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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDD22059
Recording details: March 1986
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: April 1987
Total duration: 11 minutes 40 seconds

'Stunning … a revelatory performance, reaching into the very heart of a work in which 'there are dark forces at work' … a real treat … the whole presentation is masterly—superb playing and superb engineering' (Gramophone)

'Thrilling music, thrillingly played' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Superb' (International Record Review)

'Here's a spectacular record' (Classic CD)

'If you seek a recording of Dupré's works which does full justice to the music's myriad shades and inflections in an acoustic which leaves you quite simply in awe, look no further. One could almost imagine Dupré himself improvising the magical sounds pervading St Paul's. Need I say more?' (Cathedral Music)

'John Scott’s understanding and deft touch in Dupré make this collection a must-have' (MusicWeb International)

Esquisses, Op 41
second and third items published in 1946 as Nos 1 & 2; original No 1 rediscovered in 1975

No 1: C major  [4'31]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Dupré’s Trois Esquisses, Op 41, were composed in 1945, but only the second and third were published in the following year as ‘Deux Esquisses’. The bound manuscript containing all three was discovered in 1975, in which year the first was published separately. All three were inscribed to Madame Stéphane Bornemann, the wife of Dupré’s publisher. In an introduction to the first Esquisse, Rolande Falcinelli, Dupré’s closest pupil, wrote: ‘Reading, then a closer analysis of the first ‘Sketch’ confirms that the three pieces were conceived as a homogeneous though free group, balancing and complementing each other. Certainly each panel of this triptych has its own entity, yet, since the ‘repeated notes’ sketch (published as No 1) and ‘octaves’ (No 2) are rarely separated, it would be desirable to add to them this ‘sister’, unknown for twenty-seven years … indeed, the tormented and troubled character of the newcomer provides a contrast to the crystalline traceries of what used to be the ‘first’; whilst the colossal breadth of the final piece concludes in the fireworks of its diabolical toccata a true suite of transcendental studies.’

The true first Esquisse unfolds with chromatic unease in a nominal C major, the key in which, eventually, it quietly ends. The registration is for various groupings of foundational stops in the outer andante portions of this tripartite piece, with the tutti storming away in the central agitato section. The true second Esquisse, published as No 1, is a vivace exercise in staccato repeated notes. Here Dupré’s chromatic E minor, informed by conjunct sequences of sixths, fifths and thirds, is enhanced by the delicacy of the specified registration, particularly the combination of Bourdon and Tierce. The true third Esquisse, published as No 2, and marked deciso, is a daunting and relentless octave study in B flat minor for the tutti.

from notes by Felix Aprahamian © 1998

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