variation, also marvelous. And much later Boellmann's Toccata C-minor from opus 25, on a German polydor played by Sittard, very energetic and marvelous. I buy every organ 78 I find!
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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by drh »

Don't forget Buxtehude; I love his organ music, too. As to Durufle, you may want to watch out for an LP, Anthologie Sonore AS-34, on which the man plays organ, not his own music but the following (copied from my computer catalogue):

Mozart: Benedicite Angeli, K. 342. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Graduale Ad Festum B. Mariae Virginis: Sancta Maria Mater Dei, K. 273. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Jubilate, K. 117. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Lacrymosa, K.Anh. 21. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Offertorium de B.V. Maria: Alma Dei Creatoris, K. 277. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Offertorium de Tempore: Misericordias Domini, K. 222. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP
Mozart: Regina Coeli Laetare, K. 276. Soloists, Chorus, and Or. of L'Anthologie Sonore/Raugel; Durufle, organ. L'Anthologie Sonore AS-34, 12" mono LP

As an aside, although I have better than 100 l'Anthologie Sonore 78s (the first 10 volumes plus a couple of others), that is the sole l'Anthologie Sonore *LP* I've ever seen.

As to organists, I'm quite fond of Michel Chapuis, who did a "complete" Bach cycle and Buxtehude cycle. Those were originally on LP but have been reissued on CD; the Buxtehude, as far as I know, was only on Auvidis Valois, but the Bach got a reissue not only on that label but also on some budget label or other at a very low price. Unfortunately, the latter is now out of print, as far as I know.

But to put things more into our usual line of discussion, last year I latched onto a 78 RPM set on the US Brunswick label with two big organ works. Again cribbing from my catalogue (lazy me!):

Handel: Organ Concerto in F, op. 4 no. 4. Walter Fischer; or. ss. 7-10 of Bruns Album VI, 5 12". F FSC 5/18/2020
Rheinberger: Organ Concerto in G, op. 177. Walter Fischer; or. ss. 1-6 of Bruns Album VI, 5 12". FSC 5/18/2020

The set is in its original gold album but unfortunately lacks its notes booklet. Also unfortunately, it's heavily worn and has challenging rim warps, although it is playable with effort and sounds better than it looks. Fischer is described as "of the Berlin Cathedral." Info about the recording from the Web:

A blog at https://ihorc.blogspot.com/2009/04/sele ... -with.html mentions the set, expresses frustration about the paucity of information to be had regarding Fischer, and describes him as "one of the leading figures of the late German Romantic school"; in response to a plea for more, a reader sent the following:

Some information about Walter Fischer (1872-1931) is to be found in:
Max Reger Briefe zwischen der Arbeit 1956.
Reger wrote letters to Fischer during the years 1902-1914.
Fischer was an admirer of Reger and played each Thursday a concert, almost always with a piece of Reger.
He was organist in Berlin:
1903-1910 Garnisonskirche
1910-1917 Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
1917-1931 Berliner Dom

...and another reader, whose name I recognize as being a well-respected source of information about early records (he goes by "Jolyon" online), adds:

The date that Walter Fischer recorded the Reinberger concerto would be autumn 1926 - I cannot really be any more accurate than this as the recording ledgers of Deutsche Grammophon/ Polydor are no longer extant for this period; it may be the Berlin Philharmonic or at least members of that orchestra that accompanied him, the conductor Bruno Seidler-Winkler the most likely candidate.

Reger wrote boatloads of organ music, and it's on my "need to explore" list. I intend to look to this old article for guidance; our local organophiles may find it interesting as well: https://www.jstor.org/stable/738163?seq ... b_contents

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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Orchorsol »

Wonderful information, thanks drh! (And I'm glad someone else has chimed in - organ is not everyone's cup of tea :coffee: )

I have quite a lot of organ 78s. Some of my most prized ones are three of Charles Tournemire's famous improvisations recorded in 1930 (he was Duruflé's teacher, and Duruflé transcribed and published them many years later), and several of Louis Vierne playing at Notre Dame (where Duruflé was his assistant as well as his other duties).

Inigo, if you're ever visiting the UK via the Channel Tunnel or ferry crossings to Dover, you'll be welcome to my many spare copies of organ 78s, if I still have them by then. For example, I think I may have all the Schweitzer Bach album sets, as well as my own copies.
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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by drh »

You're most welcome--I hope you'll enjoy the linked article. Not by any stretch of the imagination on the same order of quality as Tournemire or Durufle or Widor, let alone Bach or Buxtehude (OK, I'll confess, I love baroque era organ but am less enthusiastic about Romantic), but Edison released a fair number of diamond discs featuring a Midmer-Mosh pipe organ. As I'm remembering things, somebody in the Edison establishment had the bright idea that a lucrative market niche was there for the taking and convinced TAE that for the cost of producing a few run-of-the-mill fox trot records the company could install an organ in the studios and cash in on it. Which the company proceeded to do, making quite a nice, tidy sum off the initiative. I have one of these records--as I recall things, a transcription of the Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-Sharp Minor is on one side, I forget the other--and it is not anything to write home about, but as an acoustic recording of a pipe organ an interesting artifact, nonetheless.

Later Victor would mine the same seam of commercial gold with its series of Jesse Crawford records.

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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by Inigo »

Thanks both for the info and interesting links.
Of Bach I bought 30 years ago a cd set with the complete organ works by Marie Claire Alain, a nice NAXOS or ERATO set.
Lately I found a Musicraft Masterpieces set of short Bach organ chorals by Percy Wenrich, played on the Princeton organ... What a sound! It's dry recorded, but when played on the reentrant, it bumps your stomach with the bass! Pity it's only a five 10" record set, and some works are split on two sides.
Buxtehude... I believe Kristina, in her few videos on yt plays something of him, aand also a well known Vierne piece, and some Brahms too.
Except for Bach, I don't like baroque very much, I prefer the romantic style and French school.
Btw, in yt there's a video of one of those Tournemire improvisations arranged by duruflé. I don't know now the organist who plays, but the video is one of those which follows the sheet music. The toccata and prelude of duruflé are also in this form, and it's interesting to follow the music while you listen...
Inigo

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Re: Duruflé organ music

Post by drh »

drh wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:28 pm ...(OK, I'll confess, I love baroque era organ but am less enthusiastic about Romantic), ....
Inigo wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:06 pm ...
Except for Bach, I don't like baroque very much, I prefer the romantic style and French school.
...
Gee, our tastes match perfectly! Er, um....

You and I would make good record hunting buddies--what you would dearly want, I wouldn't, and vice-versa. :)

As an aside, one of the things that annoy me about our local public radio affiliate is that it clearly has an undeclared programming policy, the pipe organ may be heard only in the Saint-Saens 3d Symphony. Otherwise, it's categorically forbidden. Worse even than the harpsichord, which does get the occasional outing as a continuo or chamber music instrument (but never, ever solo). Oh, well, to make up for it the station plays lots and lots of mediocre flute music. Tweetle-dy tweetle-dy tweetle-dy tweetle-dy tweet! :roll:

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