Today is Maundy Thursday. It is called Holy Thursday in the Roman Church.
It commemorates the Washing of Feet, the Last Supper, and the Betrayal of Jesus.
It is a difficult and complex liturgical service, as it turns from an almost a celebratory mood to one of darkness and terror. It is the ONLY time in Lent that the Gloria in excelsis; is sung, often accompanied by the ringing of bells.
Nicolas de Grigny (baptized September 8, 1672 – November 30, 1703) was a French organist and composer. He died young and left behind a single collection of organ music, which together with the work of François Couperin, represents the pinnacle of French Baroque organ tradition.
He was born in 1672 in Reims in the parish of Saint-Pierre-Le-Vieil. The exact date of his birth is unknown; he was baptized on 8 September. He was born into a family of musicians: his father, his grandfather, and his Uncle Robert were organists at the Reims Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Pierre and St. Hilaire, respectively. Few details about his life are known, nothing at all about his formative years. Between 1693 and 1695 he served as organist of the abbey church of Saint Denis, in Paris (where his brother André de Grigny was sub-prior). It was also during that period that de Grigny studied with Nicolas Lebègue, who was by then one of the most famous French keyboard composers. By late 1697 de Grigny was appointed titular organist of Notre-Dame de Reims (the exact date of the appointment is not known), the city's famous cathedral in which French kings were crowned. In 1699 the composer published his Premier livre d'orgue in Paris. De Grigny died prematurely in 1703, aged 31.
This demonstrates just how astonishingly well the Willis, with its rich and dense plenum and French-influenced reeds can handle this music!
The score is attached below.