Music for Pentecost — Sunday June 5, 2022

Choral varié sur le theme du “Veni Creator” (Op. 4) – Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)

View the video here.

The Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du “Veni Creator”, Op 4, the first of the three major organ works by Maurice Duruflé, uses as its theme the ancient plainsong tune of this morning’s opening hymn. The Choral and its variations, which form the third part of this monumental work, are this Sunday’s postlude in church. The first variation is written in four parts. The theme appears in the pedals while the right hand plays an elaboration of the theme. The second variation is for manuals only, while the third variation is a canon at the interval of the fourth. The final variation is a brilliant toccata, introducing the theme in canon between right hand and pedals. The music winds up to a glorious climax; Duruflé saves his masterstroke for the coda marked “tempo poco più vivo” when he presents the plainsong “Amen” (only hinted at in the organ music until that point) in the pedals on full organ.

The clip linked above plays the Choral and variations only; the full work may be accessed in YouTube.

Gerald Harder