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Biography of

Maurice Duruflé

11 jan 1902 (Louvriers) - 16 jun 1986 (Paris)
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Maurice Duruflé, c.1962

Maurice Duruflé (11 January 1902 – 16 June 1986) was a French composer, organist, and pedagogue.



Duruflé was born in Louviers, Eure.

In 1912, he became chorister at the Rouen Cathedral Choir School, where he studied piano and organ with Jules Haelling. At age 17, upon moving to Paris, he took private organ lessons with Charles Tournemire, whom he assisted at Basilique Ste-Clotilde, Paris until 1927. In 1920 Duruflé entered the Conservatoire de Paris, eventually graduating with first prizes in organ, harmony, piano accompaniment, and composition. His harmony professor was Jean Gallon.

In 1927, Louis Vierne nominated him as his assistant at Notre-Dame. Duruflé became titular organist of St-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris in 1929, a position he held for the rest of his life. In 1936, he won the Prix Blumenthal.[1] In 1939, he premiered Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto (the Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor); he had advised Poulenc on the registrations of the organ part. In 1943 he became Professor of Harmony at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he worked until 1970. In 1947, Duruflé wrote what is probably the most famous of his few pieces: the Requiem op. 9, for soloists, choir, organ, and orchestra. The same year, Marie-Madeleine Chevalier became his assistant at St-Étienne-du-Mont. They married on 15 September 1953.[2] (Duruflé's first marriage to Lucette Bousquet, contracted in 1932, ended in civil divorce in 1947 and was declared null by the Vatican on 23 June 1953.) The couple became a famous and popular organ duo, going on tour together several times throughout the sixties and early seventies.

Duruflé suffered severe injuries in a car accident on 29 May 1975[3], and as a result he gave up performing; indeed he was largely confined to his apartment, leaving the service at St-Étienne-du-Mont to his wife Marie-Madeleine (who was also injured in the accident). He died in Louveciennes (near Paris) in 1986, aged 84.

Duruflé was highly critical of his own composition. He only published a handful of works and often continued to edit and change pieces after publication. For instance, the Toccata from Suite, op. 5 has a completely different ending in the first edition than in the more recent version, and the score to the Fugue sur le nom d'Alain originally indicated accelerando throughout. The result of this perfectionism is that his music, especially his organ music, holds a very high position in the repertoire.


Organ solo

  • Scherzo op. 2 (1926)
  • Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le theme du 'Veni Creator' op. 4 (1930)
  • Suite op. 5 (1932):
    • Prélude
    • Sicilienne
    • Toccata
  • Prélude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain op. 7 (1942)
  • Prélude sur l'introït de l'epiphanie op. 13 (1961)
  • Fugue sur About this sound le carillon des heures de la cathédrale de Soissons op. 12 (1962)
  • Méditation op. posth. (1964)
  • Lecture à vue (unpublished)
  • Fugue (unpublished)
  • Lux aeterna (unpublished)

Chamber music

  • Prélude, récitatif et variations op. 3 for flute, viola, and piano (1928)

Piano solo

  • Triptyque op. 1: Fantaisie sur des thèmes grégoriens (1927/1943, unpublished)
  • Trois danses op. 6 (1932, piano version by the composer):
    • Divertissement
    • Danse lente
    • Tambourin

Piano for 4 hands

  • Trois danses op. 6 (1932, transcribed by the composer):
    • Divertissement
    • Danse lente
    • Tambourin

Two pianos

  • Trois danses op. 6 (1932, transcribed by the composer):
    • Divertissement
    • Danse lente
    • Tambourin

Orchestra works

  • Trois danses op. 6 (1932):
    • Divertissement
    • Danse lente
    • Tambourin
  • Andante et scherzo op. 8 (1940)

Choral works

  • Requiem op. 9 for soloists, choir, orchestra, and organ (1947)
    • Version with Orchestra (1947)
    • Version with Organ (1948)
    • Version with small Orchestra (1961)
  • Quatre motets sur des thèmes grégoriens op. 10 for choir a capella (1960):
    • Ubi caritas et amor
    • Tota pulchra es
    • Tu es Petrus
    • Tantum ergo
  • Messe cum jubilo op. 11 for baritone solo, male choir, and orchestra (1966):
    • Version with Organ (1967)
    • Version with Orchestra (1970)
    • Version with small Orchestra (1972)
  • Notre Père op. 14 for unison male choir and organ (1977)
    • Version for 4-part mixed choir a capella (1978)

Miscellaneous works

  • Hommage à Jean Gallon (1953)
  • Sicilienne from Suite op. 5 for small orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinette, bassoon, horn, and string quintet, unpublished)


  • Johann Sebastian Bach: 4 Chorale Preludes for Organ , orchestrated by Maurice Duruflé (1942/1945):
    • Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (18 Chorales)
    • Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein BWV 734
    • O Lamm Gottes unschuldig BWV 656 (18 Chorales)
    • In dir ist Freude BWV 615 (Orgelbüchlein)
  • Louis Vierne: Soirs étrangers op. 56, for violoncello and piano, orchestrated by Maurice Duruflé (1943):
    • Grenade
    • Sur le Léman
    • Venise
    • Steppe Canadien
    • Poisson chinois
  • Louis Vierne: Ballade du désespéré op. 61, poème lyrique for tenor solo and piano, orchestrated by Maurice Duruflé (1943)
  • Maurice Duruflé: Requiem op. 9, for voice and piano (1947)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Two Chorales from Cantatas BWV 22 und 147 , arranged for organ solo by Maurice Duruflé (1952)
  • Louis Vierne: Trois Improvisations for organ (Notre-Dame-de-Paris, November 1928), transcribed by Maurice Duruflé (1954):
    • Marche épiscopale
    • Méditation
    • Cortège
  • Charles Tournemire: Cinq Improvisations for organ (Ste. Clotilde, Paris, 1930/1931), transcribed by Maurice Duruflé (1956–1958):
    • Petite rapsodie improvisée
    • Cantilène improvisée
    • Improvisation sur le "Te Deum"
    • Fantaisie-Improvisation sur l'"Ave maris stella"
    • Choral-Improvisation sur le "Victimae paschali"
  • Gabriel Fauré: Prélude de Pelléas et Mélisande , transcribed for organ solo by Maurice Duruflé
  • Robert Schumann: Lamentation , transcribed for organ solo by Maurice Duruflé


  • Darasse, Xavier. "Maurice Duruflé", in Guide de la musique d’orgue, edited by Gilles Cantagrel. Paris: Fayard, 1991: 335-337.
  • James E. Frazier, Maurice Durufle: The Man & His Music (The Boydell Press 2007)
  • Ronald Ebrecht, ed. Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986): The Last Impressionist. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002. ISBN 081084351X.
  • Jörg Abbing. "Maurice Duruflé. Aspeckte zu Leben und Werk." Verlag Peter Ewers, 2002. ISBN 3-928243-07-1.
  • Frédéric Blanc. "Maurice Duruflé. Souvenirs et autres écrits." Éditions Séguier-Atlantica, 2005. ISBN 2-84049-411-6.


  1. ^ "Maurice Duruflé". 
  2. ^ [1], Maurice et Marie-Madeleine DURUFLÉ
  3. ^ [2], Maurice et Marie-Madeleine DURUFLÉ

External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Maurice Duruflé. Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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