This album contains parts of three live concerts by Swedish organist Torvald Torén. He performs organ works by the greatest organ composer of the 20th century, Marcel Dupré. The recordings are made on three famous organs in Sweden: The Linköping Cathedral (5 Antiphones) 1987, S:t Jacob's Church in
Stockholm (Symphonie-Passion) 1977 and the Lund Cathedral (Évocation) 1986. Torvald Torén spent a great part of his career on French organ music, which also gained him international praise.
Rolande Falcinelli, the successor of Marcel Dupré at the Paris Conservatory, remembers Torvald Torén: "Similarly to Marcel Dupré appointing me as his primary interpreter, I think Torvald Torén is a natural successor to this legacy, with his magnificent technique and sense of style."
Torvald Torén (1945-2001) was one of the most notable Swedish organists of his time. He performed a vast amount organ repertoire, and was considered as one of the foremost interpreters of French romantic-symphonic organ music. Torén studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm; piano with Stina Sundell, and organ with Gotthard Arnér. Torén received a Soloist Post-Graduate Degree in both instruments. He continued his organ studies with Maurice Duruflé, Jean Langlais and Flor Peeters. Torvald Torén was the organist of Hedvig Eleonora Church in Stockholm from 1966 until his death in 2001. Additionally he served as a professor in organ at the Royal College of Music from 1983 to 2001. Torvald Torén gave recitals internationally at the most prestigious venues. He was also a sought-after lecturer and a member of several international organ competitions. Torvald Torén made numerous radio broadcasting recordings and some twenty records, for exemple the Trio Sonatas of Bach, the complete organ works of Franck and Duruflé, and the six symphonies of Vierne. He received the Swedish gramophone prize in 1982 and 1984. Torén was elected as a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in 1993. The legendary film director Ingmar Bergman was a long-time admirer of the art of Torvald Torén. A Bach recording with Torvald Torén from Leufsta bruk is featured in the last Bergman movie, Saraband. In John Irving's novel Until I find you Torén is one mentioned as a character.
Marcel Dupré (3 May 1886 - 30 May 1971) was a French organist, pianist, composer, and pedagogue. Dupré was born in Rouen (Normandy, France). Born into a musical family, he was a child prodigy. His father Albert Dupré was organist in Rouen and a friend of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, who built an organ in the family house when Marcel was 14 years old. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1904, where he studied with Louis Diémer and Lazare Lévy (piano), Alexandre Guilmant and Louis Vierne (organ), and Charles-Marie Widor (fugue and composition). In 1914, Dupré won the Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata, Psyché. In 1926, he was appointed professor of organ performance and improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire, a position he held until 1954.
Dupré became famous for performing more than 2000 organ recitals throughout Australia, the United States, Canada and Europe, which included a recital series of 10 concerts of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1920 (Paris Conservatoire) and 1921 (Palais du Trocadéro), both performed entirely from memory. The sponsorship of an American transcontinental tour by the John Wanamaker department store interests rocketed his name into international prominence. Dupré's "Symphonie-Passion" began as an improvisation on Philadelphia's Wanamaker Organ. In 1924, he was elected as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, by the Fraternity's Alpha Chapter at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
In 1934, Dupré succeeded Charles-Marie Widor as titular organist at St. Sulpice in Paris, a post he held until his death in 1971.
From 1947-1954, he was director of the American Conservatory, which occupies the Louis XV wing of the Château de Fontainebleau near Paris. In 1954, Dupré succeeded Claude Delvincourt as director of the Paris Conservatoire, where he remained until 1956. He died in 1971 in Meudon (near Paris) at the age of 85.
As a composer, he produced a wide-ranging oeuvre of 65 opus numbers, and also taught two generations of well-known organists such as Jehan Alain and Marie-Claire Alain, Jean-Marie Beaudet, Pierre Cochereau, Jeanne Demessieux, Rolande Falcinelli, Jean Guillou, Jean Langlais, Carl Weinrich and Olivier Messiaen, to name only a few. Aside from a few fine works for aspiring organists (such as the 79 Chorales op. 28) most of Dupré's music for the organ ranges from moderately to extremely difficult, and some of it makes almost impossible technical demands on the performer (e.g., évocation op. 37, Suite, op. 39, Deux Esquisses op. 41, Vision op. 44).
His most often heard and recorded compositions tend to be from the earlier years of his career. During this time he wrote the Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 7 (1914), with the First and Third Preludes (in particular the G minor with its phenomenally fast tempo/figurations and pedal chords) being pronounced unplayable by no less a figure than Widor. Indeed, such is their difficulty that Dupré was the only organist able to play them until several years later.
In many ways Dupré may be viewed as a 'Paganini' of the organ - being a virtuoso of the highest order, he contributed extensively to the development of technique (both in his organ music and in his pedagogical works) although, like Paganini, his music is relatively unknown to musicians other than those who play the instrument for which the music was written. A fair and objective critique of his music should take into account the fact that, occasionally, the emphasis on virtuosity and technique can be detrimental to the musical content and substance. However, his more successful works combine this virtuosity with high degree of musical integrity, qualities found in works such as the Symphonie-Passion, the Chemin de la Croix, the Preludes and Fugues, the Esquisses and évocation, and the Cortège et Litanie.
As well as composing prolifically, Dupré prepared study editions of the organ works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schumann, César Franck, and Alexander Glazunov. He also wrote a method for organ (1927), 2 treatises on organ improvisation (1926 and 1937), and books on harmonic analysis (1936), counterpoint (1938), fugue (1938), and accompaniment of Gregorian chant (1937), in addition to essays on organ building, acoustics, and philosophy of music. As an improviser, Dupré excelled as perhaps no other did during the 20th century, and he was able to take given themes and spontaneously weave whole symphonies around them, often with elaborate contrapuntal devices including fugues. The achievement of these feats was partially due to his unsurpassed genius and partially due to his hard work doing paper exercises when he was not busy practicing or composing.
Although his emphasis as composer was the organ, Dupré's catalog of musical compositions also includes works for piano, orchestra and choir, as well as chamber music, and a number of transcriptions.