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Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971)
Works for Organ, Volume 13

George Baker (organ)
Organ by: Aeolian-Skinner/ Schudi/ J-F Dupont pipe organ, 2000
Recorded at the Perkins Chapel, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA on 23rd November 2001 DDD

1. Zephyrs [5.26]
Improvisation on a theme by Leopold Stokowski, reconstructed by Rollin Smith
Six Antiennes pour les temps de Noël, Op.48 (1952) [14.31]
2. I Ecce Dominus veniet [2.56]
3. II Omnipotens sermo tuus [3.03]
4. III Tecum principium, in die virtutis tuae [2.31]
5. IV Germinavit radix Jesse [1.38]
6. V Stella ista [1.53]
7. VI Lumen ad revelationem [2.30]
Seventy-Nine Chorales, Op.28 (1931) [5.56]
8. No.21 Through Adam’s fall is the world defiled [1.12]
9. No.22 A mighty fortress is our God [0.48]
10. No.23 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, my God [1.09]
11. No.36 In Thee, O God, have I put my trust [0.56]
12. No.37 Unto Thee I cry, O lord Jesus [1.51]
13. Vision, Op.44 (Poème symphonique) ‘…Et la lumière luit dans les ténèbres.’ (1948) [17.00]
Seventy-Nine Chorales, Op.28 (1931) [6.02]
14. No.38 In Thee, lord, have I hoped [1.01]
15. No.39 In Thee, Lord, have I hoped [1.11]
16. No.40 In Thee is joy [0.55]
17. No.41 In quiet joy [1.47]
18. No.66 Farewell [1.08]
Deuxième Symphonie, Op.26 (1929) [18.34]
19. I Preludio: Allegro agitato [7.46]
20. II Intermezzo: Très modéré [4.16]
21. III Toccata : Très animé [6.32]

Marcel Dupré, a gifted pupil of Guilmant, Vierne and Widor, was their successor. His contribution to the tradition of the French organ music and improvisation is remarkable. Between 1916 and 1922 he substituted for Vierne at Notre-Dame and by 1920 he was giving recital series featuring the complete Bach works for organ. These helped establish his career. In 1926 he was appointed professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire and Widor’s successor at St Supplice. Gifted as a composer and also as a performer with extreme dexterity and artistry, he was a master of organ improvisation.

Zephyrs is ‘a reconstruction by the American organist and writer Rollin Smith of an improvisation by Dupré on a theme by Leopold Stokowski, taken from a recording’. The Six Antiennes pour les temps de Noël, Op.48, take as their basis the plainsongs of the Christmas antiphons. The first is for Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent; the second is for the fourth Sunday of Advent, whereas the third is an antiphon for the Second Vespers on Christmas Day. The fourth is an antiphon for the Second Vespers on the Feast of the Circumcision. Stella ista is for the Second Vespers on the feast of the Epiphany and the Lumen ad uses the Second Vespers’ antiphon for the purification. The mood of this piece varies according to the plainsongs, from meditative to a vivid glorification of God.

The Seventy-Nine Chorales, op. 28, were intended to serve ‘as an introduction to Bach’s chorale preludes, offering relatively simple versions of the same chorale melodies, later to be tackled in their elaborate form’. The Vision is a symphonic poem and its title ‘And the light shines in the darkness’ gives the general mood of the piece. The music is unfolded slowly inside the dark colors of the organ to reach a dynamic climax in the toccata-like Vivo. It ends in a glorious and shining Largamente. The Symphonie No.2 contains three parts, the Preludio, the Intermezzo and the Toccata.

This CD is part of the Naxos Organ Encyclopedia. The booklet offers a good amount of information, including the full registration of the Aeolian-Skinner/Schudi/J-F Dupont organ. The organ is appropriate for this kind of music and all its colours are well-captured on this CD.

Baker seems very familiar with this music and the playing has clarity and precision, essential for the music, as well as smooth musical lines. At the technically demanding Vision, Op.44 he shows his dexterity by producing a very clean and superbly rhythmic Tutti. There are many moments of great pleasure and it is certainly a CD that offers a high musical standard at a great price.


Christina Antoniadou

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