Durufle's Op. 5 for Monday, January 24, 2022


On today’s date in 1935, at the Church of Saint François-Xavier in Paris, organist Geneviève de la Salle gave the first complete performance of the three-movement Suite, Op. 5, by the French composer, teacher, and virtuoso organist Maurice Duruflé.

If you sing in a choir or are a fan of choral music, you’re probably familiar with Duruflé’s serene and tranquil “Requiem,” Op. 9, which premiered some 12 years later.

Duruflé’s Op. 5 premiered in 1935, his Op. 9 in 1947, so you might reasonably conclude the composer was a slow worker – which he was.  He was also a very self-critical perfectionist whose catalog of works is rather small, but exquisitely crafted.  In all, Duruflé’s output comprises less than 15 published works, of which seven are for organ.

Duruflé’s music is firmly embedded in the French tradition of organ composers like César Franck and Louis Vierne, and orchestral composers like Debussy, Ravel, and Duruflé’s own composition teacher, Paul Dukas.  The great French organist Marie-Claire Alain, when asked to describe Duruflé’s music, replied "it is a perfectly honest art… He was not an innovator but a traditionalist… Duruflé evolved and amplified the old traditions, making them his own." 

Music Played in Today's Program

Maurice Durufle (1902-1986) — Organ Suite, Op. 5 (Todd Wilson, o (Schudi organ at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Dallas, Texas)) Delos 3047

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