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Look Inside French Organ Music in the Reign of Louis XIV

French Organ Music in the Reign of Louis XIV


Part of Musical Performance and Reception

  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316620748
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About the Authors
  • Presenting a fresh approach to French organ music, David Ponsford analyses the repertory from the reign of Louis XIV by genre. The colourful French organ was so consistent in design that the very titles of pieces that were constituent parts of organ masses, Magnificats and suites prescribed the registrations: plein jeu, fugue, duo, récit, trio, fond d'orgue and grand jeu. Particular examples from published livres d'orgue and important manuscript collections are analysed chronologically, so that influences from Italian as well as French sacred and secular music can be traced. This analysis reveals the dynamic development of compositional styles in which each composer developed, modified or reacted against the exemplars of his predecessors. Composers discussed include Louis Couperin, François Couperin, Raison, Clérambault and Marchand. The reader will gain an enhanced understanding of performance practices such as notes inégales, fingering and ornamentation, and the influence of French composers on J. S. Bach.

    • Proposes a new view and demonstrates a radically different study of French Baroque organ music, which will be of special interest to organists, scholars and admirers of the musical culture of Louis XIV
    • Examines the repertory by genre, so that readers will understand how each plein jeu, fugue, duo, récit, trio and grand jeu developed in the hands of successive composers, with particular implications for performance practice
    • Discusses the influence of this repertory on J. S. Bach, leading to a more enhanced understanding of French influence upon Bach
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Here is a book the organ world has been waiting for: an authoritative account of French Baroque organ music from Louis Couperin to Clérambault, based on an examination of the repertoire by genre rather than simply by composer, thus revealing many new insights. Moreover, the links between stylistic analysis and performance practice make the book essential reading for both performers and scholars.' Kenneth Gilbert

    'David Ponsford's analytical book on French classical organ music is a very welcome addition to the small number of works in English on this subject … The book is well indexed and I suspect that the work's true value will be as a reference tool for organists wrestling with performance issues for specific composers and pieces. This book is a must-have for any serious organist.' William McVicker, Choir and Organ

    'An invaluable aid to understanding and appreciating its subject.' Early Music

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    Customer reviews

    27th Feb 2015 by CHarries

    It is rare that one finds such eloquence and perception about any topic. Dr Ponsfords analysis of a very wide range of French baroque organ repertoire is founded on meticulous research, coupled with his brilliance in performance. The book should be seen by any serious student, any keen amateur organist and any professional organist who might wish to explore this music with insight instead of merely relying on guesswork as to what may have been intended by the composers. In my view it should be purchased together with the wonderful range of Nimbus recordings of historic French organs, which show a practical interpretation from one of the worlds leading authorities. Listen, for example to the atmospheric colour and imagination shown in the recording of Nivers and Lebegue from Auch Cathedral where David Ponsford really brings these pieces to life. I have not been so enthused about a topic for some time. It has changed my perception of musical opportunities to explore.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316620748
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 1 table 336 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Genre
    3. The conventions of notes inégales
    4. Ornaments
    5. Fingering
    6. The influence of Italian music
    7. Plein jeu
    8. Fugue
    9. Duo
    10. Récit de dessus
    11. Récit en taille
    12. Récit de basse
    13. Trio
    14. Fond d'orgue
    15. Grand jeu.

  • Author

    David Ponsford, Cardiff University
    David Ponsford is a renowned organist and harpsichordist who has been engaged in academic research and performances of French Baroque music throughout his career. He teaches at Bristol University and is Associate Lecturer at Cardiff University, where he directs courses in performance practice and conducts the University Choir and Chamber Orchestra. He has made a number of solo organ and harpsichord recordings, including J. S. Bach's Clavierübung Part 3, Parthenia and J. S. Bach's complete violin sonatas with Jacqueline Ross. His edition of Biber's Mystery Sonatas was published in 2007.

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