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flûte harmonique

New console Notre Dame de Paris

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This is what they want, and this is what they have got. Can we move on?

NJA

 

That is a bit like writing 'Do not read this note'.

 

If we move on, this thread simply becomes redundant. Alternatively, just avoid reading any further posts on this topic....

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This is what they want, and this is what they have got. Can we move on?

NJA

 

Succinctly and accurately put - and I couldn't agree more

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Succinctly and accurately put - and I couldn't agree more

 

In which case, simply avoid reading this thread.

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Thanks pcnd! All I did was ask what the old console was at 3'17"....I genuinely didn't know....wasn't expecting the response I got from that (not including Spondrel who answered my question).

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Thanks pcnd! All I did was ask what the old console was at 3'17"....I genuinely didn't know....wasn't expecting the response I got from that (not including Spondrel who answered my question).

 

You are welcome.

 

I have touched the old console - when it was in the former Musée de Nôtre-Dame (across the street from the North West tower; it closed in November 2008). I got my then girlfriend to distract the guard*, whilst I took a couple of photographs and patted the old console. One never knows whether the French will keep old consoles and organs simply as museum pieces, so I just wanted to say that I had touched Vierne's console. One only has to look at the sad case of the church of St Jacques, Abbeville, to see what can happen. Whilst it is good that the organ is being saved from destruction, the church appeared to be beautiful. Whilst France may be well-supplied with beautiful Gothic churches with stone vaulting and fine acoustics, nevertheless it seems tragic that this church is simply being bulldozed for a lack of funds to restore it. I wonder how secure the fate of the church of S. Ouen, Rouen will be in, say, twenty years' time?

 

 

 

* Please do not ask how she did this. Not even by PM.

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You are welcome.

 

. I got my then girlfriend to distract the guard*, whilst I took a couple of photographs and patted the old console.

* Please do not ask how she did this. Not even by PM....

 

I think that I may have met her..... :blink:

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I think that I may have met her..... :blink:

 

Goodness....

 

I trust that she was not wearing clothing fashioned from Lycra and out jogging at the time?

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Having watched the video clip a couple of times I don't think that the new console looks half bad. The decent quality photography helped me to make an objective judgement and I think that the lighter coloured wood and the contrasting darker bits look quite attractive. The relative lack of depth of the stop jambs looks a little odd but overall the console is quite pleasing to my eyes.

 

I do concur with Nigel in that those fortunate enough to play the instrument surely have what they want and the tonal changes are just another chapter in the evolution of this organ. As Olivier Latry says on "The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll" DVD we are fortunate that there are other largely unaltered large Cliquot/C-C organs still extant and there is room for all.

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I think it's time Nigel Allcoat's post was heeded and the general cancel pressed.

 

This still seems rather negative. I believe that the thread lamenting the (then) imminent loss of the former Hope-Jones/Harrison instrument in Worcester Cathedral ran for around thirty pages.

 

The choice is still simple - avoid this thread.

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I remember the Worcester thread........simply amazing how it went on, and fascinating too to read such diverse opinions and comments. I found it very rewarding to follow, and remember some of the highlights well (not least the photos from the DoM showing every stage of the installation).

Who knows how long this thread might be, but it would be a shame if we heeded Nigel Allcoat and Barry Oakley's advice and stopped talking about it. What a dreary forum this would become.

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Whilst France may be well-supplied with beautiful Gothic churches with stone vaulting and fine acoustics, nevertheless it seems tragic that this church is simply being bulldozed for a lack of funds to restore it. I wonder how secure the fate of the church of S. Ouen, Rouen will be in, say, twenty years' time?

 

Whatever St Ouen's eventual fate, current (September 2012) indications are heartening. The crumbling external stonework of the central tower has just been restored in what appears to have been a very extensive and long-term manner. The building does have regular use as an events/exhibition space, and the city is quite commercial so likely to have deeper pockets than Abbeville. Elsewhere in the city, the flamboyant gothic jewel of St Maclou is buried under the scaffolding of another restoration. Different parts of the cathedral have been clad in scaffolding each year I've been; and recently one of the cast-iron corner turrets of its central spire has been temporarily removed. Those familiar with the sizes and heights involved will be able to speculate as to the costs of this work.

 

So I think we can be cautiously hopeful that the St. Ouen church will be capable of discharging its highest function - that of keeping the rain off CC's crown jewel - for a few years yet!

 

Incidentally, one of the recitals I attended in September (Yves Castagnet playing stellar repertoire ending with the whole of the Widor Romane) was the best organ recital, and one of the best musical occasions I've ever witnessed. Having previously bored the readers of this forum with litanies of praise for this peerless organ, I'll stop here.

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Whatever St Ouen's eventual fate, current (September 2012) indications are heartening. The crumbling external stonework of the central tower has just been restored in what appears to have been a very extensive and long-term manner. The building does have regular use as an events/exhibition space, and the city is quite commercial so likely to have deeper pockets than Abbeville. Elsewhere in the city, the flamboyant gothic jewel of St Maclou is buried under the scaffolding of another restoration. Different parts of the cathedral have been clad in scaffolding each year I've been; and recently one of the cast-iron corner turrets of its central spire has been temporarily removed. Those familiar with the sizes and heights involved will be able to speculate as to the costs of this work.

 

So I think we can be cautiously hopeful that the St. Ouen church will be capable of discharging its highest function - that of keeping the rain off CC's crown jewel - for a few years yet!

 

I did hear on the grapevine that one of the more celebrated organ sets available on Hauptwerk had manage to pay for its tuning and maintenance several times over as a result of a percentage of the proceeds of each sale going towards that organ's ongoing maintenance. It doesn't sound like the Hauptwerk microphones have been allowed anywhere near St Ouen yet (though the Caen Cavaille-Coll keeps many people happy at home in the meantime) but it's certainly a novel business model for keeping historic pipe organs going strong.

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This still seems rather negative. I believe that the thread lamenting the (then) imminent loss of the former Hope-Jones/Harrison instrument in Worcester Cathedral ran for around thirty pages.

 

The choice is still simple - avoid this thread.

 

I completely agree with this sentiment.

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Actually he has several, of different periods!

 

I'll be seeing him shortly, so I';ll ask him what is the raison d'être behind the design for the console.

 

DW

 

I think DW you have let the 'cat out the bag'. Clearly Latry wishes to have his cake and eat it - playing the Notre Dame organ and dreaming about his 2cvs all at the same time.

 

Marvellous.

 

Never mind, we have St Sulpice across the river. A far superior instrument, and a far more welcoming church.

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I think DW you have let the 'cat out the bag'. Clearly Latry wishes to have his cake and eat it - playing the Notre Dame organ and dreaming about his 2cvs all at the same time.

 

Marvellous.

 

Never mind, we have St Sulpice across the river. A far superior instrument, and a far more welcoming church.

 

Indeed - these days.

 

In any case, I thought that it was brioche - not cake.

 

(Not that Marie Antoinette actually said this originally.)

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I was up in the tribune last Sunday for Vespers followed by evening Mass, and although at first the new console did seem to have more than a touch of Ikea about it, the design does IMO have some of that (original) Citroen DS-ness about it that makes it entirely appropriate for its place. It probably wouldn't look out of place on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. I think it's the light colour of the chosen wood that gives it a slight tackiness rather than the actual design, which incorporates some pleasing Art Deco accents. My daughter could certainly not have achieved that standard of woodwork, although one or two little corners and alignments did seem slightly inaccurate. Vierne's console is down one flight of stairs, while his bench and PC's remain at either side of the gallery. Incidentally, Johann Vexo (asst.ch.organist) improvised brilliantly, with YC at the east end, J-PL being unwell and the others en vacances.

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I was up in the tribune last Sunday for Vespers followed by evening Mass, and although at first the new console did seem to have more than a touch of Ikea about it, the design does IMO have some of that (original) Citroen DS-ness about it that makes it entirely appropriate for its place. It probably wouldn't look out of place on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. I think it's the light colour of the chosen wood that gives it a slight tackiness rather than the actual design, which incorporates some pleasing Art Deco accents. My daughter could certainly not have achieved that standard of woodwork, although one or two little corners and alignments did seem slightly inaccurate. ...

 

I would question whether this new console does indeed look appropriate in its setting. In any case, it is both the almost white wood and the Art Deco-esque features which combine to make it look incongruous. I would suggest that a console which could be said to draw inspiration from the Art Deco period is out of place in the tribune of Nôtre-Dame. Certainly against the beautiful (and darker wood of the) Louis XV-style case of 1733, it looks even worse.

 

However, the overall question is still - was it really necessary?

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I didn't say it wasn't incongruous; it is indeed very incongruous... rather like, as I implied, the Citroën DS when it first appeared on French roads in 1955. But that car went on to be named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic and Sports Car magazine. Someone commented above on the unique character of French design, which may not appear beautiful to our more reserved sensibilities, but they seem to have a style of visual expression entirely apt for their own way of life. The fact that we may not like it... c'est sans importance.

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I didn't say it wasn't incongruous; it is indeed very incongruous... rather like, as I implied, the Citroën DS when it first appeared on French roads in 1955. But that car went on to be named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic and Sports Car magazine. Someone commented above on the unique character of French design, which may not appear beautiful to our more reserved sensibilities, but they seem to have a style of visual expression entirely apt for their own way of life. The fact that we may not like it... c'est sans importance.

 

Which serves to illustrate why flûte harmonique wrote earlier: 'In the UK you use to preserve old cars, old steam engines, you are also successful in protecting your countryside and your beautiful landscapes better than in France.

This kind of turnover is perhaps what we call "modernité" which in much cases is an other definition of "ugliness"!

An other view of the "wonderful" console:'

[see post #49.]

 

Perhaps France needs some form of regulatory body for the preservation of organs of historic importance, or something along those lines.

 

However, we are beginning to go round in circles here, regarding the recent work carried out on this instrument. It may be as well simply to acknowledge that opinions are somewhat polarised on this matter....

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What matters is that the titulaires and others who play the instrument regularly have (presumably) got what they asked for to enable them to pursue their unique art.

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What matters is that the titulaires and others who play the instrument regularly have (presumably) got what they asked for to enable them to pursue their unique art.

 

With this I should have to disagree strongly. Surely the instrument is far more important than any one person - however good they are. There are many instruments in this country* which have been altered (in some cases irretrievably). in order to satisfy the wishes of the serving musicians of that time.† What would happen if, in ten years' time, an extremely gifted organist who is currently receiving training at (for example) the Paris Conservatoire, is appointed titulaire at Nôtre-Dame - and wishes to 'rebuild' the instrument as a neo-Baroque organ, with entirely mechanical action? (As an integral part of his plans, this would of course necessitate the removal of much of the existing pipe-work.) Would this too be acceptable, on the grounds that the new titulaire has got what he wanted - and can now show off his talent in an even more spectacular manner?

 

Pierre Pincemaille, the present titulaire at the Basilica of S. Denis, is a phenomenally gifted player. His improvisations are at least as good as those of the musicians currently appointed to Nôtre-Dame. As it happens, he has chosen jealously to preserve the superb instrument at S. Denis. The incredibly unwieldy console, in its cramped situation has done nothing to stifle either his creativity or his sublime talent. One only has to listen to recordings of his improvisations - and repertoire - (or, for that matter, watch DVDs from the box set recently issued by Fugue State Films, detailing the history and evolution of instruments by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll) to realise that he is second to none in this respect.

 

How strange it is that he is able to create superb improvisations, which lack nothing in technical dexterity, construction or sheer musicality, on this uncouth, cumbersome instrument - yet, a few miles away, apparently it has been thought necessary to rebuild another instrument, arguably of equal historic and artistic importance, yet again, with another new console and a plethora of electronic devices.

 

 

 

 

* i.e.: England.

 

† In fact, I can think of one instance in the U.K. of an organist who, during his long tenure, had 'his' cathedral organ rebuilt twice; once, around 1971 and the second time in the mid 1990s - at which point, many of the earlier tonal alterations of the previous rebuild were reversed. Which also serves to illustrate how the personal tastes, historical perspective awareness and other related issues of a particular performer can change - in some cases, radically.

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After watching and listening with awe to Pierre Pincemaille's section from St. Dénis I searched for further recordings. I found only this...

 

http://www.ohscatalog.org/fircdfromstd.html

 

... which gives a slightly less rosy view of the organ's future. It must be hoped that nothing drastic is done although one can well understand the frustration of having shorter manual and pedal compasses than required for much French repertoire.

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