Duruflé output as composer is quite small thanks to his self critic; the good side of this character is we are presented with works of the highest quality with a very deep expression which is a perfect mixture of late romanticism and early french modernism.
Interesting to mention Duruflé was student in Dukas classes during late 20’s, and curiously, Dukas was former student in Theodore Dubois classes (The Youchoose Music Project is publishing the first CDs with Dubois piano music ).
I first heard about Maurice Duruflé 10 years ago, thanks to a friend of mine who asked to a group of friends by e-mail about any piano solo transcription of Duruflé’s organ Suite Op.5.
According to this friend, the German pianist and teacher Wigbert Traxler, he was driving and listening to a classical radio station when the music started and he decided to park the car in order to listen the full piece with the deserved attention.
Nor me, neither anyone in the group of friends have ever heard or read about any transcription of this work, anyway, one of our friends had a scanned copy of the original organ score, and with this in hands I decided to start the first transcription and dedicate it to Wigbert Traxler who had just introduced me to one of my favorite organ works of all times – The organ music is around me since my first days of piano playing, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor (BWV.565) as transcribed by Carl Tausig was the first work I played in front of a public, before I complete my first year of contact with the piano studies/practice! It was "love at first listen".
Back to 2007, I sent to Wigbert the first pages of my transcription just some minutes after writing down the notes. After some time with the complete score in hands he played the premiere in a recital which happened sometime during 2009 in Frankfurt.
Recently Dietmar Wenninger, who also requested the first recording of
Alexander Ikharev's transcription of Ravel's La Valse via Youchoose Music Project, after checking the score of my piano solo transcription of Duruflé's Organ Suite Op.5 decided to ask me the same way to make the first recording of this work which is also connected with his own life story - he heard several times an organist practicing the so called "Devil's Toccata" (3rd movement of the Suite) at the Santa Clara Church's organ in Stockholm while he lived/worked there.
Duruflé is among these composers who didn’t need to write too much in order to be placed in the Pantheon of music – I have the same feeling with names like Julius Reubke, Tivadar Szántó or the late Nikolaus Bruhns, just to mention three names – and his importance goes far from being only related to the organ world.
The challenge of transcribing a piece of music which is part of the canon of the virtuoso organist was an inspiring task to me, more than playing the notes, my intention was to create the organ sounds as much as possible, so all the technique involved in such arrangement becomes a feat itself. All this makes this transcription a possible warhorse for future courageous pianists who dare to go beyond the famous difficulties of works like “Petrushka” or “Gaspard de la Nuit”.
This is my favorite own transcription, and it is just the first step in order to make Duruflé’s works known in the pianist’s repertoire and public.
MAURICE DURUFLÉ - ORGAN SUITE Op.5 (Transcribed for piano by Artur Cimirro)