The installation of two organs at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception provided an opportunity for Maurice Duruflé and his wife, Marie-Madeleine Duruflé-Chevalier, to present a joint recital. The works range from the Baroque to the twentieth century and display the organs' versatility in various styles. Duruflé opens his performance with Buxtehude's buoyant Fugue in C, and follows it with a subdued rendition of Bach's chorale prelude on "Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf." Duruflé's arrangement of Handel's organ concerto in A is the centerpiece of the concert, using both the Great and the Chancel organs. Separated by a distance of 300 feet, the Duruflés coordinate their playing through headphones and successfully circumvent the time lag between instruments. Schumann's whimsical Canon concludes their portion of the program. In Tournemire's Chorale Improvisation on "Victimae Paschali," Duruflé's wife used a registration featuring the Pontifical Trumpet, a penetrating reed sound that is perhaps too strong, despite the piece's post-romantic excess. She also performs Duruflé's Prelude and Fugue on the name A.L.A.I.N., a tour de force in tribute to the couple's friend Jehan Alain. Recorded in 1967, the sound is at floor level and the basilica's resonant acoustic is fully captured.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein No. 19), BWV 617 (BC 46)
|Organ Concerto in A major, Op.7/2, HWV 307|