Louis Marchand had the bad fortune to accost Johann Sebastian Bach in a famed musical contest, in which he was resoundingly defeated and thereby gained a place in every subsequent study of the “Great Composers”. His music is much better firsthand than might have been indicated in these accounts, and without a doubt, the fundamental difference between French music and German had to do with Marchand’s dismal showing — from a German viewpoint. Born in Lyon, Marchand was the organist at the Royal Chapel from 1708 to 1714, then fell from favor and was exiled to Dresden in 1717 where he was unlucky enough to cross the great Bach, then in his thirties.
On the recording Historic Organs of Europe (ORYX EXP 5) Side A, Band 3 is a work listed: “Souvigny, France. Cliquot 1782 Louis Marchand: Dialogue Played by Michel Chapuis”, with the following liner note: Side A band 3: Now to France, to hear the magnificent, incomparable sound of French reeds. Here we have the music of Louis Marchand — “Dialogue” — played on the Cliquot organ of 1782 at Souvigny.
The complete record of Marchand at Souvigny, played by Michel Chapuis is on ORYX 504.
Martin Fendley, Organist/Choir Director in USA, writes:
Your comments regarding the “contest” between JSB & Marchand is not factual according to the available data. The performance of the two men was arranged, but Marchand left town early in the morning the day of the contest — perhaps in fear for his reputation, or other reasons (no one knows).