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Thread: Casavant organs

  1. #31
    Commodore con Forza
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    In France, the lack of upperwork and mixtures came much earlier, namely with the young Cavaillé-Coll: many of his small-to-medium sized instruments hardly had any mixtures at all. It was mainly 16'-8'-4' flues plus 16'-8'-4' reeds. Of course, this is also partly because of French tradition, where reeds had always predominated over mixtures, even in the 18th century, but the young and eager C-C, yearning for an "orchestral" organ, went to

    Guilmant and Widor eventually learned the lesson, and influenced C-C into revising his position, which can be seen in his later instruments such as St-Sernin or St-Ouen (the mutation series of the 1868 Notre-Dame organ being more of an isolated experiment).

    Mutin (C-C's successor) continued moving in the same direction, as can be seen e.g. from the way he changed the specification of the 1898 C-C organ before setting it up in the Sacré-Coeur in 1919.

    Around that time, Norbert Dufourcq, Victor Gonzalez and André Marchal started the neoclassical mouvement (roughly the French equivalent of the Orgelbewegung), which insisted even more on restoring the rôle of mixtures and upperwork.

    Gonzalez had an obvious talent as a voicer and his instruments can actually be quite beautiful. The bad reputation of his name has much more to do with his successor Danion, who built his instruments under the name "Danion-Gonzalez". Two of Voctor Gonzalez' organs have been recorded:
    • Bailleul (close to Lille in Northern France), by Loïc Mallié (Hortus CD) and by Jérôme Faucheur (MP3s may be found here);
    • Soissons, by Vincent Genvrin (he did his own transcription of Mussorgski's Pictures, a Studio SM CD, long out of print I'm afraid).
    Another organ builder of that time was Joseph Beuchet, whose orientation was similar to that of Gonzalez.

    As far as I know, unification was hardly used in France, except sometimes in the pedal. I believe it was more common in the UK, but I'm not familiar with the organ history of that country.
    Last edited by acc; Feb-08-2007 at 01:06.

  2. #32
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Albert's Avatar
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    The 3-manual Gonzales in Andre Marchal's studio was recorded by Marchal with his daughter as narrator. I have the LP, and also picked up a CD that was released a few years ago.

    I will quote my mother's comment when she heard the 16' reed "What a ghastly sound!" <G>

  3. #33
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Hi Tom,

    Another anonymous contribution in the latest jests about an organbuilder in the North American Hemisphere: Phelpsavants

    Cheers!

    Giovanni

  4. #34
    Commodore con Forza
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert View Post
    The 3-manual Gonzales in Andre Marchal's studio was recorded by Marchal with his daughter as narrator. I have the LP, and also picked up a CD that was released a few years ago.

    I will quote my mother's comment when she heard the 16' reed "What a ghastly sound!" <G>
    Well, house organs are entirely different animals, I guess. In particular, you can hardly put a bombarde into such an instrument if you want to keep the peace with your neighbours , so that's probably why Marchal put in that admittedly thin ranquette instead.

  5. #35
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Albert,

    You mean the 16' didgeridoo

    Cheers!

    Giovanni

  6. #36
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    Apart from my post in the "introduce yourself" forum, this will be my first. Very interested to read all this because the cathedral I play for (here in Adelaide) has recently purchased a 2nd-hand Casavant. Us organists were the last to know by the way. In fact we weren't even told that they were thinking of getting a proper instrument back into the building after years of us playing the Rodgers toaster we currently have. Nor were we told about the consultant from Melbourne who made the recommendation. In fact, we were damn well ignored and kept well and truly out of the loop. I could write them a letter but I wonder if they'd care ...

    ANYWAY, despite all that rubbish, it's a nice thought to have another Casavant in Adelaide. Hopefully, the powers that be will deign to let us see the specifications one day, maybe even before it goes in - there's a novel thought. [/sarcasm]

    Adelaide's other Casavant is housed in the University and has been a relatively well-regarded instrument. It's entriely mechanical with no registration aids. The voicing is fairly Classical, I wouldn't say it's overtly Romantic but it can manage most of the repertoire very well. If I have any complaint it would be the voicing of the pedal 16s. The reeds are fine, but the Montre and Soubasse suffer in the bottom octave and lack the depth one would expect from these ranks. Curiously enough, the one in the Melbourne Concert Hall which was built at the same time, apparently has the same problem.

    Another very odd thing about it is that the tremulant for two of the manuals is winded off the same line. When you pull it on for the Pos, it also operates on the Recit (and vice versa). This can be a little inconvenient at times (sic!) and it is yet to be altered.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone else has encountered these problems.

    Matt

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