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  • organ solesmes
  • organ solesmes

The Organ

The first organ in the organ gallery of our Abbey Church was made by Charles Verschneider and installed in 1857.  This was replaced by an instrument from Gonzalez inaugurated in 1934.

The current thirty-nine-stop, tracker action organ is by the Strasbourg organ builder Curt Schwenkedel.  It was blessed by Abbot Prou and inaugurated by Gaston Litaize on 22nd October 1967.

Curt Schwenkedel and his collaborator Georges Lhôte, in full agreement with the organists of the day, Dom Bonnet and Dom Gay, designed an instrument based on the classic French style, adding to this basic foundation elements inspired by both northern and southern European organ traditions.  The 1967 organ thus enables players to draw not only from the French, but from a much wider, and especially liturgical, repertoire.

The 'open-foot' design was chosen for the voicing provided by Laurent Steinmetz.  This means that the feet at the base of the pipes are wide open and require a relatively low air pressure giving the organ great clarity and balance throughout the instrument’s compass.  All these factors make it possible to tackle polyphonic works coming from various times and places.  The solo stops add the finishing touch to a very agreeable ensemble.

The pipework, which reuses part of the old organ, has been partially modified several times: in 1977 by Pierre Chéron, in 2009 by Denis Lacorre, and in 2010 by Jean-Marie Tricoteaux.