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Bombarde 32’ (acoustique)


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It's just a resultant stop. We may trust the French to tart up the word so that it sounds just superb when it isn't. 

That organ case in Evreux is utterly hideous. What were they thinking? Totally out of sympathy with its surroundings and completely grotesque.

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1 hour ago, DHM said:

Perhaps a "Harmonics of..." like this one? https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01917
 

Interestingly, the previous specification for that organ includes a note, saying "Harmonics of 32 ft V is based on Pedal Trombone and Tromba with some quinted pipes from Open Wood and Open Metal" https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01917

Returning to the Quorin organ at Evreux, it is an intriguing stop given that the pedal division is small, and that the other stops in that division are effectively a kind of 'Harmonics of 32' already. 

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21 hours ago, contraviolone said:

It's just a resultant stop. We may trust the French to tart up the word so that it sounds just superb when it isn't. 

That organ case in Evreux is utterly hideous. What were they thinking? Totally out of sympathy with its surroundings and completely grotesque.

This is clearly a 'Marmite thing' - I applaud the Cathedral architects - who were involved in the case design.  I think that it's imaginative, striking and solves a very real problem posed by the acoustics of the Cathedral - but that's just my view.  The only thing I don't 'get' is the fitting of the slightly odd swathes of net-like fabric around the console.  Maybe there is a point to it that I'm missing!

 

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1 hour ago, Keitha said:

This is clearly a 'Marmite thing' - I applaud the Cathedral architects - who were involved in the case design.  I think that it's imaginative, striking ..................

I agree. The French seem to have a fondness for introducing something modern, edgy, perhaps outrageous and controversial into a traditional scene. Chinese architect (I. M. Pei), I know, but look at the Louvre - two huge glass pyramids in the middle of an essentially 17th/18th century building facade!  And I remember the heated discussion on this board about the latest console at Notre Dame de Paris - another 'Marmite thing'!

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22 hours ago, contraviolone said:

It's just a resultant stop.

My question really concerns what sort of resultant stop this is, i.e. what is its specific composition? There has been much discussion of Harmonic/Acoustic/Resultant Basses of the soft a flue-quality variety and Pedal Cornets, but this (and the example above that DHM has drawn our attention to) seems to be in a different category. 

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Hi Peter, hope you're keeping well.... It's probably a version of the artificial 32' reed that Compton used to make.  I don't think they all had the same composition, but the one I've heard was surprisingly convincing.    I can't remember where that was, but there's a composition of one here which looks extraordinary.....

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N07503

Darius

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I wonder if it might be that the stop is 1/2 length.  I have played French organs where there has been a Basson Acoustique and it has simply been a normal stop.  Listening to the Erveux organ, the 32' is definitely real - not a Compton style stop.

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22 hours ago, S_L said:

I agree. The French seem to have a fondness for introducing something modern, edgy, perhaps outrageous and controversial into a traditional scene. Chinese architect (I. M. Pei), I know, but look at the Louvre - two huge glass pyramids in the middle of an essentially 17th/18th century building facade!  And I remember the heated discussion on this board about the latest console at Notre Dame de Paris - another 'Marmite thing'!

I actually like the glass pyramid at the Louvre. It works for me, but I must admit it is difficult to explain why.

The latest console at Notre Dame de Paris is indeed hideous and I am hoping it will not survive the current rebuild of the instrument.

This 'edgy' approach the French seem to take can work, but not very often. I remember the favourable press coverage of the Pompidou Centre but when I first viewed it in 1985 it left me cold. It hasn't aged well and today looks like a pile of decaying junk. 

 

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13 hours ago, Paul Isom said:

I wonder if it might be that the stop is 1/2 length.  I have played French organs where there has been a Basson Acoustique and it has simply been a normal stop.  Listening to the Erveux organ, the 32' is definitely real - not a Compton style stop.

I know our Basson was noted as 'acoustique" on the draft stop list the builders sent because it was half length in the bottom octave. Odd that they'd want to note it on the stop head, but maybe it doesn't have the same baggage as acoustic (or as our old organ had it 'accoustic') in the UK?

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23 hours ago, DariusB said:

Hi Peter, hope you're keeping well.... It's probably a version of the artificial 32' reed that Compton used to make.  I don't think they all had the same composition, but the one I've heard was surprisingly convincing.    I can't remember where that was, but there's a composition of one here which looks extraordinary.....

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N07503

Darius

Hi Darius, thanks and gosh - what an alarming composition! But, I understand that Compton used to set up (wire up!) these stops on site, to achieve the best effect. So, perhaps it worked well?!!!

 

Whilst such stops are sensible in organs that use extension, as no such derivation seems to be the case at Erveux, this seems unlikely to me for the case in point. But, I could be wrong!

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8 hours ago, Jonathan Dods said:

I know our Basson was noted as 'acoustique" on the draft stop list the builders sent because it was half length in the bottom octave. Odd that they'd want to note it on the stop head, but maybe it doesn't have the same baggage as acoustic (or as our old organ had it 'accoustic') in the UK?

Paul & Jonathan - thank you, this seems to be the most likely explanation.

You raise an important point concerning nomenclature, Jonathan - the word ‘acoustic’ does carry a certain value here.

Concerning why an adjective might be added to the name of a stop, the funny thing is that we find qualitative adjectives completely normal for Harmonic, Doppel, or Lieblich Flutes, Open, Stopped, or Stentor Diapasons, etc, let alone adjectives concerning their pitch and genre.

So, if a Trumpet and Harmonic Trumpet, why not a Bombarde and Bombarde Acoustique?

Perhaps it is because - sometimes - such half length stops are seen as compromises? I rarely hear someone arguing positively for a half length stop!

 

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I agree with Paul and Jonathan - this will not be a resultant stop, but will have full length resonators until space gets too tight, when half length resonators will be used - 'Acoustique' is always used to describe this arrangement in France (if it's described at all) in my experience, and will appear in brackets on a specification but not generally on the stop knob itself.  Evreux has an odd pedal specification - because of space limitations.  The nave is extraordinarily narrow for a cathedral of its size.  However the sound of the organ is glorious in my view.

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The 1880 Cavaillé-Coll in Cathédrale Sainte-Croix Orléans has an acoustic/resultant Contre-Bombarde 32'.

The 32' drawstop also draws the Bombarde 16' drawstop, it actually plays an independent 10 2/3 Bombard rank throughout it's compass. The Cathedral is one of France's big ones with a very long reverberation time, the organ sounds absolutely fabulous, the 32' puts a decent growl under full organ but isn't a 'floor shaker' like the real thing at Basilique Saint-Sernin Toulouse. Speaking of which, the 1889 Cavaillé-Coll at St Sernin has a similar acoustic/resultant Principal-basse 32' which also draws the Contrebasse 16' and plays a Quint throughout it's compass - no use under celestes!

True 32's flue and reed stops in A.C-C organs are surprisingly rare beasts.

Played at Evreux several years ago, thought the 32' was the real thing at the time.

 

 

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There is an opus list somewhere; the large 32' organs are noted particularly. Perhaps it is in Douglass; I'll see if I can find it later.

From memory, leaving Orleans aside there were only 6 completely new reeds and 3 rebuilds of existing:

St Denis

St Sulpice (pre-existing)

ND de P (pre-existing)

Nancy (pre-existing)

Trocadero/Chaillot/Lyon

Toulouse

Rouen

Sheffield

Biarritz/Sacre Coeur

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I would have thought that this list covers it, I've yet to visit the Nancy area so was not aware of this one.

The A.C-C in Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste Perpignan has a remarkable acoustic 32' flue called Quintaton 32'. It has real drive, too loud under quite combinations but ok from say mf with manual doubles up to full organ. It's one of those effects which appears to grow in intensity as the general sound level increases, with the big reeds on you would swear that you could hear a 32' reed. I regret not asking the organist who looked after us to explain exactly what goes on with this stop.

I'm sure that A.C-C was bound by lack of space in many of his most prestigious builds as he was obliged to retain the classical casework, usually retaining also a Positif de Dos, from instruments of the previous century or earlier. Instruments which were very much smaller usually with a pedal organ which would only feature Open Flutes and Trompettes at 8&4' pitches. Hence so few examples of genuine 32' registers.

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Similarly, the 10 2/3 flue quint at Toulouse is remarkably effective, giving a perfect grounding to mf fonds

With louder combinations, underneath the pedal 16' reed, the overall weight and effect of the pedal is very satisfying in balance to the manuals, with much more of a 32' reed effect than many lesser instruments having reeds of that pitch.

It's just of course that here there's the real thing held in reserve for shattering, but still very musical, effect, and to provide a bass counterweight to the chamades.

Testament of course to the skill of the man and his voicers.

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I'll indulge myself a little more on one of the above points.

I think on these super-league ACC instruments the chamades and the Bombarde 32' are different sides of the same coin, with each being a balancing factor to the other.

I once sat through a recital at Rouen where the player - who shall be nameless - did not seem to grasp this, and regularly used the 8' + 4' chamades as chorus reeds without the 32' in action. The effect was almost painful. They are indeed fabulous reeds but for long periods, in chorus, the overwhelming mass of treble harmonic energy is draining for the listener.

When he was generous enough to also draw the 32' - usually for the final chord - everything snapped back into perfect focus and balance, and suddenly the effect was "I could drink this perfection all day" rather than "when is this going to stop?!"

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 16/03/2021 at 22:10, contraviolone said:

It's just a resultant stop. We may trust the French to tart up the word so that it sounds just superb when it isn't. 

That organ case in Evreux is utterly hideous. What were they thinking? Totally out of sympathy with its surroundings and completely grotesque.

Not always - the term is also used to refer to reeds with half-length bass resonators. (Nôtre-Dame de Paris formerly had a 'Bombarde Acoustique' in the Récit-Expressif; however the pipes were replaced with full-length resonators, in the 1990-92 rebuild.)

As mentioned above, Orléans Cathedral does have a resultant 32ft. reed, with pipes which go down to G8, to be used in conjunction with the 16ft. Bombarde. On recordings, it doesn't sound very convincing to my ears. I would have preferred a normal 32ft. Bombarde, even if it had to stop at G8.

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  • 4 months later...

It would be nice to hear some demonstrations of a 32' resultant reed, but there's no videos or recordings that demonstrate this particular type of resultant.

I have come across some videos of organ that do contain these acoustic stops. One example is a video of the Orgue du Voyage built by Jean Baptiste Monnot. Towards the end of the video i can hear what sounds a little like a 32' reed.

 

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