Dixit Dominus

and Xavier Janot (édition scientifique)

préface de
Bernard Dompnier

This psalm is dated 16 March 1768 and hand-signed by the composer. It is a “great French motet” alternating recits, an “angels chorus”, dialogues between a 5-voices chorus and a soloist. Composed at the Saintes cathedral, this Dixit à cinq can easily be related to the Petit Magnificat, written on the 25th of March of the same year. We know through the other dated works that Grénon composed either very much in advance, during the less busy periods of liturgical service, or at the last moment. This Dixit à cinq was probably sung at the same ceremonies than the Petit Magnificat.

As most of Grénon’s works, recits are given to male voices, children only sing the upper voice in the chorus, sometimes in divisions.

The first number titled “Dialogue” is a recit for a taille alternating with a small 3-voices-chorus (dessus, haute-contre and basse-taille). This was a rather unusual voice distribution at this time. The second number titled “Récit” also shows a sensitivity to voice colouring: the recit of a haute-contre conversing with 2 dessus and a small 3-voices chorus (2 dessus, 1 haute-contre), which is not the usual form of a recit.

The grand 5- and 6-voices choruses are in a more traditional form with fugues, “détachés” and “fusées” as can be found in Mondonville for example.

Georges Escoffier
(translation Philippe Do)


solistes, chœur à cinq voix et basse continue