Dans la Gloire des Invalides

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A series of eleven improvisations by Marcel Dupré

List of Pieces

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Number Title
1 Organ, O sacred instrument and holy...
2 You will sing the sacrifice of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
3 You will evoke the spirit that is everywhere...
4 You will testify of the mercy of God...
5 You will celebrate the glory of the angels
6 You will speak the universal language Christianity
7 You will fill the sanctuary with your joyful songs
8 You will console the afflicted that are in pain
9 You will elevate our prayers to the holy Mother of God
10 You will proclaim the power and majesty...
11 Final

Background and General Perspectives

(For comments on a specific piece or genre, use the "List of Pieces" above to navigate to that page.)

"MARCEL DUPRÉ: Dans la Gloire des Invalides (Eleven Improvised Versets Reconstructed by David A. Stech). Wayne Leupold Editions WL600189, $14.50. On December 8, 1957, the doyen of French organists, the then 71-year-old Marcel Dupré, played for the dedication of Beuchet-Dehierre's rebuild of the organ of Les Invalides. At the ceremony, the Cardinal of Paris read ten invocations imploring the sacred instrument to be faithful to its mission. After each, Dupré responded with an improvised verset. The service was recorded by Erato (LDE 3082) and issued on a long-playing disc, Dans Ia Gloire des Invalides. The recording was the first commercial phonograph recording of Dupré improvising and provided organ lovers with concrete testimony of the legendary virtuoso described by Widor as "the greatest improviser since Bach." (Dupré subsequently passed the mantle and appellation to his student Pierre Cochereau.) David A. Stech, professor of music at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, has written out the eleven pieces (Dupré played a final sortie after the last prayer) in musical notation - a phenomenal task, given the quality of the recording and the acoustics of the building - and has made them available to all. The results are mostly three-page works similar to Dupré's 15 Versets, Op. 18, which he had improvised just 37 years earlier-and written down himself."[1]

"With exceptions of the first and last versets, the versets average approximately 2 1/4 minutes in length. Collectively, they display a wide variety of textures and registrations, and show careful attention to the details of partwriting throughout. Dupré's harmonic style is conservative compared to other works of the same date. They are quite tonal and are not as dissonant as some of his later works. Chronologically, the versets were created a few months following his completion of the Triptyque, Op. 51.[2]

"The harmonic style throughout is tonal but less conservative than his late recorded improvisations that sound more like Guilmant than Dupré. The complete set makes enchanting practice sessions, excellent teaching pieces, a superb introduction to the music of Marcel Dupré, and just downright lovely music."[3]

"Most of the versets are two or three pages long. Even though the organ being dedicated consisted of three manuals and 61 stops, most of the pieces can be played on one or two manuals. Registration indications are given by Dr. Stetch. The chanted invocation should be omitted when a verset is played for the test."[4]

"For those who are wondering about the "invalides" in the title, the historic complex of buildings houses military pensioners. The Hôtel National des Invalides was founded in 1671 by King Louis XTV to provide a place for disabled or impoverished war veterans. The Church of Saint-Louis was added as an annex to the complex in 1679. Residents were required to attend daily Mass there. The church is connected directly with the royal chapel, the Dôme des Invalides. Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb is in this chapel, along with those of famous French military leaders and war heroes."[5]

Scores and Editions

These pieces were originally improvisations performed by Dupre. They were transcribed and reconstructed by Gerald A. Stech. The score in print that is accepted by the AGO Service Playing exam is published by Wayne Leupold and is available through Wayne Leupold Editions.


"A CD is now available of Dupré's original performance, so questions about tempos and registration are easily answered. Haydn House, P.O. Box 608, Dennis, MA 02638, makes private transfers to CD for backup only, and lists the 1957 Organ Dedication Service, St. Louis des Invalides, for $12 on page 2 of its Organ Loft Collection. The disc also includes organist Bernard Gavoty playing Vierne, Franck, and Balbastre works (reviewed by Rollin Smith in the March 2009 TAO)."[6]

Free Online

Follow this link, scroll down to the sixth entry (1957 Dedicatory Organ Concert), and click "High Quality mp3 sample" to hear excerpts from Dupré's original improvisations from which these versets were transcribed.

Pay to Listen

Other Resources

Replace this text with any information on other resources pertinent to performing these works


  1. Smith, Rollin. The American Organist40.3 (Mar 2006): 89-90.
  2. Preface in Dans la Gloire des Invalides, Wayne Leupold edition.
  3. Smith, Rollin. The American Organist, 40.3 (Mar 2006): 89-90.
  4. Thomerson, Kathleen. The American Organist, 43.10 (Oct 2009): 42.
  5. Thomerson, Kathleen. The American Organist, 43.10 (Oct 2009): 42.
  6. Thomerson, Kathleen. The American Organist, 43.10 (Oct 2009): 42.

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