Notes and Editorial Reviews
The performance of Duruflé's transcription for 2 organs of Handel's 8th Organ Concerto is a tour de force. Mere words become woefully irrelevant.
Originally recorded in 1967 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, this release projects, among other virtues, a tangible sense of occasion. The shrine's two organs had been installed and dedicated in 1965, but the Duruflés' recital of two years later was the first to utilize both instruments simultaneously, in Marcel Duruflé's transcription for two organs of the eighth of Handel's 16 concertos for organ and orchestra. That was, by the evidence on this release, a performance tour de force. The two
instruments (the great and the chancel organ) are separated by a distance of some 300 feet, a virtual city block. The Duruflés overcame that vast and vastly disorienting sonic space by resorting to the sounds transmitted via telephone headsets rather than those of the acoustic surround. The result is a breathtaking synchronici-ty of attack and release, not merely of purely technical precision, but of musical affect as well.
Clarity and precision, not merely that of getting the right fingers to the right keys and pedals in a timely fashion, but of going, straightaway, to the heart of the musical discourse at hand, inform each track on this release. The little Schumann Canon in B Minor projects a playfulness that underscores its inherent irony. The Tournemire piece (a vast improvisation by that composer subsequently reconstituted by her husband) becomes, appropriately, César Franck on speed. Mme. Duruflé's clear-eyed realization of its every Easter-chant-derived iota converts it into a grippingly human drama, at once horrifying and consoling.
Of the incense-tinged Prelude and Fugue of Marcel Duruflé, I will say nothing. Mere words become woefully irrelevant.
If you've been lulled to sleep by my verbosity, wake up and get this one before it becomes, as is so much of the best that music has to offer, unavailable.
-- William Zagorski, FANFARE [1/2000]
Works on This Recording
Prelude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain, Op. 7 by Maurice Duruflé
Marie-Madeleine Duruflé (Organ)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1942; France
Date of Recording: 1967
Venue: Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, DC
Fugue in C major, BuxWV 174
Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf, BWV 1092
Organ Concerto No. 8 in A major, Op. 7, No. 2, HWV 307 (arr. for 2 organs): I. Ouverture
Organ Concerto No. 8 in A major, Op. 7, No. 2, HWV 307 (arr. for 2 organs): II. Adagio
Organ Concerto No. 8 in A major, Op. 7, No. 2, HWV 307 (arr. for 2 organs): III. Allegro
Studien fur den Pedal-Flugel (Studies for Pedal Piano), Op. 56 (arr. for organ): Studien fur den Pedal-Flugel (Studies for Pedal Piano), Op. 56: No. 5 in B minor: Nicht zu schnell (arr. for organ)
5 Improvisations: No. 5. Choral Improvisation sur le Victimae Paschali
Prelude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain, Op. 7
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