Suite for Organ, Op. 5
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) dedicated the three-movement Suite he composed in 1933 to Paul Dukas, his composition teacher. The Prélude is in E-flat minor, rising from Stygian depths with somber power, before settling into pensive rumination. The graceful Sicilienne suggests that Duruflé learned as much from Debussy and Ravel as he did from plainchant, a gentle but hauntingly colored dance for an organ’s flute, reed, and string stops. The concluding Toccata is a dazzling, multi-layered tour-de-force for both composer and performer (Duruflé was never completely satisfied with it, revising it several times for different printings). It goes from fast to carefully calibrated faster, from skittish play through rumbling menace to blazing
B-major glory – about as far as you can get in harmony, color, and character from the Suite’s opening.