Here is presented the heart of the small, carefully wrought oeuvre of a French composer whose name became a byword for compositional fastidiousness no less than that of his compatriots Ravel and Dutilleux. Of course these latter two wrote no sacred music whereas Maurice Duruflé was a cradle and devout Catholic, who regarded his art as at the service of the Church and composed almost no secular music beyond a set of three orchestral dances of refined instrumental colour and rhythmic sophistication. Indeed, it was Duruflé's talents as an orchestrator that have led some to prefer the full-orchestra version of his most famous work, the Requiem, over the original version for choir and organ alone which has more obvious liturgical possibilities. Here, however, we have the opportunity to hear another version: the reduced orchestra and organ one, which is said to have been the composer’s preferred rendition of the work and which undoubtedly forms one of the highlights of this release, recordings of it being far and few between. The Requiem is followed by a selection of pieces that make up the rest of the composer’s oeuvre for choir and organ – these include the four beautiful unaccompanied motets, works for which plainchant was again a source of inspiration.
The organist is Adriano Falcioni, who has already made a pair of fine albums for Brilliant Classics including the complete organ works of César Franck. Here he tackles the fearsome intricacy of Duruflé's prelude and fugue, written in memory of his prodigiously gifted but tragically short-lived contemporary Jehan Alain, and the hardly less challenging brilliance of the Op.5 Suite with its characteristically French final Toccata.
- Detailed booklet notes.
- Sung texts and translations.
- Organ specification included.