Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:59

Paris, Saint-Eustache (101/V/P, 1989)

Jane Parker-Smith: Widor - Moderato (I/Symphonie VII):
Carlo Cury: J.S. Bach - Erbarm'dich mein, o Herre Gott BWV 721:
Michiel Bourcier: Jean-Louis Florentz - Harpe de Marie:
Christopher Herrick: Enrico Bossi - Pièce Heroïque, opus 128:
Bernard Haas: Franz Liszt - Sonate 2:

The organ at the St. Eustache, Paris persuaded the "Societé Académique d'Arts et Lettres" in Paris to bestow their "Médaille de Vermeïl" upon Jan L. van den Heuvel in 1991 for his contribution to the Art of French organ building

church largeThe Church of St. Eustache, erected between 1532 and 1640, is one of the most important churches in Paris. Standing near the Louvre an the Royal Palace, St. Eustache was known as the Parochial and Royal Church from the 17th century until the French Revolution.

Numerous major events have marked its history. Richelieu, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (the future Marquess de Pompadour) and Molière were baptised there. Louis XIV Holy Communion was celebrated in the St. Eustache, as were the funerals of La Fontaine, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's mother, and many others.

The writer Voiture, the grammarian Vaugelas, Furetière, the harlequin Dominique Bensérade and Scaramouche were buried there.

The world-wide reputation of the St. Eustache is due not only to its splendid architecture, but also to its musical tradition. The merriage of Lulli, the last organ recital of Remeau, the concerts of Berlioz, Franck, Liszt and many others are examples. Since 1963 Jean Guillou, accomplished virtuoso, improviser of great talent and representative of modern music for the organ, has been the titular organist.

The Organ

Having to face the disastrous results of the works initiated in 1978, the City of Paris decided, in 1985, to organise an European competition in order to have the organ rebuild.
Amongst the organ builders selected and allowed to submit a proposal, KLAIS and VAN DEN HEUVEL got the same number of votes at the "Commision des Orgues" and finally the contract was awarded to the Dutch firm VAN DEN HEUVEL.

frontdetail largeBuilding the new instrument began at fall 1986 and the organ was completed in the organ builder's assembly hall in august 1988. At that time it was fully playable Front Detail (with exception of the display pipes which, together with the case, were strongly anchored to the walls of the Saint Eustache church). During fall 1988 the instrument was dismantled and shipped to Paris, then reinstalled on the gallery. Works were finished by summer 1989 and the titular was able to record some CD's in June 1989 and play the dedicatory recital on September 21st, 1989.

cordebasset largeThe Van den Heuvel organ is completely new except the case with its display pipes and a few stops which were reused (amongst them the Cor de Basset 8' made by the famous English organ builder Henry Willis for Joseph Bonnet - organist of Saint Eustache from 1906 to 1943).

The new organ has five manual divisions of 61 notes and a Pedal of 32 notes. The Specification is exceptionally rich. The Positif has 18 stops, the Grand-Orgue 16 stops, the Récit Expressif 17 stops, the Grand-Choeur 19 stops, the Solo 11 stops and the Pedal 20 stops, altogether 101 stops, 147 ranks and 8.000 pipes. Amongst the uncommon features of this organ, the following are particularly noticeable:

  • a grand Plein-Jeu based on the Montre 32' on the Grand-Orgue;
  • the harmonic series up to the ninth in 32' on the Pédale (Théorbe: 4 4/7' + 3 5/9') , in 16' on the Grand-Choeur and in 8' on the Solo (Harmoniques: 1 1/3' + 1 1/7' + 8/9'), and up to the seventh in 8' on the Positif;
  • a Plein-Jeu Harmonique 2-8r. on the Grand-Choeur;
  • a battary of hooded Tubas on the Grand-Choeur;
  • a reed battary based on the 32' Contrebasson on the Récit Expressif;
  • the five ranks of chamade reeds on the solo winded on 6 (!) different wind pressures increasing from bass to treble.

Amongst the exceptional colours, the series of harmonic flutes (8', 4', 2 2/3', 2', 1 3/5', 1') on the Solo must be noted; this was introduced by Jean Guillou in the organs of "Chant dóiseau" in Bruxelles and of the Tonhalle in Zürich. Jean Guillou also had the iedea to add a Sesquialtera to the Grand-Orgue in order to allow more soloistic possibilities to this manual.


speeltafel nef 2010

The Contre-Bombarde 32' was not specified in the original contract but the Van den Heuvel brothers thought that the existing Contre-Trombone 32' (with its wooden resonators of relatively small scale) was not assertive enough for such a large instrument; so they gave this new stop to the City of Paris. Thus the organ of the Saint Eustache seems to be the only one in the world which has three independent 32' reed stops.

speeltafel tribune 2010

Key and stop action

There are two consoles: one "en fenêtre" on the gallery which has an assisted tracker key action with Barker-levers; the other, in the nave, is moveble and has an electronic transmission. The electronic stop action has a shared combination system for both consoles.

Gallery console: the action is direct tracker for the Positif and Grand-Orgue, and is assisted by Barker levers for Récit, Grand-Choeur, Solo and Pédale and, ad libitum, for the Grand-Orgue. In order to avoid the very disturbing noise of the Barker machines when the organ is played they are put in a big insulated room with triple walls.

Nave console: the transmission is electronic using a bus-system which powers magnets attached to mechanical action between key and Barker. The system also provides also the additional couplers.

A MIDI capture system makes it possible to record and play back the organists performances.





Internal layout

layoutThe main parts of the instrument are distributed on 5 levels:

  • in the nave: the moveble console;
  • on the gallery level: the attached console, two blowers in sound-proof boxes, three reservoirs, the room for the Barker machines, the Positif (Pos);
  • on the 1st floor: The Grand-Orgue (G-O), the Pédale (P1: Anches; P2: Fonds; P3: Mutations) and the Grand-Choeur Tubas (T). One blower in a sound-proof box and eight reservoirs;
  • on the second floor: the Récit (Réc) and the Grand-Choeur (G-Ch), two blowers in sound-proof boxes and six reservoirs;
  • on the 3rd floor: the Solo (S) with it's Chamades (Ch), one blower in a sound-proof box and six reservoirs.

Wooden staircases allow to reach every part of the organ easily. The gallery entrance, the doors of the gallery entrance, were completely remade in Mahogany by the Van den Heuvel brothers who have restored the case around the gallery console and the back wall of the Positif which had disappeared.


Six blowers produce the wind necessary for the 8000 pipes. The most powerful one feeds the Pedal windchests and the Barker machines; the other are put in sound-proof boxes. 23 reservoirs enable every division to get the right pressure (from 90 to 167 mm). As a matter of fact, every division - with exception of the Positif - has at least three different wind pressures: one for the bass, one for the medium and on for the treble. The Grand-Choeur has four different wind pressures because the Tubas stand on a special windchest at 150 mm and the Solo has six different wind pressures from bass (105 mm) to treble (167 mm); this feature is unique in the world.

Assembly hall 1988

Pictures of the contruction and build-up of the organ in our assembly hall:


The tour through the organ consists of 19 new photo's taken by Karsten Unverricht in oktober 2003:

Additional Info

  • Location: Parijs (F)
  • Inauguration: Thursday, 21 September 1989
  • Activity: Nieuwbouw
  • Stoplist:

    Pédale, C1-g32, 6 windchests.

    [pressure: 110mm]
    Principale basse 32' [wood & metal]
    Flûte 16' [wood]
    Contrebasse 16' [wood]
    Soubasse 16' [1-24 wood]
    Grande Quinte 10 2/3' [wood, open]
    Flûte 8' [wood, open]
    Violoncelle 8'
    Grande Tierce 6 2/5'
    Quinte 5 1/3'
    Flûte 4' [wood, open]
    Flûte 2'
    Théorbe 2r. [4 4/7' + 3 5/9']
    Mixture 5r. 4'

    [pressure: 125mm]
    Contre-Bombarde 32'
    Contre-Trombone 32' [1-18 wood]
    Bombarde 16'
    Basson 16'
    Trompette 8'
    Baryton 8'
    Clairon 4'

    Positif (I), C1-c61, 2 windchests.

    [pressure: 90mm]
    Quintaton 16'
    Montre 8'
    Salicional 8'
    Unda-Maris 8' [TC]
    Bourdon 8'
    Prestant 4'
    Flûte à Fuseau 4'
    Nasard 2 2/3'
    Doublette 2'
    Tierce 1 3/5'
    Larigot 1 1/3'
    Septième 1 1/7'
    Fourniture 5r. 2'
    Cymbale 2r. 1/3'
    Douçaine 16'
    Trompette 8'
    Cromorne 8'
    Clairon 4'

    Grand-Orgue (II), C1-c61, 4 windchests.

    [pressure: 100mm]
    Montre 32'
    Montre 16'
    Principal 8'
    Flûte à Cheminée 8'
    Prestant 4'
    Flûte 4'
    Doublette 2'
    Grande Fourniture [32'] 4-8r. 2 2/3'
    Plein-Jeu 4-5r. 1 1/3'
    Sesquialtera 2r. [2 2/3' + 1 3/5']

    [pressure: 1-24 100mm,
    25-38 105mm, 39-61 115mm]
    Violoncelle 8'
    Grosse Flûte 1-2r. 8'
    Grand Cornet 3-5r. 2 2/3' [mounted]
    Bombarde 16' [1-8 L/2, 1-12 wood]
    Trompette 8'
    Clairon 4'

    Récit Expressif (III), C1-c61, 2 windchests.

    [pressure: 115mm]
    Flûte à Cheminée 16'
    Principal 8'
    Cor de Nuit 8'
    Octave 4'
    Plein-Jeu 6r. 2 2/3'
    Basson-Hautbois 8'
    Voix Humaine 8'

    pressure: 1-24 115mm,
    25-38 120mm, 39-61 130mm]
    Flûte Traversière 8'
    Viole de Gambe 8'
    Voix Céleste 8' [TC]
    Flûte Octaviante 4'
    Octavin 2'
    Carillon 3r. 2 2/3' [mounted]
    Contrebasson 32' [1-16 L/2]
    Bombarde 16' [1-12 L/2]
    Trompette Harmonique 8'
    Clairon Harmonique 4'

    Grand-Choeur (IV), C1-c61, 6 windchests.

    [pressure: 100mm]
    Violonbasse 16'
    Bourdon 16'
    Diapason 8'
    Principal 4'
    Plein-Jeu Harmonique [16'] 2-8r. 2'

    [pressure: 1-24 100mm,
    25-38 105mm, 39-61 115mm]
    Flûte Majeure 8' [wood & metaal, c25-c61 mounted]
    Violon 8'
    Grande Quinte 5 1/3'
    Flûte Conique 4' [wood, open]
    Grande Tierce 3 1/5'
    Quinte 2 2/3'
    Grande Septième 2 2/7'
    Fifre 2'
    Grande Neuvième 1 7/9'
    Clarinette 16'
    Cor de Basset 8' [old, Willis]

    [pressure: 150mm]
    Tuba Magna 16' [1-12 L/2, hooded]
    Tuba Mirabilis 8' [hooded]
    Cor Harmonique 4' [hooded]

    Solo (V), C1-c61, 4 windchests.

    [pressure: 1-24 105mm,
    25-38 115mm, 39-61 125mm]
    Flûte Harmonique 8'
    Flûte Octaviante 4'
    Nasard Harmonique 2 2/3'
    Octavin 2'
    Tierce Harmonique 1 3/5'
    Piccolo Harmonique 1'
    Harmoniques 3r. [1 1/3' + 1 1/7' + 8/9']
    Ranquette 16'
    Chalumeau 8'

    [pressure: 1-22 105mm,
    23-32 115mm, 33-38 125mm, 39-41 135mm,
    42-46 145mm, 47-61 167mm]
    Trompeteria 2r. [C1 8'+4', c25 16'+4', c37 32'+16']
    Trompette en Chamade 1-3r. 8'

    Couplers, etc.

    Tirasse Positif
    Tirasse Grand-Orgue
    Tirasse Récit
    Tirasse Grand-Choeur
    Tirasse Solo
    Crescendo Générale
    Expression Récit
    Copula Positif/G-O
    Copula Récit/G-O
    Copula G-Ch/G-O
    Copula Solo/G-O
    Copula Positif/Récit
    Copula Solo/Récit
    Octaves Graves G-O
    Octaves Graves Récit
    Octaves Graves G-Ch
    Octaves Graves Solo
    Renvoi Machine Grand-Orgue
    Trémolo Positif
    Trémolo Récit
    Trémolo Solo

    (Pedal + I)
    (Pedal + II)
    (Pedal + III)
    (Pedal + IV)
    (Pedal + V)
    (stop crescendo)
    (II + I)
    (II + III)
    (II + IV)
    (II + V)
    (III + I)
    (III + V)
    (II 16')
    (III 16')
    (IV 16')
    (V 16')
    (switch off Barker machine G-O, not in function)
    (Tremulant I)
    (Tremulant III)
    (Tremulant V)

    Additional couplers, etc.
    (nave console)

    Sostenuto Positif
    Sostenuto Récit
    Sostenuto Solo
    Tirasse Récit 4'
    Tirasse Grand-Choeur 4'
    Tirasse Soprano Récit
    Tirasse Soprano G-Ch
    Tirasse Basse G-Chr
    Copula Récit/Positif
    Copula G-Chr/Positif
    Copula Solo/Positif
    Copula G-Ch/Récit
    Copula Solo/G-Ch
    Copula Alto G-Ch/G-O
    Copula Soprano Solo/G-O
    Coupure Pédale

    (P + III 4')
    (P + IV 4')
    (P + III soprano) [2010]
    (P + IV soprano) [2010]
    (P + IV bass) [2010]
    (I + III)
    (I + IV) [2010]
    (I + V) [2010]
    (III + IV) [2010]
    (IV + V)
    (II + IV alto)
    (II + V soprano)
    (pedal divide, adjustable c13-c25) [2010]

    10 lockable memory banks of 20 general combinations together with 100 memory places. A grand total of 20000 combinations. USB storage. [2010]
    10 cancellers: stops per division, couplers.
    A symphonic crescendo program and a "normal" crescendo program up to full organ.
    A reversible tutti.
    Midi capture/replay system [2010]

    Mechanical key action with Barker-levers for Pédale, Grand-Orgue, Récit Expressif, Grand-Choeur and Solo and electrical stop action.


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