Placare Christe servulis (Op. 38, No. 16) – Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)
View video here
Marcel Dupré (1886-1971) was the foremost French organ virtuoso of his time, famed for his ability to improvise, and influential as a teacher. Composed during the summer vacation of 1942, Dupré’s opus 38, entitled Le tombeau de Titelouze, is a memorial to Jehan Titelouze, who was organist of Rouen Cathedral for forty-five years, from 1588 (the year of the Spanish Armada) until his death at the age of seventy, in 1633. The sixteen brief pieces in opus 38 are based on plainsong melodies from Gregorian sources. The last piece in the collection, this Sunday’s postlude in church, is a toccata based on the All Saints hymn Placare Christe servulis, which itself dates from the 9th century. The first two verses of this ancient hymn read as follows:
To thy poor servants reconciled
Show mercy, Christ, for whom the mild
And Virgin Patroness this grace
Implore before thy Father’s face.
Ye glorious hosts, whose circle nine
Before God’s throne refulgent shine,
Shield us with your celestial arms
From past, present, and future harms.