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Maurice Duruflé
1902 - 1986
Picture Picture Picture Picture
M.G. Duruflé
Picture Picture Picture Picture
Marie Madeleine
Duruflé playing
'his' organ of ...
du-Mont (Paris)
Picture Picture Picture Picture
M.Duruflé's house of
birth, Louviers (Nor.)
M. & M.-M.Duruflé's
house in Paris
M.Duruflé died in this
clinic, Louveciennes
M.Duruflé's grave in
Ménerbes (Provence)

Maurice Gustave [Maurice] Duruflé (11/01/1902 - 16/06/1986), a French organist and composer. He was born in Louviers, NW France, Rue de Quai no. 59. He attended the Conservatoire with Dukas, where he later worked as assistant to Tournemire. From 1930 he was organist at Saint Etienne-du-Mont, and went on to become an international concert performer with the works of Vierne and Tournemire. His compositions are impregnated with Gregorian influence, and are also influenced by Bach, Ravel, and Debussy. The premiere of his Requiem was conducted by Desormières, and he also wrote a Triptyque for piano, motets, 3 dances for orchestra (1938.
Short biography of Maurice Duruflé:

1902 (11 January) Born in Louviers (ca. 25 km south of Rouen, Normandy), Rue de Quay nr. 59.
1910-1918 Attended Rouen Cathedral Choir School. And began to studied piano, organ and musical theory with Jules Haelling.
1919 Moved to Paris in order to study the organ with Charles Tournemire and Louis Vierne. Acted as a assistant organist to Tournemire at Saint-Clotilde.
1920 Auditioned and joined Eugène Gigout's organ class at the Paris Conservatoire.
1922 Won the premier prix in organ ( Eugène Gigout's class).
1924 Won the premier prix in harmony (Jean Gallon's class).
Won the premier prix in counterpoint and fugue (Georges Caussade's class).
1926 Won the premier prix in accompaniment (César Abel Estyle's class).
1928 Won the premier prix in composition (Paul Dukas's class).
1929 Deputized for Vierne at the Cathedrale of Notre-Dame, Paris ( until 1931 ). Won the first prize offered by Les Amis de l'Orgue for his organ performance and improvisation.
1930 He was appointed to be the titulaire organist of St-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris ( until 1975 ), living at: 6 Place du Panthéon, just on the other side of the street. Won the first prize offered by Les Amis de l'Orgue for Prélude, Adagio et Choral Varié sur le Veni Creator, op. 4
1936 Won the Blumenthal Foundation Prize for Trois danses, op. 6
1939 ( June ) He gave the world première of Poulenc's Organ Concerto having advised Poulenc on the organ registrations at Salle Gaveau.
1942 Deputized for Marcel Dupré's organ class at the Paris Conservatoire.
1943 He was appointed to be professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire ( until 1969 ).
1953 Married Marie-Madeleine Chevalier (Maurice was 12 years older than she). And Marie-Madeleine became co-titulaire at St-Étienne-du-Mont.
1954 At the request of Vierne's heir, Mme Madeleine Mallet-Richepin, he published Trois Improvisations by Louis Vierne having this reconstructed (Durand & Cie.).
1956 Honoured by the Department of the Seine who awarded him the Grand Prix Musical.
1958 Published Cinq Improvisations by Charles Tournemire having this reconstructed (Durand & Cie.).
1959 Gained Grand Prix du Disque (Academie Charles-Cross) for his Requiem, recording by his conducting (ERATO).
1961 Recieved Vatican citation of Commander in the Order of St. Gregory.
1964 His first recital tour in the United States of America.
1966 His second recital tour in the United States of America.
1975 ( May ) Because of a head-on car accident near Valence (Southern France), He and his wife suffered extensive injuries.
1975-1986 He was only particially to recover and he seldom left his bed in his apartment during 10 years.
1986 ( 16 June ) He died at the age of 84, having been in hospital Clinique Médicale du Val de Seine in Louveciennes for several months. He was buried in Ménerbes, Vaucluse, Provence, South of France.
1986 ( 11 October ) His Requiem was performed at a memorial service.
1989 With Mme Duruflé, Duruflé festival held in New York City.
1999 ( 16 October ) Mme Marie-Madeleine Duruflé-Chevalier died. She was buried in Ménerbes, Vaucluse, Provence, South of France.
2000 ( 22 January ) A memorial ceremony for the late Mme Duruflé was held in Paris at St-Étienne-du-Mont.
Claude Thibout:
"I've known mister Duruflé when I'm was young. I was a member of the Louviers boys choir; mister Duruflé conducted and played the organ. He was a quiet man. His wife (Marie-Madelaine) was a very nice person. Both sended me a recording with a personal note. The present female organist of the Louviers church is a pupil of Duruflé.
Maurice Duruflé was born here in Louviers, in Rue de Quay nr. 59. You can recognise it, it is a white house with a memorial plaquette of Duruflé on the wall."
Author:Claude Thibout, working at the Office de Tourisme at Louviers
Claude Miquel:
"I've known Maurice Duruflé personally, during many years. He was a great composer indeed. He composed his wonderful Requiem for his father Henry Duruflé, an architect here in Louviers. He had two brothers, an elder and a younger one.
He composed some pieces of the requiem in the church here in Louviers. The organ was build by John Abbey. It owns 49 plays and nearly 4000 pipes.
Duruflé married two times. He married Marie-Madelaine Chevalier after being divorced from his first wife. The pope himself gave permission for the second marriage. I believe because of the great importance of Duruflé for the church and church music."
Author:Claude Miquel, president of the Office de Tourisme at Louviers
Erwin E.W. Meier (1937 - 2007) wrote a Requiem dedicated to Maurice Duruflé.
Composed in:1947
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Henry Duruflé, the composer's father
Label(s):Erato 4509-96952-2 (large orchestra) | EMI 7 49880 2 | Brillant Classics 99464
Hyperion CDA 66191 | Linn Records CKD 623 (small orchestra)
Contrapunctus Musicus VC 2461 (organ version)
EMI Classics 0946 3 79994 2 4 (organ version) | Deutsche Grammaphon 00289 4800767 (organ version)
LINN CKD 623 (large orchestra) | BBC Music vol. 23 No.9 (large orchestra)
This requiem (opus 9) is undoupted a masterpiece of choral literature and is an intensely moving and personal setting of the requiem text. It is entirely based on plainchant, but richly adorned with sumptuous harmonies and gorgeous orchestration. Duruflé wrote it in memory of his father.

There are three versions:
- accompanied by large orchestra (1947)
- accompanied by organ
- accompanied by small orchestra (1961)

Maurice Duruflé's musical career began in the choir of Rouen Cathedral and after training at the Paris Conservatoire continued in the realm of French religious music. Primarily an organist by profession, he played in the leading Parisian churches and toured widely throughout Europe. His compositions included a few pieces for organ from the earlier part of his career and some instrumental and orchestral works, but he is best known for the Requiem for two soloists, organ, chorus and orchestra of 1947.
The requiem started life as a planned set of organ pieces on the chants for the Mass of the Dead. It was the opportune request for the Mass from his publisher that allowed him to expand on the material he had previously written. It is clear that Duruflé used Fauré's Requiem as his model. The text he chose, for instance, is the same (omitting the dramatic "Dies irae" sequence), the two solo voices are the same, and like Fauré he took the two last lines of "Dies irae" ('Pie Jesus, Domine, dona eis requiem') and set them as a short, touching mezzo-soprano solo. Like Fauré, Duruflé avoids the apocalyptic side of the text: such dramatic moments as do exist are therefore more striking for their rarity.
Duruflé belonged to the generation of French composers who came under the influence of Gregorian chant, and its melodic shapes at the end of the nineteenth century. His Requiem is strongly rooted in liturgical tradition where almost every section of the work incorporates the plaichant from the Mass for the Dead. This gives the work an underlying rythmic suppleness onto which Duruflé grafted his characteristic modal harmonies and effortless polyphony.
Duruflé intended his Requiem to be intimate, peaceful and loving. Fauré's observation of 1921 might be thus equally applied to Duruflé: 'Everything I posessed in the way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.' It is a requiem of hope and assurance not so much a 'Mass for the Dead' but a 'Mass for the Living' providing the opportunity for a greater, more universal musical and spiritual experience.
Author:Charlotte E.S. Exon
Requiem (Op. 9) contains:
01. Introit
02. Kyrie
03. Domine Jesu Christe
04. Sanctus
05. Pie Jesu
06. Agnus Dei
07. Lux æterna
08. Libera me
09. In Paradisum

♫ 01. Introit
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 02. Kyrie
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 03. Domine Jesu Christe
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 04. Sanctus
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 05. Pie Jesu
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 06. Agnus Dei
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 07. Lux æterna
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 08. Libera me
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191

♫ 09. In Paradisum
© Hyperion Records CDA 66191
Source:booklet of cd Hyperion Records CDA 66191
Like his mentor, Dukas, Duruflé was incredibly self-effacing, and spent considerable time re-working his compositions until they achieved what he felt was the correct level of perfection; in fact, there are only 14 published Opus numbers to his name. Duruflé's early musical training was at the cathedral in Rouen, where there was a famous school of Gregorian chant. This repertory of liturgical song had become something of a French speciality in the 19th century, and among the scholars working on the chants were a group of Benedictines at the French monastery of Solesmes, who developed a theory of chant rhythm as a free succession of notes of mostly equal value in groups of two and three. The Solesmes school of chant restoration and performance achieved widespread acceptance in the Catholic church and even some Protestant congregations. After a thorough steeping in this tradition, Duruflé came to Paris and studied at the Conservatoire, where he confronted the tradition of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. When he came to write his Requiem in 1947, like the earliest composers of polyphonic Requiems, Duruflé took the Gregorian plainchant Mass for the Dead as his raw material. His declared intention was 'to reconcile, as far as possible, Gregorian rhythm…with the exigencies of modern meter.' That is, he did not transcribe literally the original melodies with their irregular alternation of twos and threes; he adjusted the rhythms subtly so that larger metric patterns emerge, but still he allowed the meter to shift frequently so that a sense of spontaneity is preserved. At the same time, he clothed the sometimes archaic-sounding melodies in sophisticated harmonies of the early modern school. Although he came from a different liturgical tradition, Duruflé used similar texts to those used by Fauré in his requiem. The piece is in the true tendresse style, leaving out the chilling full Dies Irae and accentuating the aspect of forgiveness through the inclusion of a separate Pie Jesu and through constant repetition of the phrase 'Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine'. Duruflé published the Requiem in three versions: for organ alone; for full orchestra and for organ and string quintet with harp, trumpets and timpani ad libitum
Author:Barry Creasy
Duruflé composed his Requiem, Op. 9, in 1947, providing both an orchestral and organ version. He rescored the work for small orchestra in 1961. Concerning the Requiem, Duruflé wrote, "This Requiem is entirely composed on the Gregorian themes of the Mass for the Dead. Sometimes the musical text was completely respected, the orchestral part intervening only to support or comment on it; sometimes I was simply inspired by it or left it completely, for example in certain developments suggested by the Latin text, notably in the Domine Jesu Christe, the Sanctus and the Libera. In general, I have sought above all to enter into the characteristic style of the Gregorian themes. Therefore, I have done my best to reconcile, as far as possible, Gregorian rhythm as it has been established by the Benedictines of Solesmes with the demands of modern meter. "As for the musical form of each of these pieces, it is generally inspired by the same form presented in the liturgy. The organ’s role is merely episodic: it intervenes, not to support the chorus, but solely to underline certain accents or to replace temporarily the sonorities of the orchestra which sound all too human. It represents the idea of peace, faith, and hope."
Author:Maurice Duruflé
Notable contributors to the 20th-century repertory are Bresgen, Duruflé, Guerrini, Karg-Elert, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Maliszewski, Sutermeister, Thompson, Thomson, Zandonai and Zanella.
Author:James W. Pruett
Source:The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians