Bonsecours, Basilique Notre-Dame
Bonsecours, Basilique Notre-Dame
In November 1857 Aristide Cavaillé-Coll delivered a new instrument for the Neo Gothic basilica Notre-Dame of Bonsecours (1844) near Rouen
In November 1857 Aristide Cavaillé-Coll delivered an instrument with 22 stops on two manuals and pedal (14 on the GO, 8 in the Swell for the Neo Gothic basilica Notre-Dame of Bonsecours (built in 1844), with no independent Pedal stops, lack of resources) for the . The instrument was inaugurated by Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély, the organist of the Madeleine church in Paris, on November 20, 1857.
The organ had an attached console and no Barker machine. Its Neo Gothic polychrome oak front case, built after drawings of Father Arthur Martin, houses the lowest pipes of 5 stops on the front, the Montre 8’, the Flûte harmonique 8’, the Salicional 8’, the Viole de Gambe 8’-16’ (whose first octave is just 8’ length) and those of the Prestant 4’. For the front pipes and the basses, Cavaillé-Coll used cone valves. This organ was the first important opus of Cavaillé-Coll in the Rouen area.
Cavaillé-Coll proceeded to some maintenance work as early as 1868 for 1000 francs. In 1879, he added an independent pedal of 4 stops (Contre- basse 16’, Basse 8’, Bombarde 16’, Trompette 8’) for 7,000 francs.
In 1888-89, on the occasion of new maintenance work, he carried out important changes which lend to the instrument a more “symphonic” aesthetic, as Cavaillé-Coll conceived it in his last period of activity. At a cost of 8,900 francs
- he enlarged the swell box in order to have additional space for three more ranks, placed on the flanks on each side of the swellbox
- he reharmonized the whole organ by applying new expressive tuning slots to the pipework
- he added a Barker machine (placed under the organist's bench and in the false Positif case) and an additional keyboard to the console (1st manual), to serve just as a coupling keyboard.
Following this restoration, Charles-Marie Widor, then titular at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, gave the inaugural concert on November 7, 1889.
In 1928, the organbuilder Cavaillé-Coll Mutin (successor Auguste Convers & Cie) and later, in 1954, the organbuilder Beuchet-Debierre from Nantes, transformed the organ: the harmonic progression mixture was transformed into a Plein-jeu and a Tierce was added to the GO as well as a Plein-jeu of four ranks to the swell. The ranges of the keyboards and pedalboard were extended to 56 and accordingly 30 notes by the help of pneumatic motors disposed where the space allowed it. During the intervention of 1954, Jean Perroux had carried out an extensive reharmonization of several stops. Marcel Dupré gave the inauguration recital.
In September 1997, the organ was declared a historic monument. In 1999-2000, the organ was restored by the organbuilder Jean Renaud- Meno- ret. The harmonization was carried out by the Lacorre and Robert organ building company. The specification sheet, defined by the Higher Commission for Historic Monuments, presribed a return to the Cavaillé-Coll organ from 1889, maintaining the range of 56 notes for the keyboards and the 30 for the pedalboard which was realized this time by integrating the additional notes into the original windchest by intercalated engravings.