WORKS: Organ Works, Vol. 11: Le chemin de la croix; Chorales, Op. 28/55, 56, 61, 62, 65, 67 & 73
PERFORMER: Mary Preston (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.554379
The cause of Dupré’s music is served well by both the artists reviewed here. Both play large French-inspired, contemporary American instruments (Filsell, the 1979 Möller at Sarasota; Preston, the Fisk at Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas), and both, taking advantage of the size and symphonic scope of their respective instruments, display their admirable powers of performance in the readings of The Stations of the Cross. Part composition, part improvisation at its first, extempore performance in Brussels in 1931, this 14-movement work (each of Dupré’s musical stations followed a poem by Paul Claudel at the premiere) is a superb mirror of Dupré’s art, and a piece for which its creator retained a special affection.
Filsell and Preston not only understand and achieve the virtuosity necessary for Stations I (Condemnation of Jesus), VII and IX (Jesus falls for the second and third times), for example, but they realise the deep significance of Dupré’s recurring themes throughout the work as they take the listener through the harrowing story. Both are equally expressive and play with reflective poise in, say, VI (Veronica) and VIII (the women of Jerusalem). On balance, maybe Filsell takes flight – Cochereau-style – more than Preston, but Preston’s playing is always clear, driven and precisely articulated. Andrew McCrea