Lexington Presbyterian Church
Sunday, June 26, 2022
William McCorkle plays the C. B. Fisk pipe organ, opus 128 (2007)
Nicolas de Grigny: Fugue a 5 from Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit)
The organ works of Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703), celebrated, and sadly short-lived, organist at the cathedral in the city of Rheims, are considered by many to be the finest compositions from the great age of the French classical organ (late 17th – early 18th centuries). De Grigny’s organ book (1699), consisting of organ masses and hymn-based pieces, and republished after his death, was known and admired throughout Europe, and was, in fact, copied (for study and use) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and other composers.
Today’s offering is one of five pieces inspired by the plainchant melody of the great hymn to the Holy Spirit, the Veni Creator. This Fugue à 5 [= Fugue in 5 voices] is one of de Grigny’s finest creations, consisting of an elegant dialogue between two of the organ’s most characteristic solo sounds, the cornet (based on partials) and the forthright reed stop, the cromorne. Each of these sounds is presented in two voices; the fifth voice is a bass line played on the pedals. The combined texture is rich, complex, subtle, and beautifully displayed by the Fisk organ.
This work is in the public domain.