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(1680 - 1756)

There is sadly little biographical information about the Parisian organist and composer Louis-Antoine Dornel. The date of his birth can be established at around 1680, though his place of birth remains unknown. His death is also unrecorded, though in 1780 La Borde’s Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne reports that Dornel had died 25 years earlier at the age of 75, placing his death during the second half of the 1750s.

It is possible that Dornel was a pupil of the organist Nicolas Lebègue; in 1706 he succeeded François D’Agincourt as organist at Sainte Madeleine-en-la-Cité, following a competition with Jean-Philippe Rameau, who had been unable to persuade the church authorities to agree to his terms for accepting the post. Dornel left his post in 1716 to take up a temporary position at l’Abbaye Ste-Geneviève which became permanent on the death of André Raison in 1719. Dornel is also known to have played at Ste-Geneviève-des-Ardents, and St-Germain-le-Viel. His position as maître de musique at the Académie française between 1725 and 1742 afforded him opportunities to compose motets for choir and orchestra, many of which were performed at Paris’s pioneering public concert series, the Concert Spirituel.

Several of Dornel’s contemporaries speak highly of his accomplishments in the field of instrumental music. These include Nemeitz, the famous traveller and writer who visited Paris in 1713 (the same year that Dornel’s Sonates en Trio, Op. 3, appeared) and La Borde, who comments that Dornel “avait beaucoup de réputation dans son temps” (“had a great reputation in his time”). Dornel’s surviving instrumental works include the Livre de Simphonies contenant six Suittes en Trio…avec une Sonate en Quatuor, Op. 1 (1709), the Sonates à Violon seul et Suites pour la Flûte traversière, Op. 2 (1711), a set of Sonates en trio, Op.3 (1713), a further set of Concerts de Simphonies…contenant six Concerts en Trio…(1723), and the Pièces de clavecin (1731). A number of organ pieces have also survived along with the theoretical treatise Le tour du clavier sur tous les tons majeurs et mineurs (1745).

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BOISMORTIER / DORNEL: Concertos and Sonatas Dynamic
Chamber Music
DORNEL, L.-A.: 6 Suittes en Trio (Musica Barocca) Naxos
Chamber Music
DORNEL, L.-A.: La Triomphante - Chamber Music for Recorders, Flute and Continuo (Passacaglia) Naxos
Chamber Music, Instrumental, Chamber Music, Instrumental, Chamber Music

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