Dupré’s international fame developed soon after the First World War. It was the direct result of his skill as an improviser, specifically on plainsong themes. The 15 Versets pour les Vêpres du Commun des Fêtes de la Sainte Vierge
, first played by Dupré at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1920 and published that year in London, initiated a form of composition based on plainsong to which Dupré reverted in the course of his composing career before, during, and after the Second World War. In 1943, he completed Le tombeau de Titelouze, 16 Chorals sur des Hymnes liturgiques
, Op 38, from which two pieces are included here. During an Organ Week held in Rouen in 1942, the Abbé Robert Delestre, Maître de Chapelle of Rouen Cathedral showed Dupré the unmarked grave of Jean Titelouze, the founding father of French organ music. It immediately inspired Dupré to compose this Tombeau
which he inscribed to the Abbé. Placare Christe servulis
, the last piece in the collection, treats the hymn melody in the form of a toccata (D major, 12/8) for All Saints Day. Te lucis ante terminum
, the fifth piece of the collection, is for the Office of Compline. A four-part piece, for two manuals and pedals, with the hymn melody in the treble, it unfolds in a modal C sharp minor and common-time.
from notes by Felix Aprahamian © 1998