December 1, 2023

A radiant organ in a bright room

25 minutes ago

The Third International Organ Festival will be opened by a young organist from the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, steeped in musical history: Karol Mosakowski interprets and improvises for a large audience in St. Moritz.

When the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris did not yet have its own “Queen”, the first, best and largest organ was created by the famous French organ builder Aristide Cavailles – that is, before 1868 – France, also built by Cavaillé-Coll for six years in the parish church of St. Sulpice of St.-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. This means that the history of the organ was also written in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, once a quarter of intellectual life and now a tourist attraction: the composer Charles-Marie Widor developed his ten symphonies here, and his student, assistant and deputy Louis Verne followed in his artistic footsteps – and then also worked As deputy to Marcel Debray.

Saint-Sulpice, where Widor is buried, has a formidable reputation to uphold – both as the place where major organ composers worked and as an instrument so important it could become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just as the panel painting emerged only as a result of the architecture of a Gothic church broken by high windows (more light!), and just as the dynamics of Liszt’s piano would not have been possible without the use of the cast-iron sash frame, the multi-colored nature of late Romantic organ compositions depended on the innovations of the instrument Cavaillé-Coll, the innovative father of the modern organ.

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