Association pour le rayonnement du Grand Orgue de Saint-Sulpice
50, rue de Vaugirard
F-75006 Paris France
Join a Movement to Classify the Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Grand Orgue
of Saint-Sulpice as a World Heritage
The Grand Orgue of Saint-Sulpice, built in 1862, is the largest instrument of the great organ builder. With 102 stops distributed over five manuals and pedal, it is an immense and complex machine, constructed on 7 levels and 20 meters in height. The instrument's solid construction has ensured no need for any major fundamental reconstruction throughout its over 100 years of service. The sonic plan of the instrument reflects intensive investigations by Cavaillé-Coll, and the influence of Lemmens (whom Cavaillé-Coll met in 1850), not to mention Cavaillé-Coll's growing interest in the organ music of Bach. All of these factors led to his desire to construct a "complete organ;" that is, an instrument supporting old as well as contemporary music. In fact, when the instrument was completed in 1862, more than 40% of its pipe work came from the edifice's former Clicquot instrument, of which all pipeword was conserved. At this time Cavaillé-Coll claimed that he had realized his objective "treating the union of the old and new art."
After 142 years, the Grand Orgue of Saint-Sulpice functions today as it did on the day it first sounded, with its original playing action and authentic sonic plan remaining as a testimony to its builder. This preservation of the instrument in its original state can be attributed to a history of titular organists, who having appreciated the master art of Cavaillé-Coll, renounced the so-called benefits of modern playing actions and the latest styles in sonic plans. We have before us a true miracle that has survived the neo-classic storm of the 20th century, which has destroyed many instruments of our beloved organ builder!
Many experts in organ building, as well as lovers of music, understand that the Grand Orgue of Saint-Sulpice must be preserved in its entirety. It is important to understand that, somewhere in the future, the instrument can fall victum to the latest fads, ideas, and fashions in organ building. We therefore believe that by classifying the Grand Orgue as a World Heritage, a stronger guaranty of preserving the instrument could be enacted. To this end, we earnestly desire that the competent authorities of UNESCO study the possibility of classifying historical organs whose future is in danger.
Our concerns for the preservation of the St-Sulpice Grand Orgue resulted in the launch of this petition in April 1999, the year of the 100th anniversary of the death of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. More than 4000 persons have already signed this petition. We therefore thank you in advance for your support to our cause by filling out, in block characters, the form below and returning this document (in its entirety) to the address above. You may photocopy this form to obtain additional signatures.
Daniel Roth, Vice President
Tituaire du Grand Orgue de St-Sulpice since 1985
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