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Notre Dame Console


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I was shocked recently of the construction of the console of the main organ at notre dame paris on a recent visit.

I have been told that french organ builders

are not very good at building organ consoles. Anyone with comments?

 

 

What exactly shocked you ? Was it (1) so badly built it was falling to bits or (2) built like a rock but very inconveniently laid out for practical use or (3) neither of these , but still seriously flawed ?

 

Brian Childs

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I find this console isn't very beautyfull... If you can see the old Cavaillé-Coll's console at the Museeum... that's a really monument!

 

French organbuilders? Who? I agree when you see the Aubertin's consoles with very short unconfortable keyboards (I have big hands and I can play C-g on this sort of keyboards...).

 

Cavaillé-Coll or Puget made very pratical consoles, the same for Dalstein-Haerpfer. For neobaroc instruments, the Alfred Kern organs are like Bentley or Rolls Royce for car. After... it's thru, that's maybe very difficult.

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In french I would say : "mais euh..." (buuuut...).

 

Many great organs have electronic combinations, it's like machintosh... just one button on the mouse... you don't have to use manual stops when you play. Just "+1".

 

Hi

 

FIne if you can plan exactly what registration yu want when - recitals, etc. But relying on the sequencer would, I think, be very limiting for improvisations, and I would find it impossible for service playing, as I like to be able to respond to the way the congregation is singing. No matter how many pistons, etc there are, I think an organ console should make hand registration as simple as possible.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I was shocked recently of the construction of the console of the main organ at notre dame paris on a recent visit.

I have been told that french organ builders

are not very good at building organ consoles. Anyone with comments?

 

As far as I know, the "Cochereau console" was American. So if there's anything left of it, it won't be very french.

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The case at Evreux is decidedly quirky too - mind you not many builders/architects seem to take the bull by the horns as far as case design goes!!

 

AJJ

http://orgues.evreux.free.fr/photos/jacque...ecathedrale.jpg

 

The console is ghastly - all that black gloss!!! And whatever is all the clutter we can see beneath the manuals? The case is bizarre. One can only hope it sounds better than it looks.

 

What the devil is that wall across the nave in front of the organ? It has all the charm of a concrete bomb shelter.

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This organ filled 13 (tirtheenth) pages on the french organ Forum...

According to the people who knows its builder, we should expect

something interesting as far as tonal matters are concerned.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

The composition is very DomBedos-ish, it'll probably sound 'good', but from the specs I don't expect something that knocks you of your feet :lol:

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The composition is very DomBedos-ish, it'll probably sound 'good', but from the specs I don't expect something that knocks you of your feet  :lol:

 

This is of course a matter of taste -mines are already too well known here-.

This design, as well as a majority that are done worldwide today, fits in a

kind of "Post-néo-baroque" style.

Style is one thing, quality another one.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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This is of course a matter of taste -mines are already too well known here-.

This design, as well as a majority that are done worldwide today, fits in a

kind of "Post-néo-baroque" style.

Style is one thing, quality another one.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

I say it's a pity: the casework looks promising, but then the composition is neo-neoclassical, the console is neo-ACC.

To much 'poldermodel' for my taste ....

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So far, so good.

 

Amongst the latest, most up-to-date designs there is choice, tough.

Add to the two previous ones Mander and Schoenstein, and we already

have a wide pallet of interesting styles. Or you could even end up

with something like this:

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/PD...c/Angebot_A.pdf

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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In reply a the original comment the condition of the Notre Dame console.

it looked poorly construction. the quality of woodwork was poor. the stop jabs are not straight , the keyboards look uneven. Compare to Peterbourgh Cathedral's

console which i had the chance to play recently the notre dame console looked awfull.

But the sound..... superb!

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In reply a the original comment the condition of the Notre Dame console.

it looked poorly construction. the quality of woodwork was poor. the stop jabs are not straight , the keyboards look uneven. Compare to Peterbourgh Cathedral's

console which i had the chance to play recently the notre dame console looked awfull.

But the sound..... superb!

 

Well, Peterborough has just been restored and re-instated after fire damage, so I assume that H&H have made sure that it is in absolutely top condition - possibly not the fairest of comparisons.

 

Incidentally, Cochereau's console was not American - it was modelled on a so-called 'Anglo-American style' (i.e., with drawstops for the speaking stops on angled jambs and the couplers as rocking tablets above the fifth clavier).

 

The case and frame of the present console is new. That constructed for PC in 1962-3 was only chipboard with a thin veneer. The present console is rather more solidly-constructed.

 

Insofar as the state of the console is concerned, I am puzzled. I have seen it 'up close and personal' (as it were) on a number of occasions and have also sat at it. Certainly the last time I saw it, it was in good condition. I was able to take many photographs of it, including several of Léfèbvre whilst he was improvising during a Mass.

 

The keys probably would look a little uneven. They are from the Cochereau console (as were the thumb and toe pistons) and were made by Herrburger Brooks, Long Eaton, Nottingham; (as were those for the now-defunct toaster at Christchurch Priory, Dorset). The stop jambs are, as far as I know, straight and true. However, when the new console was being hoisted into position in 1992, it fell (not far, though) so it probably got a little shaken-up - which may account for any perceived mis-alignment.

 

I cannot agree with Cavaille-Cool regarding the old amphitheatre-style console. It is currently in a very bad state, with missing stop-heads and inserts and some broken key ivories. In addition, Vierne had caused small lights to be fitted to the extremes of each terrace, partly spoiling its contours and appearance. Now if this console had been in the state of preservation of that at S. Sulpice, there may be cause to regret its passing. However, the parish of N.-D. has never been wealthy and the State, whilst funding much of the work on the organ(s), moves slowly and occasionally refuses to underwrite the cost of certain restorations and improvements.

 

The sound is, as you say, superb! (Although I liked it better in its PC/Boisseau/Hermann incarnation!) :)

 

As for Evreux - BLEAH!

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Well, some of you spoke about Evreux / France.

 

So, some impressions from the field :

 

First, I think it is very easy to criticise an organ without having been on site. This is just unfair to its builder, whoever it is.

 

 

Now, concerning the console : it is true that the photo published on the website of Evreux does not make any kind of justice to the reality.

 

The reality is that all what is black (or looks like mirrors) on the photo is actually black lacquered, like a nice concert piano. Just above the console, there is a marvelous panel, black laquered too with shapes of triangles drawns with various shades of gold. And the result is really superb (at least to me), and really incitates and inspires you to play.

 

 

Concerning the case : The adequation with the cathedral itself is incredibly impressive. It is nice and tall, very elegant. The various shapes and paintings are truely splendid (doors to close the organ).

 

 

Concerning the specification : please do not think that it will be a neo-baroque organ. The first sounds are not baroque, but truly modern, very quick, and elegant. Everything speaks promptly, and very naturally, and you can hear every tiny details. It is really something.

 

 

I am personnaly quite sure that this organ will be something exceptional, with a very strong personality, and allowing for an extremely wide repertoire.

 

 

That is my personal opinion, at least. And I invite anybody to come on site to make up his own mind, rather that judging an instrument from a computer keyboard !

 

Best regards,

 

Pierre-F. Baron / France

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Well, some of you spoke about Evreux / France.

 

So, some impressions from the field :

 

First, I think it is very easy to criticise an organ without having been on site. This is just unfair to its builder, whoever it is.

Now, concerning the console : it is true that the photo published on the website of Evreux does not make any kind of justice to the reality.

 

The reality is that all what is black (or looks like mirrors) on the photo is actually black lacquered, like a nice concert piano. Just above the console, there is a marvelous panel, black laquered too with shapes of triangles drawns with various shades of gold. And the result is really superb (at least to me), and really incitates and inspires you to play.

Concerning the case : The adequation with the cathedral itself is incredibly impressive. It is nice and tall, very elegant. The various shapes and paintings are truely splendid (doors to close the organ).

Concerning the specification : please do not think that it will be a neo-baroque organ. The first sounds are not baroque, but truly modern, very quick, and elegant. Everything speaks promptly, and very naturally, and you can hear every tiny details. It is really something.

I am personnaly quite sure that this organ will be something exceptional, with a very strong personality, and allowing for an extremely wide repertoire.

That is my personal opinion, at least. And I invite anybody to come on site to make up his own mind, rather that judging an instrument from a computer keyboard !

 

Best regards,

 

Pierre-F. Baron / France

 

It all looks spectacular to me, including the console. The case is a real architectural gem and fits in well with the older architecture of the church. This looks like really imaginative and inspired work and visually, at least, it all looks like a breath of fresh air. The case designer has been very bold in doing something, which is not the norn, not a cliché or a piece of pastiche. I fear that all too often, new instruments look like pastiche reworkings of classic old 18th century cases and this looks like a refreshing change to me and a product of our own times. I look forward to hearing this instrument some day, because it certainly looks like it has a lot of character.

 

I'm a little puzzled by reading (if I read it correctly) that the 32ft reed on the Pédale was accoustic. Is this achieved in the same way as accoustic 32fts in flue ranks? I would have liked to have seen a real 32ft flue rank in the Pédale.

 

Somebody asked about the temporary wall that was there. I can imagine the pictures may have been taken before installation was fully complete and the temporary wall was there to hide the builder's on-site workshop from the rest of the church.

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I'm a little puzzled by reading (if I read it correctly) that the 32ft reed on the Pédale was accoustic. Is this achieved in the same way as accoustic 32fts in flue ranks? I would have liked to have seen a real 32ft flue rank in the Pédale.

 

The bombarde being 'Acoustic' (or 'acoustique') probably means 'half-length' in this case.

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I'm a little puzzled by reading (if I read it correctly) that the 32ft reed on the Pédale was accoustic. Is this achieved in the same way as accoustic 32fts in flue ranks? I would have liked to have seen a real 32ft flue rank in the Pédale.

 

Somebody asked about the temporary wall that was there. I can imagine the pictures may have been taken before installation was fully complete and the temporary wall was there to hide the builder's on-site workshop from the rest of the church.

 

The 32 reed is actually half length, made of wood.

 

Concerning the pedal, P. Quoirin prefered to design a relatively compact one, in order to avoid to have the rear of the case too crammed. So, the idea of full length 32ft has been given up quite rapidly during the design phase.

 

The pedal chests are "perpendicular" to the façade, almost at floor level, in the rear half of the cylinder.

 

This means that the manual divisions can use the concave inner surface of the cylinder as a reflector (this could not have been possible with a bigger pedal), which, together with the "doors" at front pipe level, makes an incredibly efficient organ case, as far as the sound is concerned.

 

Concerning the 32 ft. Jeu de Tierce (Quint 10 2/3 + Tierce 6 2/5), it is really extremely efficient, and quickly consolates you from a full length 32ft flue stop.

 

Concerning the manuals, the whole organ is vertical : Positif de Dos, GO just behind the feet of the main façade, Bombarde one level above, and the recit still one level above, and slightly behind.

 

The two "covers" you can see on the photos on the two cases act as reflectors.

 

And the result (only partial at the time of my visit, as voicing (mainly on site, as very often in our country) was under process), but everything which was already made was very much alive and impressive.

 

Best regards to all of you

 

PF Baron

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