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Thread: Notre Dame Sound

  1. #1
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Notre Dame Sound

    Hi all

    One of the organs that I just love is that of Notre Dame. It has a distinct sound I am sure some of you have heard and love at least as much as I do. But I am at a loss as to what regristration it is to make that incredible sound. If any of you know, please may you let me know?
    I am going to try and link the sound I mean.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Mr. Arthur Woolsey; I can see why you haven't been overwhelmed with responses, asking such a difficult question, and that's even difficult from my perspective, one of listening to Jimi Hendrix on headphones. While the construction of any organ is the defining characteristics, as a musical instrument, it's the environment that configures the acoustic sound. Imagine sitting in the back row at a busy holiday celebration, some High Mass, with a large crowd in front of you and some street noise from behind. Or, you could be sitting up in the choir loft, hearing only the organ.
    Of course, you'd be hearing some of the manual operations that make the organ function, but that's just like God anyway, the light and dark, good and bad, live and evil.
    Some would say the room in your soul is the most important part of this cathedral organ acoustic equation, as those micro-electronic movements of sub-atomic particles diminish through travel and disappear into where we can't hear.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    @Arthur - I used to own a lovely CD called Midnight at Notre Dame - fabulous recording. I agree, such a gorgeous sound. I love Latry's improvising, he's incredible and love his wry smile at the camer at the very beginning - how gorgeous he is.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Commodore con Forza GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Arthur, That is magnificent, thank you.
    The only reason for time is to prevent everything from happening at once - Albert Einstein

    You know you have reached Middle Age when it takes you longer to rest up than it did to get tired.

    If it sounds good; it is good

    Rob

  5. #5
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    He is a magnificent organist. In response to John Watt - that is a really good idea that I hadn't really thought of but I have a feeling it is something to do much more with the instrument itself and the registrations used. I shall ask my organ teacher who also happens to be a musicologist, and I shall post on what he says. Thanks a lot though for giving it thought and a really good answer. I haven't heard of Midnight at Notre Dame - I shall try and find it - thank you.

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    I think what he means are the chamades - Arthur, they are powerful trumpet stops, and Notre Dame has a very unique set of them!

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Though the NDdeP organ is hardly a C-C anymore, I still enjoy the "in-your-face" sound it can create. Yep, the chamades add to the effervescent clang and clamour of the instrument - And then there is Latry who works wonderful improvsation on it.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    I think I can answer this question - it is actually fairly straightforward. Latry is using the Tutti (without the chamades) at the outset - this includes the five clavier choruses, with their chorus reeds. A significant reduction at around 1'.20" uses a variety of sounds - including quiet fonds 8ft. and 4ft. At about 3'.34", he moves his right hand up to the third clavier (Récit-Expressif) where, in addition to the full Récit, the Boisseau Chamades (8ft. and 4ft.) are brought into play for the fanfare-like motif; (this appears, modified into single notes, again at 4'.34" - 5'.40" - possibly with the Grand-Chœur coupled and the Tuba Magna 16ft. in use - there is a distinct, strong sub-unison reed tone, here). Although the 'new' chamades (added in the 1990-92 restoration) are also available on this clavier, I believe that it is those by Robert Boisseau (which were installed around 1970*) used here. They have a distinctive sound. Those added more recently were deliberately modelled closely on those constructed by Cavaillé-Coll for the organ of S. Sernin, Toulouse. These stops (8ft. and 4ft.) have more body to the sound and are less 'sharp' in timbre.

    Clearly there are a number of crescendi and diminuendi throughout the improvisation. The most powerful of these (at around 6'.00") uses the chamades (on the Récit) against most of the rest of the instrument. However, when he drops down to the first clavier (G.O.) at 6'.22", the ensemble, whilst being fairly full for most divisions of the instrument, has yet to include the chamades coupled through.

    A diminuendo, commencing at about 6'.35", reduces the instrument to quiet fonds 8ft. and 4ft. At 7'.16", as far as I can tell, just 8ft. Bourdons are in play. At 7'.19", his left hand moves up to the Positif (unenclosed), where he uses the Unda Maris against the G.O. Bourdon 8ft., with high mutations on the Pédale Orgue.

    At 7'.44", both hands play on the G.O. (lowest clavier), utilising mezzoforte fonds 8ft, with one or two quiet sub-unison ranks (perhaps the 16ft. Bourdons of the G.O. and Positif).

    The final cresecendo begins at 7'.56", and progresses through the choruses and mixtures (from about 8'.04" onwards), to reeds (added at approximately 8'.17"). At 8'.38", most sections are 'full' - including the Pédale Bombarde 32ft., but excluding the chamades. A brief reduction at 9'.24", leads to the addition of (at least) the Boisseau chamades at 9'.31", for a grand statement, in octaves. By about 9'.34", the Tutti Général is in use (now including the chamades) - and remains so for the conclusion of the piece. I can assure you, from personal experience on a number of occasions, that this is nothing less than devastating from the console.




    * I am not sure of the exact date of their installation. They were planned by the Organ Commission in 1959. However, they do not 'appear' on recordings prior to 1970, as far as I can recall. There is no doubt whatsoever that Pierre Cochereau would have used them, had they been available prior to this date.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Oct-24-2012 at 08:49.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcnd5584 View Post
    I think I can answer this question - it is actually fairly straightforward. Latry is using the Tutti (without the chamades) at the outset - this includes the five clavier choruses, with their chorus reeds. A significant reduction at around 1'.20" uses a variety of sounds - including quiet fonds 8ft. and 4ft. At about 3'.34", he moves his right hand up to the third clavier (Récit-Expressif) where, in addition to the full Récit, the Boisseau Chamades (8ft. and 4ft.) are brought into play for the fanfare-like motif; (this appears, modified into single notes, again at 4'.34" - 5'.40" - possibly with the Grand-Chœur coupled and the Tuba Magna 16ft. in use - there is a distinct, strong sub-unison reed tone, here). Although the 'new' chamades (added in the 1990-92 restoration) are also available on this clavier, I believe that it is those by Robert Boisseau (which were installed around 1970*) used here. They have a distinctive sound. Those added more recently were deliberately modelled closely on those constructed by Cavaillé-Coll for the organ of S. Sernin, Toulouse. These stops (8ft. and 4ft.) have more body to the sound and are less 'sharp' in timbre.

    Clearly there are a number of crescendi and diminuendi throughout the improvisation. The most powerful of these (at around 6'.00") uses the chamades (on the Récit) against most of the rest of the instrument. However, when he drops down to the first clavier (G.O.) at 6'.22", the ensemble, whilst being fairly full for most divisions of the instrument, has yet to include the chamades coupled through.

    A diminuendo, commencing at about 6'.35", reduces the instrument to quiet fonds 8ft. and 4ft. At 7'.16", as far as I can tell, just 8ft. Bourdons are in play. At 7'.19", his left hand moves up to the Positif (unenclosed), where he uses the Unda Maris against the G.O. Bourdon 8ft., with high mutations on the Pédale Orgue.

    At 7'.44", both hands play on the G.O. (lowest clavier), utilising mezzoforte fonds 8ft, with one or two quiet sub-unison ranks (perhaps the 16ft. Bourdons of the G.O. and Positif).

    The final cresecendo begins at 7'.56", and progresses through the choruses and mixtures (from about 8'.04" onwards), to reeds (added at approximately 8'.17"). At 8'.38", most sections are 'full' - including the Pédale Bombarde 32ft., but excluding the chamades. A brief reduction at 9'.24", leads to the addition of (at least) the Boisseau chamades at 9'.31", for a grand statement, in octaves. By about 9'.34", the Tutti Général is in use (now including the chamades) - and remains so for the conclusion of the piece. I can assure you, from personal experience on a number of occasions, that this is nothing less than devastating from the console.




    * I am not sure of the exact date of their installation. They were planned by the Organ Commission in 1959. However, they do not 'appear' on recordings prior to 1970, as far as I can recall. There is no doubt whatsoever that Pierre Cochereau would have used them, had they been available prior to this date.
    The chamades were installed in the course of 1968 as far as I can remember. One thing I am sure of :when I first visited the loft in january 1968 (PC playing) there were no chamades

  11. #10
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    I think that it was later than this. There is a recording, made in early December 1968, in which the tutti was used - but without the chamades. If they had been installed by this time, there is no doubt that Cochereau would have used them.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcnd5584 View Post
    I think that it was later than this. There is a recording, made in early December 1968, in which the tutti was used - but without the chamades. If they had been installed by this time, there is no doubt that Cochereau would have used them.
    After verification in "Pierre Cochereau-Témoignages" edited by Yvette Carbou in 1999, the chamades were installed in november 1968. In the recording you have mentioned PC effectively does not use the chamades. I don't know the reason even if I was present at the loft this precise sunday....

  13. #12
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thierry59 View Post
    After verification in "Pierre Cochereau-Témoignages" edited by Yvette Carbou in 1999, the chamades were installed in november 1968. In the recording you have mentioned PC effectively does not use the chamades. I don't know the reason even if I was present at the loft this precise sunday....
    In which case, presumably they had either not been fine-tuned, or were perhaps still in the process of being connected up to the rest of the action.

    Incidentally, please can you confirm whether or not the third Pédale 16ft. flue and reed (Violoncelle and Ranquette, I believe) were ever actually installed? They only appear in one version of the stop-list, out of the several which I possess - all of which detail most of the additions and alterations, from 1959 to 1984. In addition, at least one stop-list gives a second 32ft. reed (Sordun) - which I have never heard used, and which disappeared from all subsequent stop-lists. Did this ever exist in the organ?
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Oct-27-2012 at 01:32.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcnd5584 View Post
    In which case, presumably they had either not been fine-tuned, or were perhaps still in the process of being connected up to the rest of the action.

    Incidentally, please can you confirm whether or not the third Pédale 16ft. flue and reed (Violoncelle and Ranquette, I believe) were ever actually installed? They only appear in one version of the stop-list, out of the several which I possess - all of which detail most of the additions and alterations, from 1959 to 1984. In addition, at least one stop-list gives a second 32ft. reed (Sordun) - which I have never heard used, and which disappeared from all subsequent stop-lists. Did this ever exist in the organ?
    In the final list of stops dated 1972, we have the Ranquette 16', a new stop installed by Boisseau. This stop, strangely enough, was first called Régale and then Sordun. Furthermore, a Sordun 32' (smooth reed) was effectively foreseen at the origin, but has never been added (source: leaflets of Philipps and FY Solstice). As for the other 16th flue at the Pédale, we have 2 of them: contrebasse 16 and soubasse 16. There was also a Principal 16' (named Violoncelle 16) added by Beuchet in 1932 together with a bourdon 8'. Both these stops had been horizontally located on the roof of the case due to the lack of space: Boisseau was able to reposition the bourdon 8 on the "petite" Pédale which was not possible for the Violoncelle to cumbersome with regard the available space on the sommier".
    Amicalement.
    Thierry
    "

  15. #14
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thierry59 View Post
    In the final list of stops dated 1972, we have the Ranquette 16', a new stop installed by Boisseau. This stop, strangely enough, was first called Régale and then Sordun. Furthermore, a Sordun 32' (smooth reed) was effectively foreseen at the origin, but has never been added (source: leaflets of Philipps and FY Solstice). As for the other 16th flue at the Pédale, we have 2 of them: contrebasse 16 and soubasse 16. There was also a Principal 16' (named Violoncelle 16) added by Beuchet in 1932 together with a bourdon 8'. Both these stops had been horizontally located on the roof of the case due to the lack of space: Boisseau was able to reposition the bourdon 8 on the "petite" Pédale which was not possible for the Violoncelle to cumbersome with regard the available space on the sommier".
    Amicalement.
    Thierry
    "
    Merci bien, M'sieur.

    I had known about the Violoncelle added by Beuchet-Debièrre, and had wondered where (and why) it went.

    I must admit that, whilst it is still a fine instrument, the effect of the tutti was changed - albeit subtly - in 1990-92. This was largely the result of removing both chorus mixtures in the Récit-Expressif (and, oddly, leaving a couple of blank draw-stops), and re-arranging the intervals and the breaks of those on the G.O. and Positif. The tutti is now rather reed-dominated - to which the new 'Sernin' chamades contribute considerably. Still, at least one can anull the tierce rank in the G.O. Fourniture, by means of a switch.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Oct-27-2012 at 14:30.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcnd5584 View Post
    Merci bien, M'sieur.

    I had known about the Violoncelle added by Beuchet-Debièrre, and had wondered where (and why) it went.

    I must admit that, whilst it is still a fine instrument, the effect of the tutti was changed - albeit subtly - in 1990-92. This was largely the result of removing both chorus mixtures in the Récit-Expressif (and, oddly, leaving a couple of blank draw-stops), and re-arranging the intervals and the breaks of those on the G.O. and Positif. The tutti is now rather reed-dominated - to which the new 'Sernin' chamades contribute considerably. Still, at least one can anull the tierce rank in the G.O. Fourniture, by means of a switch.
    I agree with you. The sound effect of the tutti has changed over the time which is to me rather sad as I was very much sensitive to the beauty of the PC organ. Carbou used to say that the NDP organ was now wearing a lounge suit (complet veston) instead of the sportswear of the former period!

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