Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (19 December 1676 – 26 October 1749) was a French musician, best known as an organist and composer. He was born and died in Paris.
He came from a musical family (his father and two of his sons were also musicians). While very young, he learned to play the violin and harpsichord and he studied the organ with André Raison, and composition and voice with Jean-Baptiste Moreau.
Clérambault became the organist at the church of the Grands-Augustins and entered the service of Madame de Maintenon. After the death of Louis XIV and Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, he succeeded the latter at the organ of the church of Saint-Sulpice and the royal house of Saint-Cyr, an institution for young girls from the poor nobility. He was responsible there for music, the organ, directing chants and choir, etc. It was in this post—it remained his after the death of Madame de Maintenon—that he developed the genre of the "French cantata" of which he was the uncontested master. In 1719 he succeeded his teacher André Raison at the organs of the church of the Grands-Jacobins.
The well-known Suite du Premier Ton comes from his 1710 publication. In choosing the big Hinz organ, a "wrong" instrument, instead of a proper French one, this started out as an "experiment" in sound and acoustic. Afterr having played it and listened to the playback, I think this is about as good as I can play this music. Does ANY composer use such wonderfully mystic harmonies and colors? Is the music sad, elegant, grand, or a little of each. At times the harmonies seem to recur from movement to movement, but the variety is rich from start to finish. The colors, while not always exactly French, are always gorgeous, and the acoustic and the effect it creates is, in a word, spectacular.