Lexington Presbyterian Church Post-Worship Treat
Sunday, August 14, 2022
William McCorkle plays the C. B. Fisk pipe organ, opus 128 (2007)
Gilles Jullien: ‘Dialogue [sur les grands jeux]’ from Suite du Troisième Ton (1690)
The period of the late 17th- and early 18th-centuries is frequently described as the ‘golden age’ of the French classical organ. French organists were also harpsichordists, and thus were immersed in all of the vocal and instrumental music of the time, secular, sacred, royal, aristocratic, folk, dramatic. Organ building developed in France (and around Europe), inspired by a burgeoning tradition in north Germany and the low countries. Under the artistic inspiration of a number of fine builders, notably the Clicquot family, French pipe organs evolved with a distinctive personality centered around their core flue-pipe sound (diapason stops called montres), their reeds (trompettes, cromornes, hautbois), and their light mixtures. Many of the important churches and cathedrals of France received new organs during this time. The music written for these instruments was inspired by the theatre and dance of the time, and was infused with the rhythms and inflections of the spoken French language.
Gilles Jullien (1651/1653-1703), organist at the great cathedral of Chartres (about 55 miles south and west of Paris) from around 1667 until his death, was an important figure in the organ world of his time, and published in 1690 a book containing over 60 short pieces, organized into suites using each of the common organ tones (=scale keys). Today’s piece, from the third of these suites, displays the organ’s grands jeux, i.e., its full chorus of reed stops, the true defining feature of the classical French organ, in a vibrant dialogue between the divisions.
This work is in the public domain.