Grigny organ

Grigny: Hymns
Bernard Coudurier, Ensemble Alternatim
BNL Productions 112813


  1. Veni creator
  2. Pange lingua
  3. Verbum supernum
  4. Ave maris stella
  5. A solis ortus

Playing time: 67'

Recording date: May & September 1991

Instrument: Orgue historique de Cintegabelle, Moucherel c.1600; restored 1989, Boisseau and Cattiaux

Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703), despite his regrettably short life, was one of the leading organ composers of his generation. His output consists of one large publication, the Organ Book of 1699. Among its admirers is known to be J. S. Bach, who recopied it in 1703. Grigny's organ music is the most densely contrapuntal of any French music of that era, and this has ensured its fame.

Despite incorporating many Baroque ideas, the Organ Book looks back to the older, more rigorous style of Jehan Titelouze (c.1563-1633), who published the first attributed collection of organ music in France: Hymns de l'Eglise pour toucher sur l'orgue, avec les fugues et recherches sur leur plain-chant (1623). A recording:

Titelouze: Hymns et Magnificat
Sylvain Ciaravolo
Adda 581305

Unfortunately, this recording is currently unavailable (mentioned with hope).

In keeping with the style of the times, Grigny set only alternate verses for organ, the others to be chanted. For the present recording, the Ensemble Alternatim provides the chant verses in a re-constructed Baroque style. The resulting integrity is admirable, and the Baroque ornaments and tempi are convincing. The fine organ of Cintegabelle, recorded with a wonderful acoustic and played eloquently by Bernard Coudurier, is also a feature of this performance.

Grigny's Organ Book consists of two parts: the first is a setting of the mass (including offertory), while the second is a setting of five hymns. The present recording is devoted to the hymns. Many other recordings are available, most excellent, but this one is of high merit in all aspects.

Other recordings of Grigny's Livre d'Orgue:

Grigny: Livre d'Orgue, I: Mass
Pierre Bardon
Pierre Vérany 790031
Grigny: Livre d'Orgue, II: Hymns
Pierre Bardon
Pierre Vérany 790041
Grigny: Premier Livre d'Orgue
Olivier Vernet / Ensemble Jacques Moderne
Ligia Digital 010 4125-03 (2 CDs)
Grigny: Livre d'Orgue
Stil 2604 san 79 (2 CDs)
Grigny: Livre d'orgue
L'intégrale en deux disques
John Grew
Atma 22169/70 (2 CDs)
Grigny: Les cinq hymnes
Jean-Pieere Lecaudey
Pavane 7451

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Todd M. McComb