Using the Tremulant in French Classical Literature

Jonathan Young

Monday, June 20, 9:30 AM
Meeting Room 337.A-B

French organ books of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries contain a surprising prescription for the use of the tremulant: namely, in the Grand jeu reed combination. Performers today are often reluctant to experiment with the tremulant in this registration on modern instruments, usually on the grounds that period tremulants differed in construction from those on today’s organs.

This presentation will familiarize listeners with primary source materials prescribing and proscribing the use of the tremulant in French organ music and the design and function of the types of tremulant in use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, referencing various theorists, composers, and builders, with the goal of arriving at a better understanding of when it may be appropriate to use tremulants in modern performances of French Classical literature and deepening our understanding of this unique performance practice tradition.

Jonathan Young is Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, Illinois, and a student in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Illinois; he holds degrees in organ performance from Pacific Lutheran University and the Eastman School of Music. Jonathan has served in a number of denominations as a music director and organist, has been a Tonal Department Associate at Buzard Pipe Organ Builders, and was Visiting University Organist at PLU for the 2009-2010 academic year. He has presented programs across the country through the Westfield Center and AGO, and has appeared as a soloist and accompanist with university and community choirs and early music groups.