tjtikker Posted September 3, 2005 Share Posted September 3, 2005 Nov 10 2004, 06:11 PM Post #5 >The organ at Albi's Cathedral today has very little from Moucherel left. Towards the end of the 19th century, Puget from Toulouse built a new large late-romantic instrument in the old case. Formentelli recently reconstituted a baroque organ, mainly by re-working Puget's pipes. As to the result, some like it, others do not. < BNL 112814 A/B I wish to comment on the above, which I found had been posted on this list last year. I visited the Albi organ in the Toulouse organ academy in July of 1982. At that time I not only played the organ for myself and heard several others play it, but I purchased the brochure on the history of the organ and its restoration, which I have before me now. The booklet gives a stop-by-stop inventory of pipes. Out of a total of 3,549 pipes, all of two are specifically listed as being by Puget (One each in the GO 16' & 8' Montres). Then 147 other pipes are listed as being of 19th-century or other uncertain origin. Thus it is clear that Formentelli's reconstruction is by no means a mere re-working of Puget's pipes. The inventory lists a very large number of Moucherel pipes; these, plus those from Lépine, Isnard and Peyroulous number 2,547 in total, clearly the large majority. Granted, these underwent revoicing in the romantic era -- the reeds even lost their original shallots and tongues -- but they are not Puget pipes. The organ was built 1734-36 by Christophe Moucherel, consisting of a Grand Orgue of 18 stops (with 16' Montre), a Positif of 11 stops (with 8' Montre), a 2-stop Récit from middle C, a 7-stop Écho from tenor C (with a plein-jeu, a rarity in 18th-century France), and 5-stop Pédale (with one-note ravalement, low C# playing AA). In 1747 François L'Épine and his eldest son Jean-François repaired the organ, also adding a Trompette and Clairon to the Positif, a 2nd Trompette to the Grand Orgue (replacing the 4' Flute), and a Bombarde to the Pédale. Joseph Isnard added a 7-stop Bombarde division to this organ in 1778-79; amazingly, it had not one but two 16' Bombardes! In the early 19th century one of the two Pédale 8' Flûtes was replaced with a 16' Bourdon, and the Écho lost its mixture. In 1824 Antoine Peyroulous of Toulouse moved one of these Bombardes to the Grand Orgue (where it replaced the Clairon, which in turn replaced the 2' Quarte de Nazard) , its place on its namesake clavier being taken by a new 8' Trompette. A Clarinette en chamade was added to the Positif over & above the contract, complimenting the one already on Isnard's Bombarde division. Changes towards romantic esthetic began in 1804-41, with work by the Frères Claude of Mirecourt. Various mixtures and mutations were replaced with flutes and strings. The work was very poorly received. Subsequent repairs were carried out by Ventouillac & Dubois in 1847, and Junk in 1856. Thibault Maucourt of Albi built a new 10-stop Récit in romantic style (compass from tenor C) in 1865, and modernized the couplers (no longer shove-couplers). Théodore Puget of Toulouse made various further changes between 1865 and 1903, in which latter year he proposed a major renovation. This produced a 4-manual organ (three manuals under expression) of 74 registers (8 of those in the Pédale being by extension) with tubular-pneumatic action. Received in November 1904, the organ was considered to be Puget's masterpiece. By the 1950s the organ's condition was seriously deteriorated. In 1971 Schwenkedel of Strasbourg dismantled the organ. The first proposal was for a new organ using the best of the old material doe an essentially new organ in a modern, neo-barique-influenced esthetic. But the plans changed as it was realized how much of the original organ had survived. The contract for restoration by Bartoloméo Formenteli of Pedemonte, Italy was signed 13 May 1977. The plans called for reconstruction of Moucherel's original organ, incorporating the changes and additions by the other builders up through 1825. The original GO and POS chests were restored, the others built new in period style. A new console in period style was constructed, with original key compasses (though the Pédale was extended up to f', but with a French-style pedlboard) and new mechanical action. As to my opinion of the restoration: I found the sound of the reeds thoroughly amazing, truly a glorious sound! The fluework however struck me as overall having rather a raw and sizzling sound, quite in contrast to other classical French organs I have heard. It was so pronounced that it was plainly audible as such even heard far down the nave, which was surprising. There were also a few revisionist items in the restoration which puzzled me. One especially was the placement of the (new, copied from Moucherel) Voix humaine on the Bombarde manual, where it never had been in the organ's entire history, nor would be on any other classical French organ. Furthermore, this meant that it was not located on the same manual as the foundation stops which were always drawn with it in classical practice (8' Bourdon & 4' Flûte). I suspect here the influence of Xavier Darasse, a consultant for the restoration project, who avoided using solo reeds with flue reinforcement. When I asked his assistance in registering a Dialogue de Voix humaine on this organ, he had me draw the lone voix humaine of the Bombarde and accompany it on the Grand Orgue 8' Montre alone -- no coupler, of course. - Timothy Tikker Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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