Josse-François-Joseph Benaut (c.1743, Gullegem, Belgium - 13 July 1794, in what is now Place de la Nation, Paris) was a Belgian composer, organist and harpsichordist who was guillotined during the French Revolution. His father Charles Benaut was an organist in Wulveringen in Flanders. Josse-François-Joseph Benaut set himself up in Paris as a harpsichord tutor and in 1771 married the daughter of a Flemish merchant.
I had given serious thought about doing some French Baroque Noëls, but nothing really appealed to me. However, I found this collection this morning, as well as another similar one, which I hope to do tomorrow.
Despite the fact these are titled "Pièces d’Orgue," they are not a suite. Rather, these were intended to be played during vespers, when the Magnificant is performed "in alternatim." That means, a verse is sung, followed by the organ playing to "replace" the chanting of the next verse, etc.
The idea of using Noëls is both clever and effective. It's clever, because the congregations of the day would have recognized these melodies, and effective, because they are quite "rustic," and really show the colors of the organ.
Published in November of 1776, the style of the music is "simple." There is nothing "deep" here. Peasant dances alternate with royal fanfares, bagpipes, and love songs. Some are technically tricky, but all very manageable.
This collection in D minor, is the larger of the two. I hope to do the G major one, probably on this organ, tomorrow.
The score is attached, and the individual Noëls , the registrations, and the timings are given in the first comment.