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Les' CC Organ
 
 

Of course, “CC” stands for Cavaillé-Coll and this is my attempt to recreate a medium sized three-manual instrument by the famous French romantic builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

Thanks to Piotr Grabowski, the Hauptwerk community has marvelous samples of not one, but two small two manual Cavaillé-Coll instruments from France; from Bégard, Chapelle du Bon Sauveur and from Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Cathédrale Sainte-Marie. Unlike many of Piotr’s sample sets, these are not free – but they are very reasonably priced and excellent. Both have exquisite acoustics typical of a fairly large stone building. In fact, the acoustics for the two organs are so similar that it is natural to consider combining them into a larger instrument. Piotr has announced his intention to do this – but since I had lots of free time (being in my fourth month of COVID-19 lockdown) I decided to try it myself.

I mostly modeled my hypothetical three-manual instrument after the important Cavaillé-Coll organ at the Basilica of Saint Sernin in Toulouse, France. I have spent some time in Toulouse in my day job working for NASA. The French Space Agency has a large facility just outside of town. Because of this, I have heard this organ several times and it has made a great impression. The photo above is one I took of this instrument.

I was able to create my entire stoplist from Piotr’s two Cavaillé-Coll organs with the exception of a single rank. There was no reasonable way to add the Clarinet stop I wanted in the Récit. Hence, I borrowed this rank from another of Piotr’s organs, from Cracow, st. John Cantius. Since I had already created an extended version of the Cracow organ, I had this rank on my computer, ready to go.

My organ is "free" but you will need to have first installed the three organs mentioned above from Piotr. As always, you can use my organ as long as you adhere to the terms Piotr has put forth on his web site.

From the three Grabowski organs, I created this specification:

 
Les' CC Organ
Pedale Positif Hauptwerk Récit (Exp.)
32' Bourdon 8' Cor de nuit 16' Montre 16' Quintaton
16' Contrebasse 8' Montre 8' Montre 8' Diapason
16' Soubasse 8' Salicional 8' Bourdon 8' Flute traversière
16' Petit soubasse 8' Unda Maris 8' Flûte harmonique 8' Viole de gambe
8' Basse 4' Prestant 8' Gambe 8' Voix Celeste
8' Bourdon doux 4' Flûte douce 4' Prestant 4' Flûte octaviante
4' Violoncelle   Carillon I-III 4' Flûte octaviante 2' Octavin
4' Flûte 8' Trompette 2 2/3' Quinte   Sesquialtera II
32' Contrebombarde 8' Basson-hautbois 2' Doublette   Plein jeu IV
16' Bombarde 4' Clairon   Cornet V 16' Basson
16' Basson   Trémolo   Plein Jeu V 8' Trompette
8' Trompette     16' Trompette 8' Basson-hautbois
4' Clairon   Anches 8' Trompette 8' Clairinet
    16' Positif to Positif 4 Clairon 8' Voix Humaine
  Anches   Positif Unison Off      4' Clairon
8' GO to Pedal 4' Positif to Positif   Anches   Tremulant
8' Récit to Pédale 16' Récit to Positif 16' Récit to GO    
4' Récit to Pédale 8' Récit to Positif 8' Récit to GO   Anches
8' Récit to Pédale 4' Récit to Positif 4' Récit to GO 16' Récit to Récit
4' Récit Pédale     16'' Positif to GO   Récit Unison Off
        8' Positif to GO 4' Récit to Récit
        4' Positif to GO 8' Positif to Récit

 

This is my first organ with the “Anches” mechanism. These are ventils that allow the organist to silence the stops in each division that are notated with italics. You will notice I have a lot more couplers than would have been possible on a real Cavaillé-Coll organ. His couplers would have been mechanical, requiring a lot of extra pressure on the part of the organist. I included a full complement of modern couplers for convenience. My console has all of these tabs and I want to be able to use them. Those of you who want to stay traditional can chose to ignore most of the couplers.

Here are the console, left jamb, and right jamb views. Click on each to see full size representations.

 
 

Here is what I did to create the organ out of (mostly) two smaller ones:

First, I have not recreated the multiple acoustic properties of Piotr's two Cavaillé-Coll organs. Both these organs contain three complete sets of samples: front, rear, and dry. I have used only the wet samples recorded in these churches closest to the organ. Piotr calls these "front" samples, even though they were actually recorded in the rear of the churches - since the organs are in both in the rear church galleries. These are wet samples with plenty of reverberation. If you really need more, I suggest you add your own - using either your own software or Hauptwerk V's inherent reverberation capability.

The Grande-Orgue is essentially the one from the Orolon organ. However, I made a few changes. I added the 4’ flute from the Begard’s Récit. I created the 2 2/3’ Quint using pipes from the 4’ Prestant with a bit of additional voicing to bring it in line with the ensemble. I substituted the 2’ Doublette from the Begard instrument because I liked it a lot more. It is brighter and adds a lot of the principal chorus. I also substituted the Plein jeu from the Begard instrument. The corresponding Plain jeu in the Orolon organ is a “Plein jeu harmonique” which means it has no (or few, at least) cutbacks. This gives it a muddy sound in the low range that is not what I am used to hearing from such organs. The Plein jeu from Begard is a more standard one for this era and has a good overall sound. In a larger Cavaillé-Coll organ there would have been two mixtures in the Grande-Orgue; a Fournture and a Cymbale. Mine is a medium sized organ so I wanted use a single mixture. Finally, I created a 16’ Bombarde from the Trompette rank. The Grande-Orgue really needs this heavier bass reed. As shown below, the Orolon 16’ Basson did not go to waste.

The Récit has, at its core, the division from the Orolon organ. However, I needed to add quite a few stops here to bring it in line with what is expected in a three-manual Cavaillé-Coll instrument. The 16’ Quintaton comes from the 16’ Bourdon in the Grande-Orgue in Begard, revoiced of course. The 8’ Diapason also comes from the Begard Grande-Orgue. The Sesquialtera comes from the Begard’s Récit. I created the Plein jeu IV from nine copies of the Begard Grande-Orgue Doublette. I used a published mixture composition table from a similar stop in the Cavaillé-Coll magnum opus in San Sulpice, Paris.

For the reeds, I used the Basson 16’ I saved from the Orolone Grand-Orgue. It is much better placed in the Récit. The Clarinet, as mentioned above, is the sole rank from the Cracow organ. I used the Clarion from the Begard organ to round out the reeds.

The Positif is an entirely new division. It is completely based on the Positif at Saint Sernin. Most of the pipework comes from the Begard organ, revoiced to be softer and bit brighter. The one exception is the 8’ Monte, which is derived from the Begard. I created the interesting Carillon mixture stop from documentation of the one at Saint Sernin. This is an odd stop that is supposed to give the effect of a glockenspiel over the manual’s chorus. It has a 1’ rank for much of its compass.

The Pédale is mostly a union of the pedal divisions from Orolon and Begard. I added the two 32’ stops and I load them with a truncated release to stop them from reverberating for 10 seconds! Since I had two Soubasse ranks to play with, I revoiced one into what I call a “Petit soubasse.” This is not something Cavaillé-Coll actually did. Even some of his largest organs had only two 16’ flue stops in the Pédale. I did this for myself so I can have a softer 16’ for other genres of organ music. One of the nice things about the Begard and Orolon sample sets is that one has a 16’ Bombarde and the other a 16’ Basson. Hence, my organ can have both!

I have disabled the wind model - for historic reasons. Also, I have not (yet) incorporated any of the tracker, keyboard, expression, or stop noises from Piotr’s samples. In my own application, I like a clean organ without noises. I may add these later if I have more time since one can always disable them when loading the organ.

Finally, I added a full complement of couplers and a large combination action. There are also the standard reversable pistons and "bass" and "melody" functions - mostly because they are so easy to create in Hauptwerk. None of these are accurate for an historic Cavaillé-Coll instrument. However, Cavaillé-Coll actually did create some of the first true adjustable combinations (the San Sulpice or-gan is the best example) and I believe if he were alive today, he would be using all of these more modern appliances. If it helps, think of my CC instrument as an historic Cavaillé-Coll organ that has been given a modern console – several of these do exist.

If you want to use this organ, be sure you have Hauptwerk v4 or higher (this organ does not require a special license) and have already installed the three required orgns from Piotr's web site:

Begard

Orolon-Sainte-Marie

Cracow, st. John Cantius

Then download and install my installation poackage:

Les_CC_1_0.CompPkg.Hauptwerk.rar

This is a Hauptwerk standard installation package in rar format. Save it to your disk, start Hauptwerk, and then use its install feature to read the rar file as per the manual.

I have included the source code for the Hauptwerk CODM file so you can see how I did all this and get ideas for your own projects. However, for this particular project I have eliminated some individual sampled pipes and done some voicing and tuning. The instructions for others to reconstruct all of this would be too complex. Hence is you load the CODM file, the organ will not sound exactly as intended.

CODM File

This organ is a great value. You get a full-featured three-manual Cavaillé-Coll inspired organ for the price of two small organs. The reverb on the samples is ample, but the clarity of the samples still makes this a good insturment for practicing. I strongly suggest setting Hauptwerk V's internal reverb to zero for this organ.

The CC Organ fits easily into 16 GB of RAM.

There will be some demo recordings of this instrument on my organ recordings page soon.

Have fun with this.