Brice Montagnoux Plays Couperin: Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux

The French organist and Baroque specialist, Brice Montagnoux, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 27. He was 44. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

In addition to performing internationally, Montagnoux served as professor of organ at the Conservatoire TPM in Toulon. In 2012, he became director of Institut d’Enseignement Supérieur de la Musique in Aix-en-Provence. Montagnoux is survived by his wife, Eva Villegas, a clarinetist. The two performed together frequently as a duo.

Here, Brice Montagnoux performs Offertoire sur les grands jeux by François Couperin (1668–1733). It’s an excerpt from one of the “organ masses” which were included in Couperin’s Pieces d’orgue, published in 1690. The “organ masses” are a collection of brief organ interludes which alternate with Gregorian chant during the singing of the Mass. The opening of Offertoire sur les grands jeux resembles a French Overture, with stately dotted rhythms. This is followed by a fugue, built on a four-note subject, which is tinged with melancholy. The final section of the piece takes a sudden sunny turn. A new, skipping subject emerges which transforms the Offertoire into a joyful dance.

This performance was recorded at the thirteenth century Basilique de Saint-Maximin la Sainte-Baume in southern France. The organ was built by Jean-Esprit and Joseph Isnard between 1772-1774.

Featured Image: Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, photograph by Thierry Llansades

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “Brice Montagnoux Plays Couperin: Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux”

  1. Timothy, I played this magnificent piece as the “opener” for my senior recital in 1979. I still adore the piece due to its lavish “Frenchness.” I am so sorry to read of the death of Montagoux. He has delivered a wonderful performance! Mon chapeau est Eloigne! (Although mon Francais est terrible.)

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