Grigny: Livre d'Orge / Isoir

Release Date: 11/16/2018
Label: Temperaments
Catalog Number: TEM 316061-62
Performer: André Isoir
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

In Stock
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703) died at the age of 31 without bequeathing everything his genius let hope for. Considered one of the greatest masters of the organ, de Grigny composed only one Organ Work (1699) called "Premier", consisting of a Mass and five Hymns for various Church festivals. Johann Sebastian Bach, a fervent admirer, discovered his music, during his youth and copied his entire work which would influence–as much as Buxtehude’s, then later Frescobaldi’s–his own organ work. The new release of this recording from 1992 on the historical organ of Saint-Michel-en-Thiérache pays tribute to the great organist André Isoir who died in 2016. The French organist and composer, André Isoir, studied in Paris at the École Cesar-Franck. At the Conservatoire de Paris, he studied with Rolande Falcinelli and received the premier prix in both organ and improvisation in 1960. He won several international organ competitions including the St Albans International Organ Festival in England in 1965, then won 3 consecutive annual prizes (Prix du Challenge) at Haarlem Competition in Holland (1966-1968). He was the first French organist to achieve this distinction in the history of the competition. André Isoir served as organist at St.-Médard from 1952 to 1957, at St.-Séverin from 1967 to 1973, and at the Abbatial Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris from 1973. As a recitalist, he became particularly well known for his performances of the works of J.S. Bach.



This is the second time Isoir has tackled the de Grigny oeuvre. These recordings were taped by Radio France at Saint-Michel-en-Thiérache in 1992. Twenty years earlier, the organist set down his interpretations for the Calliope label, using two organs – l’orgue Clicquot de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Poitiers and the Grand Orgue Jean Esprit Isnard de la Basilique de St Maximin la Sainte Baume. Since I have these earlier recordings, I made a head-to-head comparison. The two recordings are interpretively close, which is hardly surprising, and both adhere to very similar sounding registrations. The earlier set is more closely recorded, with some distance placed between the organ and the listener in the later version.

I am impressed by Isoir’s handling of registrations, in which he fully explores the Saint-Michel-en-Thiérache organ’s full potential. The liner notes, in French and English, give a brief history of the instrument and provide a list of its specifications. Radio France have achieved a warmer and more intimate sound than that found in the earlier set. The reissue of this 1992 cycle is a tribute to the great organist André Isoir who died in 2016.

– MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
1. Premier livre d'orgue by Nicholas de Grigny
Performer: André Isoir (Organ)
Period: Baroque
Written: by 1699 ; France
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