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Notre Dame - inaugural recital after restoration


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I know where I will be on September 20th! The tittulaires perform in the inaugural recital after the restoration. An interesting programme, has anyone heard of Florentz?

 

Jean-Pierre Leguay

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) Praeludium en ré mineur BUX WV 140

Dietrich Buxtehude Choral Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BUX WV 211

Jean Sébastien Bach (1685-1750) Passacaille en ut mineur BWV 582

 

Philippe Lefebvre

César Franck (1822-1890) Deuxième choral

Marcel Dupré (1886-1971) Résurrection (extrait de la Symphonie-Passion)

 

Olivier Latry

Jean-Louis Florentz (1947-2004) Prélude de "Lenfant noir"

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Alléluias sereins (extrait de lAscension)

Jehan Alain (1911-1940) Fantasmagorie

Jehan Alain Litanies

 

Philippe Lefebvre

Improvisation

 

 

More recitals follow (admission to all is free) details here:

 

http://www.musique-sacree-notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?article371

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An interesting programme, has anyone heard of Florentz?

 

Latry performed Florentz's Prélude from L'Enfant noir at his Royal Festival Hall recital on 27 March this year, at which I was present. Jean-Louis Florentz (b.1947) completed university courses in natural science, literary Arabic and ethnomusicology, before entering the Paris Conservatoire where he studied with Messiaen and Schaeffer, receiving additional instruction from Duhamel. He won the Lili Boulanger composition prize in 1978, which was followed, from 1980 onwards, by further prizes from the SACEM and the Institut de France. During the 1970s, he undertook 14 field trips to Africa, and between residencies at the Villa Medici, Rome (1979–81), and at the Casa Velasquez in Madrid and Palma de Mallorca (1983–5), he was a visiting lecturer at Kenyatta University College, Nairobi (1981–2). Appointed to a professorship in ethnomusicology at the Lyons Conservatoire in 1985, he subsequently extended his studies of oral traditions to the West Indies, Polynesia, Egypt and Israel. He was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1995. He was a friend of Latry and died of cancer in 2004.

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The introduction of the organ on the 21st by the builders also looks to be of interest. It would like to hear what they have to say about the project. It's a pity I don't understand a word of French...

 

I'm pleased to see that all the concerts have free entry and I like the way that each artist has written a few paragraphs about why they have chosen the music for their programme (thanks to Google Translate). Many concert programmes will give autobiographies and notes about the music but rarely do we get an insight into why the music has been chosen. I would personally like to see more of this.

 

NDP have a history of making perfomances freely available via YouTube, and NDP is a regular contributor to the KTO website. Let's hope that some, if not all of these concerts will become available via the www

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'Will be going to Yves Castagnet on 2nd October - an interesting programme, he's a superb player, I like his own compositions and am intrigued by his piece using BOTH organs. I have also heard the rest of the gang play in the not too distant past. 'Should be fun!

 

A

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And Latry will perform the "Sacre du printemps(Rite of Spring)" saturday the 27th of september (8.30 pm, free entrance) together with his new spouse and former student Shin Young Lee.

I'm curious to listen again to the restored organ of NDP....

 

I would be interested to hear your opinion of the rebuilt instrument, after the recital. I still prefer the previous console - and cannot imagine why it was thought necessary to replace the previous one. However, it will be interesting to learn what you thought of the organ, with its 'new' Resonance division.

 

This video

is worth a look. Now I know to where the original Cavaillé-Coll console has been moved.
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I would be interested to hear your opinion of the rebuilt instrument, after the recital. I still prefer the previous console - and cannot imagine why it was thought necessary to replace the previous one. However, it will be interesting to learn what you thought of the organ, with its 'new' Resonance division.

 

This video

is worth a look. Now I know to where the original Cavaillé-Coll console has been moved.

I tell you my opinion after the concert dear PCND!

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I will also be interested to hear opinions of the Notre Dame organ.

 

However, for one thing I'm not sure how the addition of the Resonance will make any substantial difference to this instrument? Having said this, I will be interested to hear the effects of the new mutations Neuvieme and Onzieme (as discussed in the other thread).

 

I also believe it is a shame that the Positif de Dos still remains unrestored. The 'grand plan' of Pierre Cochereau was to restore this, and I think this addition to the specification would be much more effective than the 'new' Resonance division. Not only would the appearance of the Notre Dame organ be greatly improved, it would also provide a chorus at a lower level than the rest of the instrument, so benefiting from little or no obstruction from the tribune. It would also cover up the console and the untidy looking cabling, all of which detract from the overall appearance of this instrument.

 

I do wonder why the Titulaire's have not pushed for the restoration of the Positif de Dos? I'm sure it would be restored if they insisted. And the original woodwork for this division is still stored in the Cathedral. I can only assume it would just be too expensive to do it, as it would involve substantial alterations to the tribune. But from a musical viewpoint, it would be a distinct advantage to this instrument, restricted as it is to it's very high position at the West end of the Cathedral.

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I also believe it is a shame that the Positif de Dos still remains unrestored. The 'grand plan' of Pierre Cochereau was to restore this, and I think this addition to the specification would be much more effective than the 'new' Resonance division. Not only would the appearance of the Notre Dame organ be greatly improved, it would also provide a chorus at a lower level than the rest of the instrument, so benefiting from little or no obstruction from the tribune. It would also cover up the console and the untidy looking cabling, all of which detract from the overall appearance of this instrument.

 

I do wonder why the Titulaire's have not pushed for the restoration of the Positif de Dos? I'm sure it would be restored if they insisted.

 

I am not. If I recall correctly, the current loft, rather elegant as it looks, is still Viollet-Leduc’s construction, and it was never meant to bear a Positif-de-dos, even if the beast turns up in some of the drawings form the « restauration ». From what I have been told, even moving around up there can become awkward because the wooden construction tends to swing and sway with the steps.

 

Furthermore, Viollet-Leduc had the base of the main case reduced in height – again if I recall correctly, because his loft was situated higher up, and he did not want the case to obstruct the view of the rose window. That’s why, in proportion, today the case looks as if it ducks slightly.

 

If one wanted to reinstate the Positif-de-dos in matching proportions, i. e. in full eight-foot height, one would have to

a. dismantle the organ in its entirety, for the first time in its history,

b. build a new loft on a lower level, stronger and more bulky,

c. to reconstruct the base of the main case, and re-erect the historic parts, with all of Cavaillé-Coll’s extant Barker machinery, bellows etc. one storey up,

d. to come up with a convincing concept, musically and technically, for a division that never was a part of what Cavaillé-Coll actually built.

 

Of course, you could say that of the current Solo and Résonance divisions too (apart from the latter expanding Cavaillé-Coll’s idea of working with partials which played a major role in this organ). But they, God only knows how, found a home within the existing structure.

 

And all this is completely ignoring any concerns regarding the whole thing, building and organ, being classified « monument historique ».

 

Yes, I can imagine why no-one wanted to turn the cathedral’s main entrance into a three-year, or rather five-year, construction site.

 

Best wishes,

Friedrich

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I suppose even if it were possible, adding a Positif de Dos would make this instrument even more daunting! Still, we can looking forward to the more colourful effects of the new additions, particularly the Onzieme 2 10/11, playable from both manuals and Pedal.

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If Pierre Cochereau had lived a bit longer, the GO of NDP would have been different as today.

His intention was to reinstate the "positif de dos" and to get down the case with the support of the "Commission supérieure des monuments historiques" which is in charge of all the historical monuments in France.

Some people do complain about the huge amount of public money spent on this organ which was already restored, almost entirely, with little success as for the computerized installation, in 1992...But as you know we do like public expenditures in our country!!

Hopefully, the current reconstruction will last longer than 20 years?

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Handsoff's congregation is lucky. There are churches around where the organist would take just as long to register a 7 stop one-manual as he reckons he would to sort out NDP :P

 

:D

 

I gather that one of my predecessors was one - or probably would have been had he ever had tried to use anything more than the Open Diapason...

 

On a more serious note, is there a point where all this technology rather takes over? I seems to me almost similar to the hi-fi addict who spends tens of thousands on equipment and listens more to the sound quality than the music it is designed to reproduce.

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I was wondering the same. This instrument has now undergone so many 'transformations' that it probably bears little resemblance to the organ even of Pierre Cochereau's time, certainly before the alterations of Boisseau.

 

I was listening to a recording made by PC from the 1950s, before the Boisseau alterations were made, and in most respects it sounds a completely different organ compared to today, let alone post-Boisseau. I also dislike the new console. It looks completely out of place with the rest of the organ loft. They may as well go completely digital in everything, and have electric buttons instead of drawstops that light up when pushed. They could have different colours for each division, and they could also flash when in use. It could be the equivalent of the light show of the Eiffel Tower!

 

I'd rather go listen to St Sulpice across the river, which is still, in my opinion, the better instrument compared to Notre Dame by a long mile.

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A few years ago I and some others were able to have a private demonstration of the ND organ by Philippe Lefebvre one evening once the crowds had departed. We did not alas visit the tribune but from down in the nave things were crystal clear and hugely atmospheric. He started with the classical choruses and then went on to the Franck 'sound world' followed by the noises Vierne would have been used to and finally on to Cochereau and post Cochereau, the latter via an improvisation. My lasting impression was of a versatile instrument well able to deal with anything thrown at it. The early pipework gave a convincing (if refined perhaps) account of the appropriate repertoire and it was similar for the earlier and later romantic/symphonic areas on first C-C pipework alone then with the additions from Vierne's era. The (lengthy) improvisation then showed what the rest of it could do, not in the style of Cochereau, very much more '21st Century' - not easy listening but very effective. The whole experience was extremely tiring on the brain (one needed to listen etc.) but one not to be forgotten. It showed what an amazing instrument the ND organ is and how at the hands of one who knows it well it can make some marvellous music.

 

A

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Please don't don't get me wrong: the organ in ND de P is a thrilling instrument to hear whether live or recorded and I have many recordings dating from PC's day to the most recent.

 

My comment was solely about the number and complication of the new playing aids and the difficulties when the software shows its glitches. For an organ of this size with its multiplicity of tonal possiblitlies a range of aids are clearly needed but the new console's facilities do seem to be a bit OTT.

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A few years ago I and some others were able to have a private demonstration of the ND organ by Philippe Lefebvre one evening once the crowds had departed. We did not alas visit the tribune but from down in the nave things were crystal clear and hugely atmospheric. He started with the classical choruses and then went on to the Franck 'sound world' followed by the noises Vierne would have been used to and finally on to Cochereau and post Cochereau, the latter via an improvisation. My lasting impression was of a versatile instrument well able to deal with anything thrown at it. The early pipework gave a convincing (if refined perhaps) account of the appropriate repertoire and it was similar for the earlier and later romantic/symphonic areas on first C-C pipework alone then with the additions from Vierne's era. The (lengthy) improvisation then showed what the rest of it could do, not in the style of Cochereau, very much more '21st Century' - not easy listening but very effective. The whole experience was extremely tiring on the brain (one needed to listen etc.) but one not to be forgotten. It showed what an amazing instrument the ND organ is and how at the hands of one who knows it well it can make some marvellous music.

 

A

In fact, the essential thing is the way the organists are able to play this incredible instrument.

The deception may be immense sometimes, simply because the musician is not situated at the same level as the instrument. As it has been said earlier in this thread, the risk is to use only a little part of the quasi infinite resources and to be overwhelmed by them.

Even the current titulars do not use one tenth of the possibilities offered by the stops mixture.

One exception to this affirmation: I remember a concert by Latry interpreting for the first time a work of the composer Jean-Louis Florentz" Debout sur le soleil" (1990) in 2004. This opus has been specially composed for the organ of Notre-Dame because only this instrument had (and still has) the required specifications : sostenuto at each manual, separation (coupure clavier adaptable), and combinations.

This concert was a great one, one of the best I have ever heard in NDP after Cochereau's period.

As for Lefebvre's impros: his choice is to stand away from PC's style by adopting a "21th century music style" probably to exist besides a genius dead in 1984?

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I am not. If I recall correctly, the current loft, rather elegant as it looks, is still Viollet-Leduc’s construction, and it was never meant to bear a Positif-de-dos, even if the beast turns up in some of the drawings form the « restauration ». From what I have been told, even moving around up there can become awkward because the wooden construction tends to swing and sway with the steps.

 

Furthermore, Viollet-Leduc had the base of the main case reduced in height – again if I recall correctly, because his loft was situated higher up, and he did not want the case to obstruct the view of the rose window. That’s why, in proportion, today the case looks as if it ducks slightly.

 

If one wanted to reinstate the Positif-de-dos in matching proportions, i. e. in full eight-foot height, one would have to

a. dismantle the organ in its entirety, for the first time in its history,

b. build a new loft on a lower level, stronger and more bulky,

c. to reconstruct the base of the main case, and re-erect the historic parts, with all of Cavaillé-Coll’s extant Barker machinery, bellows etc. one storey up,

d. to come up with a convincing concept, musically and technically, for a division that never was a part of what Cavaillé-Coll actually built.

 

Of course, you could say that of the current Solo and Résonance divisions too (apart from the latter expanding Cavaillé-Coll’s idea of working with partials which played a major role in this organ). But they, God only knows how, found a home within the existing structure.

 

And all this is completely ignoring any concerns regarding the whole thing, building and organ, being classified « monument historique ».

 

Yes, I can imagine why no-one wanted to turn the cathedral’s main entrance into a three-year, or rather five-year, construction site.

 

Best wishes,

Friedrich

 

I agree.

 

If the Positif-de-dos case were to be returned to the tribune as it now stands, as Friedfich states, this would spoil the present proportions of the main case. In addition, the tribune is quite deep and the Positif would be some distance from the main organ. There would also be the problem of the console: should it be turned through 180 degrees, or left as it is?

 

Since the present Positif division (in the main case) is perfectly adequate, I cannot see any real need to re-instate the former case. (If it, and the main case, were also to be repainted white and gold - which was another of Cochereau's wishes - it would look hideous, if not actually gaudy.)

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the main case, were also to be repainted white and gold - which was another of Cochereau's wishes - it would look hideous, if not actually gaudy.)

I'm afraid I must disagree, most respectfully, as always, here.

 

I believe 'white and gold' can be tasteful, if not elegant. (That is, unless my taste 'buds' have deserted me.)

 

For instance: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Alkmaar_organ.jpg

 

Of course, it could easily, in the wrong hands, descend into pure kitsch- and, going by the console, your fears may very well have borne fruit.

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I'm afraid I must disagree, most respectfully, as always, here.

 

I believe 'white and gold' can be tasteful, if not elegant. (That is, unless my taste 'buds' have deserted me.)

 

For instance: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Alkmaar_organ.jpg

 

Of course, it could easily, in the wrong hands, descend into pure kitsch- and, going by the console, your fears may very well have borne fruit.

 

 

It can indeed look good - the picture of the case at Alkmaar looks spectacular.

 

However, given that the stonework around the tribune at Nôtre-Dame is predominantly quite dark and that the case is wide, I do not think that it would look quite as good here. The case, as it stands, presents an elegant and dignified aspect. In any case, as you observe, given what now passes for the console, I think that any changes to the decoration of the case could end up looking quite odd.

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Just an observation concerning the question of turning the console round. When C-C created his instrument the pipes had to be all turned as well. Where C is on the console, the pipes must also be that side. Therefore when you view the case the C side is on the right and C# on the left. N

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