Composer Spotlight - Maurice Durufle

Composers are the breath that give life to the instruments we study. They harness a creative idea, develop it, and hopefully it gets performed for a large appreciative audience. The audience part is,  in many cases, the part that doesn’t happen often. The average listener of most musical genres might be able to name a dozen composers or songwriters. In the case of classical music, it might be less. At least the “three B’s and the H*” are names that we all know. 

Those of us who study classical music closely know that’s just the water’s edge. There is much more to the sea. So, today I start shedding some light lesser known composers, learn a little about them and share some beautiful music. 

The first, Maurice Durufle (11 January 1902 – 16 June 1986), was a french composer and organist. His formative studies were as a chorister at the cathedral in Rouen, followed by years of private instruction on piano and organ, and with admission and completion of his formal studies at the Paris Conservatory. There he studied with another notable French composer Paul Dukas who was known mostly for his piece The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was immortalized in a Disney animation years later. 

As a composer, under Dukas’ tutelage Durufle was no slouch. However, he was severely self-critical and did not publish much of his work. His organ music is still performed to this day as well as some of his best vocal works. Below is one of his most known choral pieces. Enjoy!

*Depends on who you talk to  but, usually it’s: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Handel (or Haydn)

Rose Bogossian