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Maurice Duruflé: The Man and His Music (Eastman Studies in Music) [Hardcover]

James E. Frazier

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Book Description

20 Aug 2008 Eastman Studies in Music (Book 47)
Maurice Duruflé: The Man and His Music is a new biography of the great French organist and composer (1902-86), and the most comprehensive in any language. James E. Frazier traces Duruflé's musical training, his studies with Tournemire and Vierne, and his career as an organist, church musician, composer, recitalist, Conservatoire professor, and orchestral musician. Frazier also examines the career and contributions of Duruflé's wife, the formidable organist Marie-Madeleine Duruflé-Chevalier. Duruflé brought the church's unique language of plainsong into a compelling liaison with the secular harmonies of the modern French school (as typified by Debussy, Ravel, and Dukas) in works for his own instrument and in his widely loved masterpiece, the Requiem Op. 9 for soloists, chorus, organ, and orchestra. Drawing on the accounts of those who knew Duruflé personally as well as on Frazier's own detailed research, Maurice Duruflé offers a broad sketch of this modest and elusive man, widely recognized today for having created some of the greatest works in the organ repertory -- and the masterful Requiem. James E. Frazier is organist and Director of Music at the Episcopal Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 402 pages
  • Publisher: University of Rochester Press (20 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580462278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580462273
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16.1 x 23 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,168,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A mine of information. . . . a veritable tale of our times. MUSICAL TIMES (Andrew Thomson)BR Provides significant insight into Duruflé's works and the relatively secretive life he and his wife led. . . . Frazier's research is excellent. . . . An important contribution. CHOICE (Brian Doherty) Frazier's exploration of arabesque in architecture and music and his treatment of musical luminosity are memorably insightful and reveal a thoughtful understanding of Duruflé's work. . . . An interesting and well-constructed view of Duruflé's world, and a highly informative text as well. CHOIR & ORGAN (Steven Plank) A work of unprecedented scope and depth, . . . (Frazier's book) is a biography abundantly rich in detail; though it declines the tone of a hagiography, it is obviously a labor of love. . . . Frazier skillfully illuminates the contexts in which Duruflé's life unfolded . . . (and) Frazier's survey of Duruflé's compositions is particularly strong. . . . A special pleasure of the book is the chapter on (Duruflé's future wife, and a world-renowned organist,) Marie-Madeleine Chevalier . . . Frazier's book will no doubt stand as a defining work in Duruflé scholarship and nurture scholars of 20th-century French organ music for years to come. AMERICAN ORGANIST (Lawrence Archbold) One of the best musical biographies I have read for many years: sound in musical and, for the most part, in historical judgment . . . , sympathetic without being sycophantic, and most gracefully written. Duruflé deserves no less. GRAMOPHONE (Roger Nichols) (Frazier) sees Durufle as a compelling figure, given over to the same foibles and doubts we all have. Frazier's ability to obtain primary sources lends credence to his observations. This is a superb work, one to be valued by usic historians and organists alike. AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan/Feb 2008 (Donald Metz) This substantial study . . . although sympathetic . . . is not a work of hagiography. . . .(The author argues that) the somewhat short-lived revival of Gregorian chant in the French church . . . (during) Duruflé's composing life was a happy coincidence from which music was the main beneficiary (notably through the widely beloved Requiem). . . . The very considerable value of this booklies in its personal evaluation of a man whose personality is likely to remain something of a mystery but whose music has already transcended his life. TEMPO (Bret Johnson)


Nor are Frazier's dry writing style and the book's rather curious topic-based organisation conducive to a lively biography. But if the central portrait lacks vividness, the background - a thorough and authoritative account of French ecclesiastical musical life - provides ample compensation.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Learned So Much! 30 Jun 2009
By Wilbert V. Kiessling - Published on Amazon.com
I must admit that I am biased with this review. I know the author, James Frazier. I had not seen him in 25 years or so. Those facts do not make my review less valuable.
I leanred so much about Durufle and Gregorian Chant and the music of Franck, Poulenc, Faure, Langlais and Madam Durfule as well and others. Some of the technicalities of building an organ are beyond me, but fascinating nonetheless.
The book causes me to look again at the development of liturgial music in the last half-century. The Gregorian Chant inspired music is definitely valuable. To lose it would be criminal. Thanks James for the lessons you taught me. Bert KiesslingMaurice Durufle: The Man and His Music (Eastman Studies in Music)
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blueprint for Writing a Biography 22 May 2014
By Larry Ronaldson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once in awhile you come across a book that makes you in the words of Holden Caulfield want to call up the author and spend some time with him/her. That's how I felt with this one. So few today seem so mature. That profundity is present on every page of this wonderful book. Yes, there are few who will appreciate the subtle distinctions that Frazier makes, but any good reader will be in awe of the careful research that has been done here. This is a thorough work and should stand as a blueprint for anyone who would attempt a serious biography.
I chose this book because it is an area I know virtually nothing about and that is often precarious. I came away with greater respect for humanity as I see that there are still people out there willing to bring their prodigious talents to an enterprise. Bravo!
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't be without it! 8 Sep 2013
By Sakurako D. Nielsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is quite definitly a "must have" for anyone performing Duruflé's Requiem - whether conductor or vocalist or instrumentalist.
It gives a profound basis for who he was, and what his music was like from several sources and so beautifully copiled by James E. Frazier. I can't recommend it enough! It makes you understand what lies behind each phrase - also of his Four Motets - and your own knowledge of the matter makes you reconsider all you've been taught in music history about Gregorian Chant - it suddenly isn't as awkward and dull - you'd like to learn more about it again. you can easily skip chapters and just read about each subject header of the chapter - and then return to one of the previos chapters - it doesn't spoil it.
and even more - you'd like to read about all the other French composers/teachers of the period and earlier.
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