“All my heart doth long for thee,
O God of my dreaming,
God of my heart,
All my heart.”
The organ prelude and postlude are both by the same composer this week. Louis-Antoine Dornel (1685-1765) was a French organist and composer who has not been recognized as being at the forefront of his generation but was well respected in his day. His music gives us an interesting perspective on the music in France during Bach’s time (Dornel and Bach were almost exact contemporaries). Dornel is perhaps best remembered by association with more famous musicians of his time, but his music gives us a window into the more typical music of his era. In his work, we don’t hear the largest and grandest pieces to come from the French Baroque, but we do hear what may have been a more routine musical offering in the churches of 18th century France. We will hear three miniatures of his during the prelude, and each piece has its own special tone color. Listen to how these tones balance each other and highlight different sounds available on the organs of Dornel’s time. The postlude will feature his Grand jeu et Fugue, two pieces designed for loud playing. Personally, I was struck by how similar these pieces are to more famous marches by other French composers. Beyond simple imitation however, Dornel maintains his own unique voice and texture in these pieces, and that gives them the satisfying quality of being sufficiently unique. Plus, there is a certain joy is discovering rarely performed composers and bringing them to life.