The great organ Cavaillé-Coll

The Organ of Jean Langlais

Between 1956 and 1962, a drastic renovation of the organ was realized under the supervision of Jean Langlais, which adapted the organ more or less to the neo-baroque ideas of that time. These works were performed again by the Beuchet-Debierre-company.

The organ was electrified with electro-pneumatical stoptraction.
All wind facilities were altered, including the cancellation of the division of windpressures in the Great and (probably) the Positif.
A new console was installed with pistons and a crescendo pedal.

Changes in the stoplist:
- Great: Octave 4' was replaced by a Flûte 4' (perhaps this was done already in 1933).
- Positif: the Viole de gambe was replaced by a Larigot 1 1/3' ; the Flûte Octaviante 4 was cut 'on tone'.
- Swell: on the windchest of 1933: + Clairon 2’* + Principal italien 4'; the Flûte Octaviante 4 was cut 'on tone'.
- Pedal: the additional windchest of 1933 was modified to house three new stops besides the Soubasse 16: Prestant 4', Doublette 2' and Bourdon 8' (replacing the Quinte).

Unfortunately, there are no data on the actions of Beuchet-Debierre concerning the reharmonisation, but there can be no doubt this renovation changed the sound of the organ severely.
The following stops of Cavaillé-Coll were not present anymore:
- Octave 4 (Great); in 1933 replaced by a flûte 4
- Gambe 8 (Pos); removed in 1962
- Flute octaviante 4 (Pos and Swell); shortened in 1933
- Clairon 4 (Pos and Swell); fis2-f3 replaced by labial pipes


* According to Marie-Louise Langlais (video), her husband had heard the Clairon 2 of the organ of the Tabernacle of Salt Lake City, Utah (USA). He was impressed by it and wanted to have a full range of reeds (16-8-4-2) on the Swell of the organ of Sainte-Clotilde.


In 1983, Jacques Barberis did maintenance works under the direction of Jean Langlais.
The only effect of this work on the stoplist of the organ was the return of the Clarinette to the Positif. The Tierce and Piccolo were subsequently placed on a separate electro-pneumatic windchest.
The console was modified too to create a solid-state stop action with multiple channels of memory and an adjustable crescendo pedal.

Stoplist 1962

1983 Organ case-alimentation-traction-pipes

Console 1962 (Jean Langlais)

Langlais: Fantasy on B-A-C-H (1980)