ORGAN OF THE MONTH 75: September 2008

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris
(Clicquot 1788, Cavaillé-Coll 1868, Boisseau 1960, 1992)

Click on the thumbnail to obtain a full-size image


We celebrate reaching the 75th Organ of the Month in undeniably spectacular fashion by featuring one of the world's most famous instruments upon which our President, Paul Carr, gave a recital last month (for photos of the BOA Paris trip, click here).

Although the cathedral has possessed an organ since medieval times, only twelve pipes survive from this period and the story of the present instrument really begins with the 18th century rebuild by Clicquot.  But this was still essentially "classical" in design, and the "symphonic" organ sound we hear today dates from the mid-19th century work of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.  During Louis Vierne's time as Organist, small tonal changes were made during two restorations (1904 and 1932), and the blowing system was electrified in 1924.  A new console and electric action was provided in the '60s rebuild.

Since the last rebuild in 1992, everything is now under the numerical control of seven computers. With this unique system, the organist can even set the touch depth of manuals which correspond to the valve opening timing. He/she has access to editing and generating software that can create, modify, and save on disks, a multitude of combinations. With the MIDI interface, (s)he can hear him/her-self, after completing a performance, in order to evaluate playing and registration.  Even the order of which division each manual controls is programmable!

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Last modified: August 30, 2008