Pittsburgh welcomed renowned French organist and improviser Frédéric Blanc on October 28, 2014 for a recital at Saint Bernard Parish in the suburb of Mt. Lebanon. In addition to works by Dupré, Handel, Langlais, Tournemire, and Duruflé, his performance also showcased his improvisational skills in several styles and forms. The recital opened with Blanc’s “Ouverture improvise,” followed by Dupér’s “Toccata sur Placare Christe Servulis.” After his performance of the concerto in d minor by Handel (adapted by John Guillou), Frederic Blanc improvised a three movement concerto in a similar style. He also paired his own improvisation on a Gregorian theme with “Mors et Resurection” from Trois paraphrases gregoriennes by Langlais and “Improvisation sur le Te Deum” by Tournemire (reconstruction by Duruflé). The program closed with a dazzling “Poeme symphonique improvise” showcasing St. Bernard’s magnificent Casavant organ.
Duquesne University also hosted Frederic Blanc for a master class and discussion of his life and training, including his studies with Marie-Madeleine Duruflé. He also described Maurice Duruflé’s life and development as a composer, offering fascinating insights into Duruflé’s personality and education.
More information on Frédéric Blanc may be found on his website: http://www.frederic-blanc.fr/biographie/biography/