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Marcel DUPRÉ
Complete Organ Works Vol.11

Vespers Op.18; Regina Coeli Op. 64; Chorale & Fugue Op. 57.
Jeremy Filsell (organ)
Guild GMCD 7198 [55 mins]

With this CD, Jeremy Filsell reaches the penultimate stage of his vast task, the complete recording of Marcel Dupré's compositions for organ solo. This volume is devoted to liturgical works and, as with so much of his output, they arise from improvisations which he was encouraged afterwards to try to commit to paper.

The Vesper service gave ample opportunity for creative imagination and the major work in this programme came about in 1919 through the extraordinary chance that Claude Johnson, English director of Rolls-Royce heard Dupré play for the Vesper service at Notre Dame and commissioned him to write down his improvisations afterwards, as best as he could remember them, for the princely sum of 1500 francs. He was so satisfied with the result that he arranged the young organist's Royal Albert Hall debut, with a choir of 600 voices singing the brief versets. This pattern is reproduced here, but with only four voices for the plainchant! Although those tracks can easily be programmed in or out (coded black & white alternately with the organ pieces), they are intended to be heard as given, because the pieces are derived from phrases in the particular chants.

The other works too are based on Gregorian Chant and presented with the plainsong which inspired them. The music is all tonal, often highly chromatic, and carefully worked out - his teacher father tolerated no self-indulgent rambling, and his famous son's pieces are all strongly constructed.

The recording in Florida is excellent and the notes are full. Volume 10, Le Chemin de la Croix Op.29, Guild GMCD 7193, was reviewed on MotW in October 2000, and provides further background information.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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