‘Annonciation’ (Deux Méditations pour orgue) op.56 – Marcel Dupré (1886-1971). The second of the two méditations on the subject of the Annunciation for Organ, composed in 1961. Dedicated to Pierre Lafond of Rouen, cousin and devout Catholic. These are late works and display advanced techniques in the use of harmonic colours and symbolic elements of mysticism. Dupré had written in his score ‘Deux méditations aprés Leonardo’. Steed suggests the text on which the second piece is based on is Luke 2:19
, ‘As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart’.
Graham Steed writes: ‘While studying Annonciation I convinced myself that these two meditations were a musical commentary on Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Annunciation. The opening Clarinet theme could only represent the angel, with arm outstretched, greeting Mary, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured." The very unusual contour of its first phrase, a rising major seventh, followed by a falling minor one perfectly illustrates that gesture. The Clarinet melody has a single syncopated strand of Bourdon tone as accompaniment. Later the Pedal join to give support, while the Bourdon develops triple figures with beautiful outlines of their own. In bar 16 Mary's first timorous response is heard on Swell Voix céleste, a perfect contrast to the angel's salutation. I know no more haunting cadence than that which concludes this meditation.’
‘The second Meditation is in G major, and expresses, in a way almost too beautiful to describe, Mary's feelings after the angel had left her. The registration is more simple than for the previous piece. The angel has departed, so the Clarinet is no longer required: the Bourdon is replaced by a Flute. Mary's acceptance of her new role is in this new Flute melody, accompanied by the Voix céleste on the Swell.’
Graham Steed: The Organ Works of Marcel Dupré,
Pendragon Press, Hillsdale, New York 1999, pp. 175-176