Dupré Digital: Dupré - der Konzertorganist 1/2 (Episode 7 - Subtitles in English, French and German)

Dupré Digital: Dupré - der Konzertorganist 1/2 (Episode 7 - Subtitles in English, French and German)

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Language: English

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Number of phrases: 315

Number of words: 1889

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00:22
The golden 1920s – on his first tours through the USA, Marcel Dupré experienced a country that was in an economic frenzy. Technical innovations shaped everyday life. The flourishing stock market gave people a feeling of infinite possibilities: extravagant dreams could be realised easily thanks to simple loans. The big crash that was to lead to deep cuts at the end of the decade was far away and unimaginable at the time. Art and culture experienced a heyday. The venues for classical concerts included the modern temples of success: the department stores! John Wanamaker and his son Rodman were among the most successful businessmen of the time. In their department stores in New York and Philadelphia, personalities such as Richard Strauss and Leopold Stokowski played music in front of thousands of listeners. In the auditorium or Grand Court of the department stores, gigantic organs were installed over several floors.
01:27
Many of these department stores employed a full-time music director, one of whom was ALEXANDER Russel. He travelled to Europe in 1920 as a sort of talent scout and hired Marcel Dupré. The two shared the same teacher: Charles-Marie Widor, who highly recommended his master student Dupré. Finally, Dupré made his American debut at New York's Wanamaker Store on 18 November 1921. This was the prelude to his first tour of America with nearly 100 concerts, each of which he played before an audience of thousands. There has always been a fascination in America with European culture. Because it’s the root of a lot of American culture. In the DNA there is a hankering after the real thing. Dupré was built up as the greatest organist in Europe: He was the organist at the biggest Cavaillé-Coll organ in Europe, and he had been organist at Notre-Dame
02:31
and he played Bach works from memory and so on. Dupré was this figure of fascination. We have to remember that it was the age of the circus. People liked the extraordinary. They liked seeing exotic animals, you know, King-Kong was in. All these kind of bizarre things. Because we didn’t have TV, we didn’t have internet. The relatively mundane sort of life was enlivened by something special. But I also think at people like Dupré and Rachmaninov scored heavily here because they, of course, just preceded the age of the gramophone record. That was in its infancy in the 1920s. So, the only way you got your music was through live performance. Dupré was fascinated by the American lifestyle: fancy cars rolled through the streets, skyscrapers began to shape the silhouettes of the mega cities, neon signs on the facades turned night into day, young women put on make-up, wore their hair short and smoked in public.
03:36
On his first visit to the Wanamaker store in Philadelphia, his eyes must have popped: Showcases made of expensive glass and wood, candelabra, richly decorated carpets and floors made of marble, offices furnished with mahogany and oak. And then the organ with its stoptablets and display pipes made of ivory and gold. Yes, he was very, very surprised, because there was a big difference between the standard of living in France and the one in America. He liked to observe the way people lived there, their way of thinking. My grandmother was always amazed by the way Americans dressed. His wife Jeanne, who later accompanied him on his US tours became an important figure in supporting him to accomplish his tasks: My grandmother dedicated her whole life to him. She was the captain who steered the "Dupré ship".
04:39
She was graceful, but somewhat authoritarian. After all, she shouldered the full burden of his material worries so that he could devote himself entirely to music. Moreover, she had a perfect command of the English language which proved to be very convenient to him. When he didn't feel like talking, she spoke for him. Dupré was able to cover up his lack of English with his charm. He used the time during those hour-long journeys across America in the Pullman railway carriages furnished with velvet and brass to learn English. He spent a lot of time on these trains because, after all, he played a concert in a different city almost every night. He travelled a lot, gave many concerts, but the problem was that he got travel sick when travelling by ship or plane. In those days,
05:44
travelling was nothing like today. This problem followed him again and again. Sure, he told us about his travels, but I had the impression that it was a stressful life. He would rush to the train station after the evening concert, because he travelled at night. The next day he went to the next concert hall to take a look at the organ and after the concert he left again. He went at a wild pace. He must have been of iron health to be able to endure such a life. The pace of his concert tours was to speed up even more when he was appointed professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1926. With this appointment, he had to commit himself to giving concerts in the USA only every four years only every four years for a period of three months. This increased the pressure to deal with the incredible flood of concert requests in a short period of time.
06:48
In his memoirs, Dupré gives an impression of the hustle and bustle of his travels and the stress that went with it. In it, he writes about a tour of Australia and the USA in 1939: We sailed from Marseilles on the SS Mooltan in June 1939. The twenty-three day crossing was excellent, so that I was able to work and make serious progress with the preparation of my edition of Bach's organ works. But the end of our stay was overshadowed by the threat of war. We left Sydney in anguish. The twenty-one day journey continued across the Pacific, as we were on our way to the United States for a concert tour. We left New York at the end of December on the last Clipper and were held up for thirteen days at the first port of call, the Bermuda Islands, due to sea conditions. On the evening of the thirteenth day we were able to leave Bermuda and arrived at the second port of call, the Azores. The sea was rough. No one was allowed to get off,
07:54
as we had to leave as soon as possible. The seaplane tried to take off three times, only to fall back heavily. We were terrified. Finally, we were allowed to take off. It was a stormy night and the crossing was terrible. We were very sick, and arrived in Lisbon in the early hours of the morning. Before Dupré travelled to America for the first time, Widor advised him to earn enough in America to become independent. Something he was to succeed in doing: Dupré and Rachmaninoff both became wealthy men in the 1920s because of the American dollar. Look at Rachmaninoff living in Hollywood with Schoenberg and Stravinsky. They were fated. These people came to America and they became wealthy with their teaching here. They were celebrated. And it was the same with Dupré. Between 1922 and 1925 alone, Dupré played 247 concerts in America. His fee was 350 to 400 dollars, His fee was 350 to 400 dollars,
09:40
which today corresponds to about ± 5,000 euros per concert. In today's terms, he earned around 1.4 million USD, (about € 1.2 million), in these three years alone. And that doesn't even include his concerts in Europe or his annual concerts in England. His concert programmes were fully tailored to the American audience. On the one hand, he wanted to impress as a virtuoso and improviser, on the other hand, he wanted to establish himself as a composer. Thus, on the playbills, one finds effective, entertaining pieces such as the Concert Overture by James Rogers alongside works that are perhaps his most musically innovative, such as the "Deuxième Symphonie". He was introduced to people here and he was introduced to music here. And it was just like .. you know doffing the cap to his audience. I think it’s interesting that James Rogers, that “Concert Ouverture in b Minor”, is actually quite a good piece. It’s very “anglo” in a way that Alfred Hollins is or C. V. Stanford.
10:59
I’m sure he was just saying, ‘I’m in America. Here is a Frenchman playing American music’. By the way, you can find the music of this episode in full length on our website www.dupre-digital.org under Episode 7. The technical and acoustic possibilities of the American organs opened up a whole new perspective to him and inspired him to develop new compositional ideas. If you look at his American concert programmes, you will notice that he almost always programmes a new piece of his own. But he also knows how to combine it quite cleverly with other pieces. So it's not just a new piece by Dupré and other modern pieces. He has also played very popular pieces from the organ repertoire. This created a balance in the programme. And he also knew exactly
14:59
what the audience wanted from him. I also think that people were very excited that the great Dupré was playing his own piece. And that contributed a lot to people's acceptance. The "Deuxième Symphony" is a masterpiece by Dupré and represents a stylistic new beginning. He composed it for his 5th American tour in 1929 and played the world premiere on 30 September in New York's Wanamaker Auditorium. Thinking back to the impressionistic choral works and songs of the first episodes of "Dupré Digital", the leap in tonality is enormous. Unfortunately, there are only a few reports of public reactions to the performance of Dupré's own compositions. However, a review of the score reveals that the new sounds were quite surprising for the audience. The reviewer writes that the dissonances were too persistent and that the work had too few moments of recreation
18:41
for players and listeners. What I think is really interesting, of course, about the "Deuxième Symphonie" is how close to Strawinsky it is. In terms of its sound world but its structure, the block-like and non-developmental style of writing. That was a kind of revolutionary work in so many ways. And it was new territory. And in so many ways it was the furthest that Dupré ever went in terms of innovation: harmonically, structurally. You know, it’s as if he withdrew backwards after that and became more conservative with his writings after the Second Symphony.

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