Composed in 1949, Jean Langlais' (1907-1991) Three Prayers op. 65 for Medium Voice and Organ – republished here in their complete version – can also be performed by a Choir in unison and accompanied by the Harmonium or Piano.
While Marcel Dupré's training allowed Langlais to acquire brilliant virtuosity as an organist, it was never an end in itself: for the composer, the key word was simplicity. Testaments to a strong faith, the Three Prayers reveal a sense of concision and a search for purity not incompatible with the sonic refinement of an intense expressiveness.
The Ave verum, which highlights the real presence of Christ during the Eucharist, radiates a serene clarity. The Ave maris Stella alternates exaltation and appeasement ("Break the chains of guilt, bring light to the blind"). The first two pieces use the French translation of the Latin liturgical text, while the third – Tantum ergo – offers the two versions in alternation. The entire cycle expresses the fulfilment that is found in simplicity.