Maurice Durufle: Complete Organ Music
Henry Fairs, Organ
Much of this record is rather restrained and quiet being of a devotional nature. Durufle’s dates [1902-1986] suggest we might be in for some modern sounding innovative music, and the sleeve notes tell us that the composer’s style is influenced by the impressionism of Ravel & Debussy but, calm and beautiful as most of the pieces are, there’s nothing of the stature of the latter’s ‘Le Cathedral Engloutie’ here. Having said this, the opening track ‘Fugue sur le theme du Carillon des Heures de la Cathedral de Siossons’ is delightfully heavy and gothic which sets one up for the prolonged period of meditational music which follows. The opening of the final track - Toccata from Homage a Jean Gallon Suite - raises one's hopes to anticipate something akin to Widor's Toccata, but it soon settles down to similar noodling to that which preceded.
I think it is fair to say that, in the main, this is specialist music for the lover of the organ and church music. One can appreciate hearing it in the live ecclesiastical setting but wonders whether many other listeners would want to hear it on CD very often.