Every now and then I run across a piece of organ music that is just amazing. 

Marcel Dupre was a child music prodigy, and became titular organist at St. Sulpice, Paris in 1934, a post he held until his death in 1971.  (He succeeded his former teacher, Charles-Marie Widor, who held that post from 1870 to 1933.)  In 1914, at the request of Widor his teacher, Dupre wrote a Prelude and Fugue in G minor that was so technically difficult that Widor declared it unplayable.  For many years, Dupre was the only one who could perform the work. 

With that in mind, the video I am linking is that piece, performed by Philippe Delacour, titular organist at Notre Dame de Metz.  Delacour is playing the Haerpfer organ of Chateau-Salins in France.  Note how he makes this most difficult piece look easy.

Aside from the feet and fingers just cruising away, there are some other things on this piece that are quite interesting.  Close to the end of the Prelude, before the fugue, notice that his each of his feet are playing multiple notes, sometimes across pedals (by that I mean not right next to each other, he has to arch his foot to play them).  For the Fugue, the time is 6/8, and the sheet music lists the tempo at 192 for a dotted quarter note.  That’s fast, and Philippe is playing the piece at that tempo.  Also keep in mind that while this organ that Delacour is playing is a pipe organ, it appears to have a fairly modern control system that is not entirely mechanical.  When Dupre wrote the piece in 1914, he very likely played it on the St. Sulpice organ, an instrument that is pneumatic/mechanical, and not quite as light to the touch as this one. 

Anyway, the video is well worth the watch and listen, as it demonstrates a fantastic piece of work.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011 at 9:05 pm and is filed under Friday Pipe Organ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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