Dornel occupied several organist posts in Paris over a period from 1714 to 1748. In 1719 he was appointed to the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève, following the death of André Raison. From 1725 to 1742, Dornel was appointed successor to du Boussetto as the music master of the Académie Française. He was required to compose a large-scale motet for choir and orchestra to be performed by the Académie each year on the feast of Saint Louis (25th August), but none survive. Dornel's works for harpsicord and for organ were well-regarded at the time.
Little more is known about the rest of his career, other than that his last surviving organ manuscript is dated 1756. As Dornel was not a salaried court musician, he had to respond to the tastes of the concert societies set up by the French aristocracy, and in particular to the popularity of the sonata form promoted by the Italian-educated Marc-Antoine Charpentier, as well as of traditional suites of French dances. His surviving work includes four books of chamber music, a collection of pieces for harpsichord (1731), vocal music entitled Airs sérieux (1706), four cantatas, and a series of unpublished organ pieces. He was also author of a book of music theory published in 1745, Le tour du clavier sur tous les tons. A series of unpublished organ pieces (c. 1756) survives in manuscript (Bibliothèque Ste-Geneviève, Paris), and were published by Norbert Dufourcq in 1965. Read more on Last.fm.
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