THE GREAT ORGAN 1/5 the organ of Franck 1 - the organ of Franck 2 - the organ of Tournemire - the organ of Langlais - the organ of Taddei

COMPOSITION 1933

The delivery of the organ

Aristide Cavaillé-Coll made the design of the organ of the Ste. Clotilde in 1853, on the basis of a preliminary sketch of the architect of the church (François Gau), using an old design he made in 1849 for an organ in the Cathedral of Bayonne (this organ was never was built). The construction of the organ was completed six years later in 1859. Work had not begun in April 1855, as Cavaillé-Coll stated in a letter to the authorities that he did not yet receive the final plans for the organcase. This case was installed finally in the summer 1857 and Cavaillé-Coll reported in September 1857 that almost all parts of the planned instrument had been finished. The church was consecrated on 30 November 1857, but the organ has not been delivered until the latter half of 1859. During these two years, two small organs were hire from Cavaillé-Coll: the first, with four stops, was used from december 1857 unti march 1858. It was then replaced by a bigger organ of 14 stops de 14 jeux that was used until the Great organ was reinaugurated.

CHANGING OF PLANS 1853-1859

There are several hypotheses about thE radical change in the original

plans of Cavaillé-Coll, resulting in a two-year delivery delay:

1 Change of the architect

At the beginning of the fall of 1853, the architect Gau ceded his place

to his younger assistant Théodore Ballu, who changed the

construction of the façade and towers, creating significant changes

to the position of the tribune and the organcase which could have

forced Cavaillé-Coll to change his plans radically.

The architect installed the buffet (in a neo-Gothic style) on the

second floor of a high wooden case, carved by Pyanet and Th.

Lechesne. The first floor was designed for the choir, accessible by a

staircase from the inside of the church. The upper gallery (level of the

Great Organ) was accessible by an another staircase, only accessible

from the exterior of the church. This construction implied that the

organ tribune was placed very high and that Cavaillé-Coll had little

space to position the organ. Looking at the organ, it seems the organ

has plenty of space, but the turrets of the organ are placed before a

very heavy arc that forms the connection between the two towers of

the basilica. The organ had therefore to be built mainly in the depth

(backwards). This space problem was solved partially by expanding

the side turrets of the organ to the front of the gallery itself, which

created (limited) place for the Great Organ.

It is clear that his high position and its construction towards the back

of the organ loft created a significant problem for the sound of the

organ in the church. Indeed, the bottom of the organ case is at the

back three meters and at the front two metres above the level of the

tribune where the console was placed. Probably, Cavaillé-Coll did not

know at the time he wrote his prfeliminary proposal for the design of

the instrument in 1853. Indeed, in 1855 he wrote to the prefect that he

did not receive the final plans for the buffet of organ yet from the

architect. These plans confronted Cavaillé-Coll with a completely new

situation on a very late time. As a result, his initial plan was not

appropriate anymore and he had to change them to a significant

extent to obtain a satisfactory result***.

2 Influence of César Franck

Franck was named maître de chapelle and intended organiste-

titulaire of the new organ in 1857 and in this role he may have

exercised a great influence on the final design of organ and its

composition.

3 Change of the point of view of the builder himself

In the four years between 1853 and 1857 Cavaillé-Coll’s opinion and

vision had time to mature further, and accordingly it is possible he

changed his own ideas about the ideal design of this organ; by the

way: Cavaillé-Coll often changed his plans quite thoroughly during

the building phase of his organs.

In this regard, the following novelty should be noted, which could be

realized due to the changes that Cavaillé-Coll made in the concept

**** :

this organ is completely designed from a dynamic perspective to

obtain a huge crescendo. The basson-hautbois of the Swell, which

disrupts the piano with the Swell box closed, joins the ‘fonds’ of the

other keyboards, is situated on the funds-case, so that the jeux des

combination are reserved for the reeds-battery. To play increasingly

stronger, the organist has simply to pull almost all stops (those

constituting the Grand Choeur), to close the Swell box (funds +

Hautbois), push the couple Swell/Great Organ - but this did not work

at Sainte Clotilde - and play on the Grand organ, then add the

Positive/Great Organ coupling, and then the appel Great Organ, and

then to add the jeux de combinaisons of the Positive and finally the

Great organ and Pedal. There are two pedal couplers, the Postif

couple pulls the Swell couple, the Couple great Organ pulls the

Positive couple; one has to be careful not to add the Great organ

coupler until the moment that one plays on that keyboard. Some

writers and performers did mention the absence of coupler Pedal-

Swell and the coupler and coupler Swell/Great Organ, but in the logic

of the crescendo when going down on the keyboards, this coupler

qwould be superfluous in as much as Swell/Positive and

Positive/Great Organ do function in a cascading way.

4 Hypothesis of Helga Schauerte

She argued that the organ suffered a further delay in completion

(until 1863) due to the fact that - just before the official inauguration

in december 1859 - workers damaged the organ severely when

placing the cornice othe organ. Cavaillé-Coll had to repair or

reconstruct the damaged mechanisms and may have choosed to

keep things simple by reversing the order of the manuals, and thus

realising a more simple transmission for the GO (Helga Schauerte-

Maubouet Théodore Dubois et César Franck à Sainte-Clotilde La

tradition musicale de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde de Paris L’Orgue n°

278-279 (2007/II-III) 7-14 ISSN 0030-5170).

THE ORGAN OF CESAR FRANCK 1/2

There are no data other than newspaper articles from that time which contain the precise composition of the organ in 1859. However, a reconstruction of the composition from later sources clearly indicates that the instrument delivered in 1859 was very different from the preliminary design of 1853. The main differences were: changing keyboards function: the design of 1853 was still classical: the Great played on the second keyboard, the positif on the first keyboard; on the instrument delivered in 1859 the Great was the first keyboard, the positive the second keyboard; extension of composition with six stops by elimination of some stops and adding other; different distribution of the jeux de fonds and the jeux de combinaisons, with consequently some new windchests*; second machine Barker (positif); new mechanics; adaptation of the wind supply the size of the pedal was extended from 25 to 27 notes. An indication of the seriousness of these interventions are the costs, which were finally almost 1 ½ times higher than expected. Cavaillé-Coll explained these higher costs to Ballu claiming that the circumstances were very unusual, involving much more work and expenses than expected.
The organ was harmonized by Gabriel Reinburg. It was not Franck who made the instrument sound first. Lefébure-Wely was commissioned to play the new organ on the occasion of two social weddings celebrated on 20 and 29 September at the insistence of the Duchess of Alba and the Bishop of Carcassonne who officiated that day. The inauguration** of the organ, originally scheduled for 5 December, took place on 19 December 1859. Franck and Lefébure-Wely shared the keyboards on this occasion. The program was as follows: César FRANCK: Final (by César Franck) J.S. BACH: Prelude & Fugue in E minor BWV 533 ( by César Franck) L.J. LEFEBURE-WELY : Three improvisations on famous Christmas hymns (Adeste Fideles, Grand-Choeur on Il est né le Divin enfant). Canon Hamelin, the parish priest, proceeded to his blessing some time later.
Cavaillé-Coll wrote a few lines on the subject of the sound conception and mechanics at the time of the construction of the organ of Ste Clotilde : **** Cet orgue est complètement conçu dans une perspective dynamique en vue d’un gigantesque crescendo. Le Basson-Hautbois du Récit, qui intervient dans la nuance piano, boîte fermée, accouple aux jeux de fonds des autres claviers, est sur la laye des fonds, de façon à réserver celle des jeux de combinaison aux anches de batterie. Pour jouer de plus en plus fort, il suffit à l’organiste de tirer presque tous les jeux (ceux composant le grand chœur), de fermer la boite du Récit (fonds+hautbois), de mettre l’accouplement Récit/Grand Orgue – mais cela ne fonctionnait pas à Sainte Clotilde - et de jouer au Grand Orgue, puis d’ajouter l’accouplement Positif/Grand Orgue, puis l’appel Grand Orgue, puis, parvenu à ce stade, d’appeler les jeux de combinaison du Positif et enfin du Grand Orgue et de la Pédale. Il y a deux tirasses, celle du Positif entraine l’accouplement Récit, celle du Grand Orgue entraine l’accouplement Positif, on aura soin de ne mettre la tirasse Grand Orgue qu’au moment de jouer sur ce clavier. Certains auteurs et interprètes remarquent l’absence de Tirasse Récit et d’accouplement Récit/Grand Orgue, qui sont inutiles dans la mesure où les accouplements Récit/Positif et Positif/Grand Orgue fonctionnent en cascade.

Maintenance works on the organ 1859-1933

Before the major works in 1933, the organ had maintenance in 1891 (without significant changes) and at the beginning of the 20th century (at that point, the 'Pédale d'orage' was replaced by a 'Tirasse Récit') by Mutin (Cavaillé-Coll's successor). Probably also in this period, the spoonlike swellpedal (with three positions: closed, half-open and open) was replaced by balanced pedal.***

The original console - the recordings of 1930-32 - eyewitness reports

* it is likely that various parts of the never finished 1853-organ have been used for the organ of Saint Martin in Bergues, built in 1858 by Cavaillé-Coll. ** Helga Schauerte argued that the organ - despite its inauguration in 1859 - was not finished before fall 1863, and that Franck was officially appointed as organiste titulaire at that moment (Helga Schauerte- Maubouet Théodore Dubois et César Franck à Sainte-Clotilde La tradition musicale de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde de Paris L’Orgue n° 278-279 (2007/II-III) 7-14 ISSN 0030-5170). *** already in 1844, Cvaillé-Coll stated in a letter: 'Architects, at least in France, are the enemies of organ-builders. If they can imprison us, they will not hesitate to do so in order to preserve architectural lines'. (in: Fenner Douglas, 1999, p 183) **** Source : Roland Galtier Innovations techniques et musicales chez Cavaillé-Coll des débuts à l’orgue de Sainte-Clotilde. La Flûte Harmonique Numéro 97 Assocation Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, Paris, 2015.
THE GREAT ORGAN 1/5 the organ of Franck 1 - the organ of Franck 2 - the organ of Tournemire - the organ of Langlais - the organ of Taddei

THE ORGAN OF CESAR FRANCK 1/2

The delivery of the organ

Aristide Cavaillé-Coll made the design of the organ of the Ste. Clotilde in 1853, on the basis of a preliminary sketch of the architect of the church (François Gau), using an old design he made in 1849 for an organ in the Cathedral of Bayonne (this organ was never was built). The construction of the organ was completed six years later in 1859. Work had not begun in April 1855, as Cavaillé-Coll stated in a letter to the authorities that he did not yet receive the final plans for the organcase. This case was installed finally in the summer 1857 and Cavaillé-Coll reported in September 1857 that almost all parts of the planned instrument had been finished. The church was consecrated on 30 November 1857, but the organ has not been delivered until the latter half of 1859. During these two years, two small organs were hire from Cavaillé-Coll: the first, with four stops, was used from december 1857 unti march 1858. It was then replaced by a bigger organ of 14 stops de 14 jeux that was used until the Great organ was reinaugurated.
The organ was harmonized by Gabriel Reinburg. It was not Franck who made the instrument sound first. Lefébure-Wely was commissioned to play the new organ on the occasion of two social weddings celebrated on 20 and 29 September at the insistence of the Duchess of Alba and the Bishop of Carcassonne who officiated that day. The inauguration** of the organ, originally scheduled for 5 December, took place on 19 December 1859. Franck and Lefébure-Wely shared the keyboards on this occasion. The program was as follows: César FRANCK: Final (by César Franck) J.S. BACH: Prelude & Fugue in E minor BWV 533 ( by César Franck) L.J. LEFEBURE-WELY : Three improvisations on famous Christmas hymns (Adeste Fideles, Grand- Choeur on Il est né le Divin enfant). Canon Hamelin, the parish priest, proceeded to his blessing some time later.

Maintenance works on the organ 1859-1933

Before the major works in 1933, the organ had maintenance in 1891 (without significant changes) and at the beginning of the 20th century (at that point, the 'Pédale d'orage' was replaced by a 'Tirasse Récit') by Mutin (Cavaillé-Coll's successor). Probably also in this period, the spoonlike swellpedal (with three positions: closed, half-open and open) was replaced by balanced pedal.***

The original console - the recordings of

1930-32 - eyewitness reports

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