Marcel Dupré plays his Cortège et Litanie at Saint-Sulpice.
January 22, 1965.
That’s the date my organ teacher wrote in my music to assign me Marcel Dupré’s Cortège et Litanie. To be honest, at that point in my life I didn’t know what a cortege was, or a litany either, or that one day I would study the piece with the “maître” himself!
For many years, I’ve programmed this piece as the prelude on All Saints, which is coming up this Sunday, and when you’ve played a piece for as many years as I have, it really becomes a part of you. If my life depended on it I would even bet I could probably play this piece from memory. Three years ago, when we visited Marcel Dupré’s home organ studio at Meudon, this was the piece I chose to play. And even though we had just endured a 20-hour flight from Honolulu to Paris, miraculously I was able to get through this performance without any mishaps. (Please check out my detailed post about Dupré’s home organ by clicking here.) Since this is my last All Saints at LCH, there was never any doubt that I would play this wonderful piece. It begins quietly, like a funeral procession in the distance, and builds to a grand climax.
For the postlude, I’ll play Dupré’s Fugue in G minor, op. 7, which some parishioners have told me would sound appropriate for Halloween! I guess it’s the close proximity of Halloween to All Saints which gives them that impression. It’s also a piece which I learned as a teenager so it’s been with me awhile. I was told that there were lyrics to the fugue subject, and they start out like this: “Marcel Dupré, Marcel Dupré, how do you play, how do you play . . . “ but that’s the extent of the words I know. If any of my readers know the rest, please share!
In my next post, I’ll write about the Bach works we’ll be performing for All Saints Vespers, Sunday night at 7:30 pm.