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Taize - new organ

Guest Hector5

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Guest Hector5

My wife and I paid a visit to Taize today to do the Taize experience, and more importantly to try their new organ out. For me it has always been somewhat irksome that the organ (Gonzales catalogue job) was never played in all the times we visited. It was explained to us that the organ was not that good, and had also reacted badly to the fast-blow heating system, fast becoming unreliable. I also understand that it's tonal side was less than pleasant, and at complete variance with the Taize-style of music. The decision to have the new organ was made when the heating system was replaced with a new under-floor system, and the new instrument was built by Grenzing of Spain. I think that it was with some trepidation that the Brothers made the decision to replace the organ. Finding something to fulfill a constantly changing role was never going to be easy, especially as they had made do with guitars, keyboards etc for some years, so finding a niche for the use of the organ is still something they are coming to terms with, after all - some people view Taize music as an 'organ free zone'.


What of the organ? Firstly, you can visit the builder's website for details - spec etc. I loved it, epecially as you can register horizontally with increasing warmth as you pile on the modest number of foundations. The Sub coupler also adds a lot of depth without loss of clarity. There is an either/or system with the stops which allows all the stops with the exception of the Fourniture and the Montre to be assigned to either manual I or II. This system, used in conjunction with the sub coupler, and the rather natty II/I treble and II/I bass allows a large number of interesting combinations. The Pedal Basson (the website it says Bombarde douce) is more of a modest Posaune and fits well under the plenum.


I have assumed that the console appointments have rather been dictated by the available space for the organist (not much!). All the stops are above the console (similar to the Dutch style) - and I was somewhat glum when I saw these. However, nothing has been missed, and they are all within easy reach and move up and down (three positions I/Off/II). Quick stop changes are easily made and I quite liked the arrangement.


I enjoyed playing the organ very much indeed, and having seen the stoplist prior, it rather screamed to me that it was limiting with it's mutations and classical bent. However, it is truly a cunning little instrument with huge presence. It has a big sound when everything is going as I has a vast space to fill - and the vast scale of the pedal Soubasse is testament to the need for the organ to cut the mustard.


It is really pleasing to see that Taize hasn't completely eschewed the organ. I think they are trying to work out how it is going to be used, and I can certainly understand their caution. It is also heartening to learn that three of the community play the organ (two Dutch one English) and really appreciate it's presence.


If anyone is in the Taize/Cluny area, drop them an email - they are really friendly and happy for the organ to be played.


I do hope that I haven't dropped any clangers with our esteemed moderators in this post.



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