About this Recording
8.553197 - DURUFLE: Messe Cum Jubilo / Organ Suite, Op. 5
English 

Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986)

Messe Cum jubilo, Op. 11, for baritone solo, baritone choir, orchestra and organ (dedicated to Marie-Madeleine Duruflé)

Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le Veni Creator, Op. 4
for organ and baritone choir (dedicated to Louis Vierne)

Suite for Organ, Op. 5 (dedicated to Paul Dukas)

Born at Louviers on 11th March 1902, Maurice Duruflé began his musical studies in Rouen. A chorister at the cathedral from 1912 to 1918, he studied at the same time the piano, organ and theory, under the direction of Jules Haelling, cathedral organist and former pupil of Alexandre Guilmant (1837- 1911). Encouraged by his teacher, the young musician went to Paris in 1919 to complete his education. There he studied the organ, at first under Charles Tournemire, whose assistant he was at Sainte-Clotilde, then under Louis Vierne, thus benefiting from the teaching of two leading exponents of French organ music. A year after arriving in Paris, he entered the Conservatoire and studied the organ there under Eugène Gigout, while receiving instruction in harmony from Jean Gallon, in counterpoint and fugue from Georges Caussade and in composition from Paul Dukas. Evidence of his exceptional ability as an organist is seen in the award of premier accessit in 1921 and first prize in 1922.

In 1929, after the competition organized by the Friends of the Organ, Maurice Duruflé was awarded a prize for interpretation and improvisation and the following year, in the same competition, he won the composition prize for his Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié du Veni Creator, Opus 4. It was at this time that he also became organist at the church of Saint-Etienne-du- Mont, a position he shared after 1953 with his wife Marie-Madeleine Duruflé- Chevalier. In 1943 he suceeded R Pech at the Paris Conservatoire and taught harmony there until 1969.

Maurice Duruflé had quickly made a name for himself as a virtubso organist and it was no accident that Francis Poulenc consulted him before writing his Organ Concerto, of which Duruflé gave the first performance in June 1939 at the Salle Gaveau. He was widely recognised beyond the frontiers of France and undertook many recital tours throughout Europe, in the Soviet Union and North America. Warmly welcomed at his first appearance in the United States in 1964, he returned thereafter every year until a car accident in May 1975 put an end to his career as a performer. He died on 11th June 1986.

In composition Maurice Duruflé can be compared with his teacher Paul Dukas. In common with the latter, he gave evidence always of great perfectionism and left a body of work characterized as much by its relatively small quantity as by its deep aesthetic demands.

With the Requiem, Opus 9, the Mass' Cum jubilo, Opus 11 is another important work in the sacred music of Duruflé. This magnificent score, however, is relatively unknown. It has a number of important features, not least its originality. A baritone, a choir of baritones, orchestra and organ are called for, although there is also a version that entrusts the accompaniment to the organ only. As in the Requiem or the Four Motets, Opus 10, Duruflé's interest in plainchant is expressed in the Mass, based on a hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin. The musicologist Norbert Dufourcq has aptly described the composer's procedure: "Duruflé uses two ways of enhancing the Gregorian text, either entrusting it to the baritone choir, while the orchestra is limited to the enrichment of a modal background, or the orchestra is prominent with the plainchant, the voices developing the material on the basis of the chant. All this is expressed in a harmonic language unequalled in its modal flavour".

Conciseness is the key-word in the five episodes that make up the work. The Kyrie presents at the outset a form of writing remarkable for its simplicity and the suppleness of its melodic design. The Gloria, music of an ardour unusual in Duruflé, starts with brilliance, but also has more tranquil moments, such as the setting of the words Domine Fili unigenite, sung by a solo baritone. The Sanctus, which follows, is on an ostinato bass, leads to a climax at the concluding Hosanna in excelsis. The solo baritone returns in the Benedictus, where the economy of writing reinforces the emotion stemming from the chant. The Mass ends with the Agnus Dei, the delicate shading of which brings a mood of faith and peace.

Completed in 1930, the Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du Veni Creator, Opus 4, as already stated, won Duruflé a first prize in composition in the competition organized by the Friends of the Organ. This large-scale triptych is an affectionate tribute to his teacher Louis Vierne, the period of his Suite, Opus 5. Marked Allegro, ma non troppo and in duple time, the Prélude starts pianissimo and offers at the beginning writing in triplets that characterizes the whole movement. It ends with a passage marked Più lento, notated in notes of long value. A short Lento, quasi recitativo serves as a link with the Adagio in 3/4, marked dolcissimo e sostenuto, with frequent directions, such as espressivo, con calore or con molto espressione. In the last bars of this movement the mood grows more animated and the dynamics vary between forte and triple forte until the rallentando molto ritenuto of the last two bars. It may be noted that in the first movements of Opus 4 the theme of the Veni creator only appears in part. The Choral varié is linked to the Adagio. The Gregorian theme is strongly stated in an Andante religioso in 4/4, furnishing material for four variations. Marked Poco meno lento, the first is characterized by its triplets. The pedals are not used in the second variation, an Allegretto in 4/4, with triplets and quavers superimposed. The third variation, an Andante espressivo is a canon at the fifth. The work ends with the appearance of a toccata in the brilliant fourth variation, an Allegro, reaching a climax in the last fourteen bars, marked Largamente and triple forte.

Another great example of French organ music of the twentieth century, the Suite, Opus 5 was completed in 1933 and dedicated to Paul Dukas. It is in three movements, starting with a Prélude, marked Lento, which, after beginning with longer notes grows more animated with its semiquavers and demisemiquavers. There are a number of changes of time signature (4/4, 5/4, 2/4, 3/4, 9/4) in this first movement. A flowing Sicilienne follows, an Allegro moderato in 6/8. The final Toccata, with its virtuoso demands, reminds of the ability of Duruflé as a performer. This last movement, Allegro ma non troppo in 12/8, continues its semiquaver activity to a brilliant conclusion.

Alain Cochard
(English version by Keith Anderson)

Eric Lebrun
The organist Eric Lebrun was one of the last pupils of Gaston Litaize. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris under Michel Chapuis and completed his studies in organ and other branches of music with five first prizes. In 1990 he was honoured as Laureate in the Chartres International Organ Competition and was in the same year appointed organist at the church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts in Paris, with its Cavaillé-Coll organ. He enjoys an international concert career and has worked extensively with Michel Piquemal.

Béatrice Uria Monzon
Trained at the Ecole d' Art Lyrique of the Paris Opéra, Béatrice Uria Monzon made her operatic début in Lyon and at the Aix Festival. After her great success as Carmen at the Paris Opéra under Myung Whun Chung in 1994, she recorded the same rôle with the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux under the direction of Alain Lombard. In 1995 she sang Marguerite in The Damnation of Faust at the Paris Opéra and in Lisbon. Béatrice Uria Monzon also has a concert repertoire of French and Spanish songs and appears regularly in oratorio, notably under Michel Piquemal.

Didier Henry
Didier Henry studied at the Coneravtoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and also with Cathy Berberian, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried and Camille Maurane. In 1987 he sang the rôle of Pelléas in Debussy's opera in Moscow under Manuel Rosenthal and in 1990 recorded the same rôle for Decca with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, under Charles Dutoit, a recording that won important awards in Germany and in the United States of America. Didier Henry has a busy national and international career. He has recorded for Marco Polo Le miracle de Saint-Nicolas of Guy Ropartz, under the direction of Michel Piquemal.

Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal
Michel Piquemal established his vocal ensemble in 1978, an adaptable group that could perform unaccompanied, or with piano, organ or orchestra, available for a wide repertoire of choral music. The Ensemble has appeared with the most distinguished orchestras and conductors and in concerts and festivals as far afield as Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Indonesia, Singapore and Canada. Recordings have included performances under Michel Piquemal of music by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schubert and Rossini, as well as of the Magnificat of Jean Louis Florentz with the Ensemble Orchestral of Paris under the direction of Armin Jordan. The Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal is supported by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Francophonie and receives a subsidy from the city administration of Paris.

Orchestre de la Cité
The Orchestre de la Cité is associated with the work of the Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal and of the Choeur Régional Vittoria d’lle-de-France. The players are principally drawn from gifted young professionals trained at the national Conservatoires of Paris and Lyon.

Michel Piquemal
Born in Ariège, Michel Piquemal was a pupil of Pierre Bernac and, at the Salzburg Mozarteum, of Suzanne Anders and Paul von Schilawsky. From 1968 to 1973 he was an assistant to Jacques Jouineau with the choir of Radio France and established the Choeur Vittoria d'Argenteuil, which won a reputation under his direction for its performances of oratorio. In 1978 he set up the Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal. In 1985 he was appointed teacher of choral singing at the Paris Conservatoire and in 1987 accepted the position of conductor of the Choeur Régional Vittoria d’lle-de-France and of the Choeur Régional Provence Alpes Côtes-d'Azur. Michel Piquemal has conducted oratorios with a number of well known orchestras and his recordings include a wide repertoire both as a singer and as a conductor.

Cover picture: Dernière souffrance by Francis Montanier
(Photo by Michel Piquemal)
Production: Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal
Artistic direction: Michel Piquemal, Christine Lajarrige, Yves Rousseau
Editing: Laurent Pélissier
Organ Tuning: Yves Fossaert
Registration Assistants: Claude Boischot, Jean Frohlich, Emmanuel Hocdé

The Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ of the Church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts in Paris
When the building of the Church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts that had started in 1903 was coming to an end, thought was given to the donation of an organ. A parishioner, Count Christian de Berthier de Sauvigny, bought, or received as a gift, the organ from the private concert rooms of Baron de l'Espée on the Champs-Elysées and offered it to the parish.

In 1894 the Baron, a very rich man and a music-lover, wanted to play at home the music of his idol, Richard Wagner. He had an auditorium built and commissioned an organ with 2800 pipes from the famous organ-builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. He did not stop there, but ordered from Cavaillé- Coll an enormous organ for his château at Biarritz. This instrument is none other than the organ now in the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre. In the catalogue of instruments built by Cavaillé-Coll there is also listed an organ for Baron de l'Espée for the Island of Oléron and another for his property at Belle Ile, with even a fifth instrument.

The Merklin company moved the organ and installed it in the church in 1909, without making any major change. The instrument had 44 stops (23 of them expressifs, corresponding to the positif and récit manuals), with three manuals and a pedal-board. The casing was built by Merklin and the organ now has 47 stops.


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