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Durufle P & F


octave_dolce
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What are your preferred tempi for the prelude and the fugue?

Do you find minum = 72 too fast for the last section of the prelude?

 

Also: How do you achieve perfect eveness without sounding mechanical when the semiquavers appear for the first time in the fugue?

Durufle was meticulous in marking his scores so I've always played his music as close as I can to his markings (articulation & tempo especially in the opening of the Toccata).

 

The French have a mannerism of 'leaning' on the first note of a phrase or group - this gives the phrases some shape.

 

There's a Erato 'twofer' that has all Durufle's own recordings on it (Requiem, Mass & Trois Danses as well)- well worth a listen!!

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That explains why I posted my question.

I won't answer specifically to the P&F but, more generally, mention that metronome marks normally function as a guide rather than an absolute; the wide range of natural reverberation times in buildings that contain organs making this particularly true for organ music. If, on the other hand, a particular metronome mark seems perverse then it is reasonable to find out if the mark is the composer's and if there is a particular reason for it, or whether it can be ignored with impunity. The spirit of the composer's markings is the most important thing.

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I am no Durufle expert, and agree that this most meticulous of composers requires the most faithful interpretation of the score, but I aim to preserve, as has been said, the spirit of the music as it flows from the opening section into the semiquavers.

 

For me, the 'Durufle flow' is important above all, helped by a sense of the dancing groups of three quavers that underpin the semiquavers.

 

In addition, I find it helps gradually to increase the tempo throughout the piece, rather than change gears abruptly at these points.

 

One very highly regarded organist I know starts the new section with a completely new affect, namely of spikey mechanical music, totally at odds with the elegiac tone of the opening - I cannot agree with this at all.

 

M

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I am no Durufle expert, and agree that this most meticulous of composers requires the most faithful interpretation of the score, but I aim to preserve, as has been said, the spirit of the music as it flows from the opening section into the semiquavers.

 

For me, the 'Durufle flow' is important above all, helped by a sense of the dancing groups of three quavers that underpin the semiquavers.

 

In addition, I find it helps gradually to increase the tempo throughout the piece, rather than change gears abruptly at these points.

 

One very highly regarded organist I know starts the new section with a completely new affect, namely of spikey mechanical music, totally at odds with the elegiac tone of the opening - I cannot agree with this at all.

 

M

Entirely agree. Stimulated by the original question I dug out the CD. Marie-Madeleine (recorded at Soissons) plays at exactly the given marks and her accel in the fugue is, as directed 'insensiblement' - incredible control. Interestingly there are some (very sensible) poco ced.'s at section changes and her final rall in the prelude starts about 13 bars from the end (ie as the final phrase in echoed between G and P).

 

I accept that this would be 'too fast' in St Paul's, but I'm a bit leery of one or two players who seem to use 'acoustic circumstances' or 'artistry' as an excuse for playing things slower than marked (I can recall several indulgently slow Frank III's) - and don't get me started on those who 'scamper' through various bits of Widor!

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