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Church of the Ascension


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I just learned that the (Episcopal) Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue in New York City is receiving a new organ built by Pascal Quoirin of St. Didier (he of the rather striking and unusual instrument in Evreux).


Apparently this is the first organ in New York City built in France, though as our host well knows, not the only one which speaks French! It looks to be quite a whopper: 99 stops, 111 ranks, 6183 pipes if the press reports are accurate, three manual mechanical console plus a mobile four manual console en amphithéâtre. Oh, and two stops en chamade facing each other across the chancel.


I found it interesting that the NYC AGO page states that it was specifically designed to play Messiaen and "includes every registration called for by Messiaen." I wonder whether they were simply trying to build an instrument especially well-suited for Messiaen or whether they went as far as to try to copy the timbre of certain stops from La Trinité, e.g. the Récit Hautbois, the Positif Basson, especially in its bass range, or the Positif Quintaton of which Messiaen wrote so highly. It should be interesting to hear, when it is complete.



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  • 4 weeks later...

I attended the dedicatory service this past Sunday and plan on going to the dedicatory recital tomorrow night. From what I heard, it is a glorious instrument with fiery reeds. A colleague commented that the principal stops could have been fuller. I liked all the French pieces I heard (Titelouze, Couperin, de Grigny, Franck, Durufle), though I wasn't too crazy about the Bach (but I think it was the playing rather than the instrument).

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