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The Jacquot-lavergne Organ Of Verdun Cathedral


Pierre Lauwers
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The 1930's period was a difficult one for the french organ, so that,

Alsace and Lorraine apart, true post-romantic french organs are seldom;

needless to say, out of this limited number, a majority have been "corrected"

by the "ta-ti-tuh-tah" tribe...

 

One major exception is the organ of Verdun Cathedral, built by a firm Marcel Dupré

ressorted to whenever he could

 

Photo and specifications:

 

http://frederic.chapelet.free.fr/verdun.htm

 

Sound files are now available here:

 

http://www.herisson.org/Verdun,%20ND,%20prog%201986.php

 

.....From this Website (worth a visit, with others french organs from the Département du Nord):

 

http://www.herisson.org/

 

Pierre

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Oh, great, recordings of this instrument are very rare...

 

And those silly ideas you mention about "purity", "decadence" etc. ruined lost of symphonic organs and almost all french post-symphonic organs, alas.

 

Thanks a lot !

 

N.B. I know this organ, I heard it and visited it, that's really an impressive instrument, with great subtility but also mighty power, and very nice to see inside.

I do love the stentor chorus, particularly the 8' stentor, sounding exactly like a horn !

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After the meeting concerning the Rostock Marien organ, I have been informed about similar questions regarding the Gonzalez organ of Reims Cathedral.. (A very "colourful" website...)

 

Gonzalez is seen as important builder of a neo-classical style. His large instrument for Radio France has just been relocated by Klais. He was important for the young Beckerath.

 

The Reims specification shows the typical mix of pipework in late romantic style with added short-cup reeds and bright upperwork.

 

Do french readers know more about the discussion there?

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We do have a thread about the Reims organ on the french Forum.

All are conscious this is an historic organ one cannot imagine whatever

about...

 

There are several "northern connections" with Victor Gonzalez; through

R. Von Beckerath, it seems he also was influenced by Frobenius.

There are, in particular, some strange Gonzalez Mixtures, flutey, and

with only one break throughouth the compass, voiced by V. Beckerath,

in early Gonzalez organs.

 

This whole story should be investigated further. The language is so high

a barrier in France that even the Von Beckerath influence is often

ignored....

 

Pierre

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There is an historic video (from the french national archives) here,

featuring the Reims Cathedral organ presented by its titular:

 

 

This whole period, with its transnational connections, still need

to be explained.

There is the Gonzalez-Von Beckerath connection, there is the time

Von Beckerath spended with Frobenius before going back again

in France, there is the Klais "Bauhaus" style.....And probable connections between

those people and Holtkamp in the U.S. We see there a common adventure, involving

players we now see as distinct ones.

 

In that matter we should not forget one of the inheritors of the Von Beckerath tradition

is our host.

 

Pierre

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There is an historic video (from the french national archives) here,

featuring the Reims Cathedral organ presented by its titular:

 

 

This whole period, with its transnational connections, still need

to be explained.

There is the Gonzalez-Von Beckerath connection, there is the time

Von Beckerath spended with Frobenius before going back again

in France, there is the Klais "Bauhaus" style.....And probable connections between

those people and Holtkamp in the U.S. We see there a common adventure, involving

players we now see as distinct ones.

 

In that matter we should not forget one of the inheritors of the Von Beckerath tradition

is our host.

 

Pierre

This is somewhat off-topic but is something that has intrigued me for a while. Orgue et Liturgie no 38 is entitled "Le Tombeau de Gonzalez" and contains musical tributes from a number of composers.

 

Dufourcq's preface expresses regret at the lack of contributions from some (named) composer but little about the contributions published.

 

I have three questions that I hope someone can help with:

 

1. Why was Duforcq so explicitly critical of Durufle, Langlais, Robert and Reboulet in the preface?

2. Duforcq was also championng Roethinger and Fleury but there's no mention here - what happened?

2. By the mid 50's Grunenwald's music was mostly 12-tone or 'name-spelling' in origin. The main melody of the Introduction and Aria looks like it spells something but |'ve failed to decode it. Any suggestions? Intriguingly the regestration schem seems to match the Reims organ. was it based on knowledge or theory?

 

Thanks

MGP

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This is somewhat off-topic but is something that has intrigued me for a while. Orgue et Liturgie no 38 is entitled "Le Tombeau de Gonzalez" and contains musical tributes from a number of composers.

 

Dufourcq's preface expresses regret at the lack of contributions from some (named) composer but little about the contributions published.

 

I have three questions that I hope someone can help with:

 

1. Why was Duforcq so explicitly critical of Durufle, Langlais, Robert and Reboulet in the preface?

2. Duforcq was also championng Roethinger and Fleury but there's no mention here - what happened?

2. By the mid 50's Grunenwald's music was mostly 12-tone or 'name-spelling' in origin. The main melody of the Introduction and Aria looks like it spells something but |'ve failed to decode it. Any suggestions? Intriguingly the regestration schem seems to match the Reims organ. was it based on knowledge or theory?

 

Thanks

MGP

 

Although I am not commenting directly about the questions above, I think that one must see the broader picture concerning French, and more to the point, Parisian partisan camps. They have always been there - not just in music but in all areas of French life. It is built into the Gallic DNA. But I could hazard a guess as to what transpired. M. Dufourcq in a photo I have, sits proudly at his(?) Gonzalez house organ. Do we find that builder being used at the churches in Question No. 1? Musical/Artistic wars are legion in Paris - even to this present day. All the great people have been caught up in one thing or another and it has often been the 'supporters' that have caused the most trouble - a little like the UK's football crowds. Rarely is it the players producing the fracas. Organ builders too seem to provide rivalries that are made more great by players. Is it not true that an Assault court case recently came about after a public scrap between two noted figures on the Paris scene happened whilst they were both on the jury of a competition - and it was all over an organ restoration/rebuild?

 

I look forward to somebody actually providing us with the answers. But I dare gamble that it was all just un orage dans une tasse de thé if the truth be known. It always is!

Seasonal greetings.

Nigel

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