French organ in Belfort

French organ in Belfort

L’école française à la cathédrale St-Christophe – historique J.-B. WALTRIN puis Frères CALLINET / restauration manufacture K. SCHWENKEDEL

The Organ of la Cathédrale Saint-Christophe, three dates, three faces: 1750 – the creation and Jean-Baptiste Waltrin, 1850 – the extension and the Callinet brothers, 1970 – the reconstruction and Kurt Schwenkedel

In 1749, the city of Belfort ordered an organ from Jean-Baptiste Waltrin. The father of Jean-Baptiste had built the organ of the old Saint-Denis church, which had become too small and was planned to be demolished. Jean-Baptiste Waltrin offered an instrument of thirty stops spread over three keyboards and pedal. The oak case is adorned with many carved and gilded elements.

The first significant intervention is due to François Callinet at the beginning of the 19th century. He increased the range of the keyboard by two notes and moved the case forward to protect it from humidity. The second intervention of the Callinet brothers took place in 1848. Joseph then undertook a major restoration and enlarged the instrument by placing a turret and a flat-face on each side of the case. He placed the whole on a second platform located high up and set up a swell above the Great Organ. Claude-Ignace Callinet intervened shortly after by adding a few more romantic colour plays.

In 1966, during a storm, the fall of a brick wall on the instrument caused considerable damage. After an expertise entrusted to Michel Chapuis, les établissements Schwenkedel de Strasbourg undertook a total reconstruction of the instrument including a meticulous restoration of the old stops, still present in large quantities (around 70%). The current organ includes 52 stops spread over 4 keyboards and pedal. Diapason A = 440Hz, even temperament. It is classified as a Historic Monument.

Illustrations sonores

Johannes BRAHMS – Präludium und Fuge en sol mineur, Jean-Charles ABLITZER
Michel CORRETTE – Basse de Trompette, Jean-Charles ABLITZER
Michel CORRETTE – Grand Jeu, Jean-Charles ABLITZER