Jump to content
Mander Organs

New Mutations Neuvieme and Onzieme at Notre Dame-de-Paris


contraviolone

Recommended Posts

When the 'new' Resonance Division is installed at Notre Dame-de-Paris in 2014, the suggested specification includes two new mutations, Neuvieme and Onzieme. Does anyone have any ideas as to the overall effects of these mutations, and how they may be used?

When I was a schoolboy, I had access to a substantial neo-baroque organ (IV/57) that had a None (Ninth/Neuvième) 8/9' on its Oberwerk. It was part of a all-but-complete series, starting from 2 2/3' Nasat: Waldflöte 2', Terz 1 3/5', Septime 1 1/7', None 8/9'; at the base of all that was a Holzpfeife, narrow-scale open flute with stopped basses, and a Nachthorn (open, large scale).*

 

To describe the effect of the higher harmonics is not easy, of course. The Septime rendered a yellowish green fire, so to speak, to the cornet, having it appear even more intense. The None, of rather soft voicing and narrow scale, did something completely different. It acted as a kind of cooling agent -- glassy and icy-blueish. It still, in its special way, reinforced the unison line. Though not intended to be played with the 1', both together (plus 8+4+Nasat) produced a spine-tingling chill.

 

The 16'- and 32'-foot versions would be 1 7/9' and 3 5/9'. Never heard those in the flesh, only on ND recordings. I think the Engelberg Goll has them too.

 

I have heard others describe the sharp fourth (Onzième) to be of comparable effect, rather cooling than warming the sound, while adding more edge. I have not heard one in action, though.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

* There was a small chorus of 4' Prinzipal, 1' Oktave and Scharf 2/3' IV, an undulating Spillgedackt 8' (narrow flute with cylindrical bodies and conical sliding canisters, closed at the top), an 8' Trompete and a 4' Regal. As of today, the latter became a 4' Trompete, and the Spillgedackt and Holzpfeife changed roles, the latter now being the undulating rank. See full stoplist here. Oh the long afternoons I spent there experimenting, and sometimes even practising …

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting Friedrich, thank you. It will be interesting to hear the effects of these mutations at Notre Dame.

 

My thanks too, Friedrich. I look forward to the day when someone with both the necessary interest and the necessary resources creates a YouTube video demonstrating all of these more unusual mutations in context and combination, obviously, with the lower pitched unison ranks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While beeing unable to reach such a level of poetry as Friedrich did, I think the news that such stops are to beinstalled in NDdP is a good one.

I have access to an instrument, where a compound stop of 10 2/3, 6 4/5 and 4 4/7 (or some figures like those, i. e. fifth, third and seventh) really produce a sort of 32' Violone, at least on some notes and I do believe in the effects of strengthening the upper partials of a tone and thus carrying more far within the building. However, regarding mutations higher than 2 2/3', I do not see or feel this effect in primary, but more the change of colours.

And those colours which become available with ninths and elevenths, are necessary for nearly nothing in written music, but pretty much for improvisation! Just for very brief episodes of course, and not ten times during one concert or service - but those limitations do apply to some undulating stops, the Tuba or the Bombarde 32', too.

Having the ninth and eleventh based on 16' or even 32', it makes using them easier, as the keyboard range, where they really give a certain colour and not a chaotic shimmer like the Polnische Cymbel/polish cymbal, is not at the top end.

(Oh, and one more argument for having a 1 7/9 instead of a 8/9 etc.: It's much easier to tune, I suppose...)

 

Those of you who put their hands on electronic keyboards during the 80ies - do ro remember the advent of the Yamaha DX7 and its so called "algorithms", which went much more far then the analogue "ring modulators" where able to do before...? Now we easily got all those chimes, tubular bells and modulating derivates...

Doing so as a teenager, I thought, these are colours really limited to electronic production. But, in some aspects, I was not completely right, as I had not met any organs with mutations more remote than a quint or third (and even that was not easy in the province I come from...).

So, as an improviser, give me those mutations on an enclosed division - well, not any day, but some days a year!

 

Edit: Here is the spec of the mentioned organ with the bass harmonics. Its builder was known for fancy mutations, and this organ can easily sound very beasty... but is convincing in illustrating something, and so, it is used several times a year for accompanying silent movies (the church is beeing used not only as church, but as venue for other things, too)

Link to post
Share on other sites

While beeing unable to reach such a level of poetry as Friedrich did, I think the news that such stops are to beinstalled in NDdP is a good one.

I have access to an instrument, where a compound stop of 10 2/3, 6 4/5 and 4 4/7 (or some figures like those, i. e. fifth, third and seventh) really produce a sort of 32' Violone, at least on some notes and I do believe in the effects of strengthening the upper partials of a tone and thus carrying more far within the building. However, regarding mutations higher than 2 2/3', I do not see or feel this effect in primary, but more the change of colours.

And those colours which become available with ninths and elevenths, are necessary for nearly nothing in written music, but pretty much for improvisation! Just for very brief episodes of course, and not ten times during one concert or service - but those limitations do apply to some undulating stops, the Tuba or the Bombarde 32', too.

 

Although the organ of Nôtre-Dame de Paris already has a good selection of mutations - on two or three claviers, together with the 32ft. harmonics on the Pédale Orgue. Whilst they might be able to produce pretty or even piquant effects in improvisations, I should have thought that they were an unnecessary luxury - as is surely the case with yet another new console.

 

 

... So, as an improviser, give me those mutations on an enclosed division - well, not any day, but some days a year! ...

 

Yet these new stops are on an open soundboard - unless a new expression box has been fitted in somewhere in this instrument.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although the organ of Nôtre-Dame de Paris already has a good selection of mutations - on two or three claviers, together with the 32ft. harmonics on the Pédale Orgue. Whilst they might be able to produce pretty or even piquant effects in improvisations, I should have thought that they were an unnecessary luxury - as is surely the case with yet another new console.

As I hear them, they provide a valuable, and irreplaceable, colour and intensity that bridges the gap between foundations and full combinations, especially reeds. The pedal mutations give a reedy clarity where bringing in the actual 16' or 32' reed would be overwhelming. Other than the Bombardes, they reportedly work well with combinations on several levels, all below ff. The same is true for the manual reeds and mutations. The chorus reeds, in such a space, need to be heavy-duty; and reeds in French style always are pretty intense, especially in the bass range. Isn’t it good not to have to resort to them for a clear bass?

 

Yet these new stops are on an open soundboard - unless a new expression box has been fitted in somewhere in this instrument.

The new Réson[n]ance is planned to have its own full-compass enclosure, so this will be the first Cavaillé-Coll cathedral organ with such a feat. The Crescendo pedal will be made so as to switch between the actual Crescendo and the Réson[n]ance shutters. God knows where they will squeeze the box -- or boxes -- in, but they certainly plan to do it.

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I hear them, they provide a valuable, and irreplaceable, colour and intensity that bridges the gap between foundations and full combinations, especially reeds. The pedal mutations give a reedy clarity where bringing in the actual 16' or 32' reed would be overwhelming. Other than the Bombardes, they reportedly work well with combinations on several levels, all below ff. The same is true for the manual reeds and mutations. The chorus reeds, in such a space, need to be heavy-duty; and reeds in French style always are pretty intense, especially in the bass range. Isn’t it good not to have to resort to them for a clear bass?

 

With respect to the Pédale[ grosse] mutations, I agree. In fact, certainly from the console, the Quinte (10 2/3ft.), Grosse Tierce and Grosse Septième supply a resultant 32ft. which is more impressive than the 32ft. Principal. With regard to those on the claviers,whilst I see your point, there are in fact several different dynamic levels of chorus reed. Those on the Positif are obviously quieter than those on the G.O. (being a family of clarinet-toned ranks). Those on the Récit are of course dynamically flexible. It is only when one adds successively those of the Grand Chœur and the four ranks of chorus chamades that the sound becomes particularly intense. Then again, this instrument seems to have managed perfectly well without these extra mutations for most of its life. (Whilst some may say that it also managed without chamades, in practice, these ranks are necessary, in order to fill the enormous sonic space of the cathedral.)

 

The new Réson[n]ance is planned to have its own full-compass enclosure, so this will be the first Cavaillé-Coll cathedral organ with such a feat. The Crescendo pedal will be made so as to switch between the actual Crescendo and the Réson[n]ance shutters. God knows where they will squeeze the box -- or boxes -- in, but they certainly plan to do it.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Goodness - as you say, I cannot imagine where they will fit this box. This will at least make these [partly] new stops more flexible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite on topic - but - can anyone who knows the N-D instrument explain the logistic (from the time of C-C presumably) that places a 16' Montre on the Positif with only Flute Harmonique, Salicional and Unda Maris at 8' before the chorus continues upward with 4' Prestant etc. I have played smaller organs in France of a C-C vintage where the GO foundation is 8' Flute Harmonique and Salicional combining nicely under a small chorus up to 2' but here......?

 

A

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite on topic - but - can anyone who knows the N-D instrument explain the logistic (from the time of C-C presumably) that places a 16' Montre on the Positif with only Flute Harmonique, Salicional and Unda Maris at 8' before the chorus continues upward with 4' Prestant etc. I have played smaller organs in France of a C-C vintage where the GO foundation is 8' Flute Harmonique and Salicional combining nicely under a small chorus up to 2' but here......?

 

A

 

I think that there are two points to bear in mind, here. Firstly, I doubt that Cavaillé-Coll was thinking in terms of a contrasting chorus for Baroque music (for example). Secondly, the Salicional and Unda Maris (aside from being on an open soundboard) are not really like standard English ranks of the same name - gentle and restful (like a 'Father' Willis Salicional and Vox Angelica). They are actually quite big in effect. By this, I do not mean 'big' in the sense of a powerful, keen Solo-type string from a large Edwardian organ, but in the sense that, in combination with the Bourdon and the Flûte Harmonique (both of 8ft. pitch), a perfectly adequate foundation, able to support the upper work, will result. However, as no doubt you are aware, it was a somewhat different sound to that which we would expect in England.

 

Having said this, it is interesting to note that, in 1928, Vierne proposed certain changes (which were not carried out in his lifetime). Amongst these, was the swapping of two ranks between the Positif and the Grand-Chœur. The latter department was to gain the Principal 16ft. from the Positif which, in turn, was to receive the Principal 8ft. from the Grand Chœur, in substitution.

 

In fact, it was not until the early 1970s (in the time of Pierre Cochereau) that the Positif gained an 8ft. Principal. However, several stop-lists omit the 8ft. Salicional at this point - which I believe to be incorrect.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

My thanks too, Friedrich. I look forward to the day when someone with both the necessary interest and the necessary resources creates a YouTube video demonstrating all of these more unusual mutations in context and combination, obviously, with the lower pitched unison ranks.

could be of some help then, perhaps.

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites

could be of some help then, perhaps.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Good grief - I never expected the grand organ of Nôtre-Dame to sound like an electronic; even allowing for the recording quality, this is a foul noise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

could be of some help then, perhaps.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Thanks Friedrich. My laptop speakers are not exactly 'hi-fi' (!), but I am assuming, then, that adding the septieme makes the sound of a tierce (+nasard, etc) even more reedy?

 

If I understand it correctly the ninth and eleventh, on the other hand, do not contribute any 'reediness'?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Good grief - I never expected the grand organ of Nôtre-Dame to sound like an electronic; even allowing for the recording quality, this is a foul noise.

Reminds me of my playing symphonies by Vaughan Williams, Bax etc. to a friend who immediately responded “Why having the music and not the movie? That makes no sense!”

 

Even if it might not really help: Mutations happened to be there first, then came electronics that used the same effects. The 16' and 32' mutations at Notre-Dame sound just terrific in that space (not: in that video, even if it gives you an idea how well these ranks work conjuring up a fundamental that actually is not there).

 

I like it. I like variety. Foundations are fine, reeds too, but why not having a different colour, smoother than reeds, brighter than foundations, and all colour?

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Perhaps the quality of this particular recording isn't very good?

I agree, it’s dreadful.

 

There is a pretty good CD of Leguay improvising in his very special style on which you can hear the effect as recorded from the nave. If you look it up here, listen to the sample from track 6 – it might give you a better impression of the mutations.

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...