Hyperion Records

Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du 'Veni Creator', Op 4
published in 1931

'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 13' (CDA67734)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 13
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67734 
'Duruflé: The Complete Organ Music' (CDH55475)
Duruflé: The Complete Organ Music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55475  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Prélude
Track 8 on CDH55475 [6'31] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Adagio
Track 9 on CDH55475 [7'37] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Choral varié
Track 10 on CDH55475 [7'54] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3a: Choral varié: Theme. Allegro religioso
Movement 3b: Choral varié: Variation 1. Poco meno mosso
Movement 3c: Choral varié: Variation 2. Allegretto
Movement 3d: Choral varié: Variation 3. Andante espressivo
Movement 3e: Choral varié: Variation 4 'Final'. Allegro

Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du 'Veni Creator', Op 4
The Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du «Veni Creator», Op 4, the first of the three major organ works, opens with the flute stops spinning a fine web of sound based on the opening phrase of the plainsong melody. A reed stop in the pedals announces a contorted version of the second phrase of the plainsong theme. The triplet figure returns on the flute stops before the third phrase of the plainsong is adapted. The reed stop returns before the fluttering opening triplet figure brings the Prélude to a close. A short section marked ‘Lento, quasi recitative’ leads into the Adagio proper which starts in G minor and moves unpredictably to G major before plunging into the key of B flat minor where a darker mood gradually assumes more prominence. This passage may well be Duruflé’s finest for the organ: the music becomes increasingly chromatic and the transition from the opening Adagio to the climax is achieved in the most seamless manner. Finally the Choral which has only been seen through a glass darkly, as it were, is presented in full by the organ, and followed by the four variations.

The first variation is written in four parts. The theme appears in the pedals whilst the right hand plays an elaboration of the theme. The second variation is for manuals only, whilst the third variation is a canon at the interval of the fourth. The final variation is a brilliant toccata, introducing the theme in canon between right hand and pedals. The music winds up to a glorious climax; Duruflé saves his master-stroke for the coda marked ‘tempo poco più vivo’ when he presents the plainsong ‘Amen’ (only hinted at in the organ music until that point) in the pedals on full organ.

from notes by William McVicker © 1990

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