Born into a family of Italian origins, Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772) lived in France during the reign of Louis XIV, studied with Louis Marchand, and in 1739 was named organist of the Chapelle Royale. In 1755, he was also appointed organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral. The music for which he is now best known is the Nouveau Livre de noëls, a collection of variations on traditional French Christmas songs.
The noël has a distinguished lineage in French musical history, as the nearest equivalent to the English carol,
an expression of joy at Christmas-time. Thus they are popular songs, of simple form, memorable melody and
often pastoral character, telling the story not only of the birth of Christ but of the shepherds who rush to see the infant in the manger in Bethlehem. Cheaply produced anthologies of such songs proliferated in 17th-century France, and instrumental arrangements became increasingly popular.
Every composer of note in that period would produce their own collection, especially if they had a post in a chapel or liturgical responsibilities, and the scores of these arrangements thus survive in greater number than the original noëls themselves. Just as the greater liturgical freedom of Midnight Mass permitted the singing of noëls from the late 12th century, so too in the second half of the 17th century did it provide the organist with the opportunity to introduce variations on the currently popular tunes. With the French Revolution the genre fell from favour but was revived in Paris in the late 19th century, with examples by Franck, Guilmant and Tournemire. The noels of Daquin remain pre-eminent, however, for their charm and vivacity.
Adriano Falcioni has made several recordings for Brilliant Classics which have been warmly welcomed by the international press: among them substantial or complete collections of organ music by Couperin (BC94333), Franck (BC94349) and Durufle (BC92640). On this new set, recorded in July 2017, he plays the organ of l'Abbaye de Saint Guilhem le Désert in the Hérault region of France.
Born into a family of Italian origins, Louis-Claude Daquin lived in France during the reign of Louis XIV. He studied with Louis Marchand, and in 1739 was named organist of the Chapelle Royale. In 1755, he was also appointed organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral. His most important composition for organ is the Nouveau Livre de noëls, a collection of variations on traditional French Christmas songs.
The “Noëls” are very attractive organ pieces, depicting in musical terms the history of the birth of Christ, and expressing the warm, intimate and pastoral atmosphere of Christmas Time.
Played by Adriano Falcioni on the magnificent historic Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Gellone Abbey in St-Guilhem le Désert, built in 1782 and perfectly suited for the recording of Daquin’s Noëls.
The booklet provides all information on the organ, including its disposition.