Orgelkids China執行長蔣士挺(Justin Berg)「兒童管風琴教育專欄」【初因初音】。
『Aristide Cavaille-Coll』from the column【My First Sound】 by Justin Berg, the Executive Director of Orgelkids China. (In English below)
〜Aristide Cavaille-Coll (part I) continued (3)〜
Aside from the shape of the pedal keys, the Pedale stops of the Classical French organs was typically few. Even instruments toward the end of the Eighteenth century often only had 8’ and 4’ Flûtes, as well as 12’ Trompette and 6’ Clarion (e.g. François-Henri Clicquot’s 1783 organ in Souvigny) in the pedal division. Perhaps you noticed something strange about the numbers in that previous sentence? Why are the flutes at ‘normal’ 8’ and 4’ pitches while the reeds are given at 12’ and 6’? This has to do with another interesting feature of the Classical French organ: the pedalboards often extended below C2, anywhere from a third (A1) to a fifth (F1), but only the reeds played in this lowest portion of the pedalboards, known as Ravalement. Because the reeds began from these lower notes, their resonators (pipe bodies) were longer and thus had to be measured using larger numbers, hence the 12’ and 6’ lengths. The reeds of the French pedal division were also forceful, able to penetrate the volume and texture of the full Plein Jeu in order to solo out a melody, usually a chant.
Of the remaining features of these Classical organs deserving of our attention, we will consider just two: the Récit and Echo divisions. Both of these keyboards enjoyed specialized uses. Usually the third manual, the Récit was a solo division containing just a few stops, the pipes of which also stood on a small mounted windchest, much like the Cornet of the Grand Orgue. It was possible for builders to position these pipes high inside the case because the Récit was only a treble manual, commencing from, or a few notes below middle C. Normally, this division had only two or three stops, such as a Trompette, Hautbois (oboe) and Cornet. This meant that there was a second mounted Cornet in addition to the one on the Grand Orgue!
By complete contrast, the organs of this era often included a manual called Echo, which sat the highest of all the keyboards (typically fourth, and thus furthest away from the organist). This keyboard controlled a small division of pipes that were positioned in the bottom of the organ case — in its chest, so to speak — and which sounded so quiet that it functioned as a kind of dynamic contrast with the other manuals: loud on the Grand Orgue (2nd manual), moderately loud on the Positif (1st manual), and soft on the Echo.
All of the above features — the brash reeds, the profound principle choruses, with the Pedale, Récit and Echo divisions — would take on a new life in the next century thanks to the extraordinary inventiveness of Aristide Cavaille-Coll. He reused, replaced and reimagined all of these components and features of the Classical organ to create something ultimately new, the French Symphonic Organ. In our next article, we’ll learn how he achieved this musical innovation.