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Marcel DUPRÉ

Complete Organ Works Vol.10
Le Chemin de la Croix

Jeremy Filsell (organ)
Guild GMCD 7193 [56.10]

Marcel Dupré (1886-1871) devoted his entire life to the organ, giving 2178 recitals and teaching constantly. His virtuosity and improvising capabilities were legendary. This major work was firstly improvised in 1931 on a basis of 'symbolic motifs' for the fourteen stations. He incorporated some elements of musical symbolisms used by religious composers from Bach & Handel to Franck & Wagner. Responding to encouragement and pressure from those who had been present, he recalled and wrote down the music during the following year. It became an enduring work, which he played annually every Lent at St. Sulpice in Paris.

It takes its place amongst major works of 'religious programme music' between Maleingreau's Passion Symphony (1920), Tournemire's Chorales-poemes pour les Sept paroles du Christ and those many of his pupil, Messiaen. Le Chemin de la Croix was recorded by Dupré himself in 1958 (Westminster Records) and Jeremy Filsell quotes extensively from Dupré's own sleeve notes.

It is impressive music by a composer surprisingly little known outside organ circles (though there are many works for other media prior to the mid-1920s) and I think this series may surprise and please some CD collectors who may have no organ CDs, or else none other than of Bach.

Filsell has steeped himself in this music for many years and is an entirely committed and reliable guide. He played the entire oeuvre in nine recitals in London in summer 1998 and afterwards toured with them to several countries and made this recording that September on a 1979/1997 organ at Sarasota in Florida. The recorded sound is splendid and the booklet fully documented.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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