In addition to his work as concert artist, organist at the great Parisian Church of St. Sulpice, professor at the Paris Conservatoire, and composer, Dupré excelled in the art of improvisation traditionally cultivated by French organists.
So a professor at the conservatory in Brussels approached Dupré about a recital of poetry and organ improvisation.
And thus “Le Chemin de la Croix” came to be.
The concert took place in Brussels in February of 1932.
The effort was so successful that Dupré wrote down his improvisation (no doubt improving upon his memory of it) and a year later the work was performed in Paris.
Above all Le Chemin de la Croix tells the story of God’s redemptive acts on behalf of fallen humanity as they unfold in the last hours of Jesus’ life.
There are two principal characters in this drama, Jesus and his mother.
In the final 14th Station Jesus body is taken down from the cross, placed in his mother’s arms, and finally laid in the tomb. It unfolds as a slow and lamenting death march.
Maria must have felt the deepest of grief, having seen Jesus brutally tortured and murdered. To many of us he is the saviour, but to her he must have been her son foremost.
A few days ago on television there were images of a Syrian father after a bomb raid on his village; two small children laying in front of him, weeping, hugging and kissing them, picking them up and putting them down again time after time, not being able to believe they were dead.