Chapel of Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart
New South Head Road, Rose Bay


Théodore Puget, Père et Fils of Toulouse, 1890, installed 1906 (2/13 mechanical)





The restored Puget organ. Photo: Pastór de Lasala

 

The specification is:

Grand-Orgue
Bourdon
Montre
Salicional
Prestant
Trompette
Clairon

Récit
Bourdon Harmonique
Viole de Gambe
Voix Céleste
Flûte Octaviante
Hautbois-Basson
Voix Humaine

Pédale
Soubasse

16
8
8
4
8
4


8
8
8
4
8
8


16
56 notes CC- g
A



+Enclosed
+Enclosed

56 notes CC- g


(TC)
++
++


30 notes CC- f  (straight and flat)
A (operated by hitchdown pedal)

Stops affected by ventils are labelled in red on the console

Accessory pedals etc from l to r:

Orage
Bourdon de Péd 16'
Tirasse Grand-Orgue
Tirasse Récit

Expression:
Anches G-O (balanced)
Expression Récit (balanced)
Anches G-O+
Anches Récit++
Accouplement G-O/Récit
Trémolo

++ stops brought on by the ventil Anches Récit
+ stops brought on by the ventil Anches Grande-Orgue



From the Sydney Organ Journal, Spring 2011:


Authentic French Organ Restored to Sydney

Pastór de Lasala

 

An Historic Accident

The presence of an original Eugène Puget organ in the incomparable surroundings of John Horbury Hunt's master- piece, the Chapel of Kincoppal-Rose Bay, is fortuitous.  Its arrival on these shores in 1904 was the result of an historic accident. An organ had been ordered from Hill and Son, London, but that was cancelled as a consequence of the turbulent events in France.  Anti-clerical laws enacted and enforced throughout France made it unlawful to teach religion in French schools.  Mother Mabel Digby, the General Superior of the Order of the Sacred Heart had the unenviable task of masterminding a plan to ensure that the possessions of forty-six convents in France were not confiscated by the French government. The stalls, pulpit and the organ at Kincoppal are but a small number of items dismantled, packed and spirited out of France. 

The Puget comes to Sydney

The Puget organ was originally built in 1890 for the convent at rue de Cauderan in Bordeaux. In Puget's catalogue of October 1911, there is an entry under item 39: Bordeaux . . . Sacré-Cœur . . . Gr. orgue. 2 clav. Neuf (Sacred Heart . . . Grand Organ 2 manuals, new.)1 A press clipping of the original opening refers a 'nouvel orgue de tribune' (new gallery organ).2 Despite the fact that the organ has a modest thirteen stops (twelve real stops with borrowed pedal stop), it is not the small organ (orgue de choeur) usually found in the choir stalls in a French church, but rather a rather substantial organ with a very powerful presence. The availability of the Puget meant the cancellation of the Hill order. Owing to a lack of funds, its reassembly was postponed for a year. Charles Richardson, a local organ builder was engaged to erect the instrument. Therein lay a problem: the gallery which Horbury Hunt had designed and built to take the Hill organ was too shallow to take the Puget in its original configuration. An early photo of the empty chapel in 1901 shows two pairs of pillar bases sitting on the stone rail. The pillars were duly added, and upon these Richardson rested a large platform, the back of which was secured to the western wall of the gallery.

What was the original configuration of the Puget? French organs were usually built in one of two ways: the console built 'en fenêtre', a window recessed in the case with the organist sitting at the lower centre and facing the case or a 'console retournée', a free-standing console where the organist sits in front of the case. The current Puget organ was of the latter variety and this is borne out in a rough sketch.3 Therein lay a major problem: the lack of room of the console placed in front of the case. The only solution was a radical one, namely to place the console beneath the organ case. At Rose Bay, the lower section was essentially suppressed. The free-standing console allowed the player to face the altar with the mechanism making ninety degree angle turns from the back of the console to the floor and up the back wall to the pipes above. This shortening and rearrangement of the organ's action would have made it quite heavy to play. Contemporary accounts have verified this. The original case panels were reused to make a ceiling about the organist's head. Some of these also concealed the mechanical action running parallel to the wall. That meant that the bellows had to be accommodated above which, in turn, caused the pipes to be pushed up closer to the ceiling. A rare photo of the case in May 2007 confirmed this.4 In simple terms, Richardson had to 'nip and tuck' a pre-existing instrument into a space for which it was not originally intended. In essence, this was the organ's first rebuild – of necessity. A press account of 1906 reports that 'the re-erection involved a re-planning of the action and mechanism of the instrument, all of which troublesome and difficult work has been completed with great success.5 The Puget was henceforth the only French organ in New South Wales. To pay him his due, Richardson did the best he could to accommodate the organ. His platform is not only a feat of engineering but it is remarkable that it remains stable and perfectly level after a century.

The Puget undergoes a rebuild

By the late 1950s the organ was starting to show signs of wear. In 1955, the music periodical, The Canon, reports the following:

The organ is not in good repair nor even in tune, but in spite of many difficulties Mr Norman Johnston gave a most interesting and enjoyable recital. After the recital the nuns entertained members at a supper that was as delightful as it was unexpected.6

Norman Johnston, whose distinguished pedagogical line extends to the great composer, César Franck, was a champion of the Puget organ being preserved in its original form. It undoubtedly grieved him to see this unique instrument fall victim to the prevailing taste of the period by modernising it and thereby seeing Sydney's only French organ lost. The Puget's action would have become very heavy with wear and, which is often the case, noisy and unreliable. The 'modern' solution was to throw out the old and replace it with something new. Thus, out went the old action and, along with it, beautifully crafted original components including wind chests, forged iron parts, and elegant oak console with its exquisite fittings. By a twist of fate the original brass inlaid rosewood name plate was found by Peter Jewkes in a garbage bin and retrieved. The original façade pipes were discarded as they had become unstable to the point of collapsing at the feet thereby threatening the safety of worshippers below in the nave. The interior of the organ was re-configured once again. What was not apparent at the time was that such a rebuild would not last. Within forty years, the modernised instrument was in a parlous state.

A plan for restoration is established

Short of discarding the instrument altogether, an option fortunately never considered, the only real option was to undertake a restoration of the existing original components plus a reconstruction of the vital missing ones. Therefore the project is effectively a restoration/reconstruction not unlike a number of prestigious instruments in Europe which had undergone a similar fate. There remained the all-important pipe work and a largely intact oak case, at least the façade section. The sides of the case were a mismatch of woodwork comprising original panels and other odd pieces all put together in a rather makeshift fashion owing to a lack of funds where the organ was first erected in its new home. The vital question was 'how was this project to be funded'? The organ is the property of the Sacré Coeur order, as is the chapel and the entire fabric of Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart.

In 2002 the author became intimately involved in the restoration project. He met Ann Henderson, President of the Chapel Society at Kincoppal-Rose Bay. Soon, a committee of three was set up, Ann Henderson, Patricia Horsely, who was formerly the President of the Chapel Society and the author. The Chapel Society is a body which was set up to see to the preservation of the fabric of the chapel and its imported French fittings which came mainly from the Chapel of the Mother House in rue de Varenne, now the Musée Rodin, in Paris.7 As with the restoration of any significant organ, a consultant was required and David Rumsey was appointed. My role was assistant consultant primarily because of my connection with organ builders in France and my facility in the French language. Tenders were put out and Yves Cabourdin was chosen as restorer. Cabourdin, who restored the famous 1774 Isnard organ in the basilica of the Madeleine at St Maximin-Ste Baume in Provence, had recently restored to much acclaim a significant three manual Merklin the church of St Jean-Baptiste, Bourgoin-Jailleux (Isère). Cabourdin visited Sydney in September 2004 to make a preliminary study. He declared that the pipe work still bore the soul of Puget, notwithstanding the fact that the toe holes had been closed up to the point of strangling the tone. In January 2005, the organ was dismantled by one of Cabourdin's team together with Peter Jewkes' team. The instrument, minus the platform and Noad components, was shipped back to Fos-sur-Mer near Marseille and then driven to eastward to Cabourdin's works Carcès. Thus began Phase One.

A setback and change of direction

Cabourdin's first task was to sort out the parts and repair the pipes, with particular attention to the Grand-Orgue reeds whose blocks had badly oxidised over the years. The case components were repaired with missing crockets carved and timber splits fixed. A new set of thirty-nine façade pipes were made. During the restoration of the flue pipe work a rather unusual discovery was made. The insides of the metal caps of some of the treble stopped ranks (Grand-Orgue Bourdon 16' and Récit Bourdon Harmonique 8') contained musical notation. Puget had recycled engraved musical plates, cut out circles and placed them to form the stopper caps with the engraved side down. The most significant example was a hitherto unidentified aria with the words: Nobles seigneurs, vous êtes braves. Here is tantalising lead for a keen musicologist to research!

Not long after visiting the Cabourdin works came devastating news. Numerous organ projects in France are subsidised by a French government body called the 'Direction régionale des affaires culturelles'. This body had failed to pay Cabourdin for his work in Bourgoin-Jailleu. This meant that his employees could not be paid. It is an understatement to say that organ building in France is a very precarious occupation and many firms have had to close their works for lack of a cash flow. Cabourdin had no choice but to cease operations and liquidate his assets. A new builder would be need to be found and the instrument would have to be packed up again and moved. This was a hard blow to Cabourdin. Nevertheless, there was a glimmer of hope when he suggested a builder who could possibly take over the job.

As I was due to give a recital in Carcassonne in the July of 2006, it was possible to make personal contact with a certain Charles Henry who was a partner of the firm Sals & Henry in Entrechaux, in Provence in the Department of Vaucluse. This firm had been involved in some very prestigious instruments. On my return to Sydney, serious discussion was had about this firm and how to proceed. At this time, David Rumsey advised that he would not be able to continue as consultant. The role of consultant was accepted by Michel Colin, organist at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Victoire at St Raphaël, professor of organ at the Conservatoire of Toulon and organ consultant for the French Ministry of Culture. Professor Colin, whom I had known for many years, had a very distinguished record in organ projects throughout France. The way forward was very much shaped by his encyclopaedic knowledge of the nineteenth century French symphonic organ. Furthermore, he was familiar with the work of the Sals & Henry firm, and the latter was engaged to complete the organ.

The organ moves

Moving the organ from Var to Provence not without incident. Anyone with any knowledge of French bureaucracy will understand the Gallic penchant for red tape. They might have created Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité for the people, but not for the French Customs' laws between the Departments. One truckload of organ parts being transported was not a problem. However, suspicions were raised with a second and third truckload. The Customs officials were concerned that an organ was to be sold and thereby the requisite amount of duty had to be paid. Charles Henry had spent the night in his truck for fear that Customs might have sequestered the organ. However, relevant documents sent by the Australian lawyers for the Sacré Coeur order made it clear that their property was not to be sold, but rather restored and returned to Australia. The French Customs relented but made it their business to pay periodic visits to the organ builder's factory to make sure the organ was still there. Moreover, they ruled that the organ had to leave France after a prerequisite time after which time it could be seized.

The organ did end up safely at the Sals & Henry works in Entrechaux. In January 2007, Charles Henry and Michel visited Sydney to take measurements of the tribune at Rose Bay and to discuss plans for the internal layout of the organ. In July that year I visited the Entrechaux works to inspect the plans and progress on the repairs to the pipes and case. During that time, Michel Colin accompanied me to inspect an interesting organ by Mader not too far away at Carpentras. This instrument was very close in vintage to the 1890 Puget and had a virtually identical specification. The purpose of this visit was to inspect a curious feature where the Grand-Orgue reeds - a trompette and a clairon – were provided with their own swell box. This was a wonderful innovation to consider for the Puget as those stops, left unenclosed, would be very strong. Having them enclosed would give more flexibility and expression. In effect, there would be three tonal divisions over two manuals: the enclosed Récit, the enclosed Grand-Orgue reeds and the unenclosed Grand-Orgue foundations. Michel Colin's suggestion was a stroke of genius.

The original internal configuration of the Rose Bay Puget was lost when it taken from Bordeaux and Charles Richardson re-erected it at Rose Bay. It could not be known or reconstructed. In any case Puget was such an innovative builder that there were differences in all his instruments. Although a 'typical Puget organ' had the characteristics of a French symphonic nature, they were not made from a discernable template. Puget was known to enclose different divisions. Although a contemporary of Cavaillé-Coll, he did things differently. For one, it was common for his organs to have all the reeds on ventils, including the Hautbois Basson, something not found in Cavaillé-Coll, let alone the nomenclature, which the latter called 'Basson Hautbois'.

The challenge of reconfiguring the organ's layout

The tribune at Rose Bay is rather shallow. The most logical layout was to have the divisions side by side. A special wooden ceiling was constructed to cover the Grand-Orgue flue work from falling sandstone particles. The largest wooden pipes of the Montre 8 are placed in the middle, behind the tallest part of the case and the largest Soubasse/Boudon pipes are behind those. All conduits for the façade pipes were hidden in a purpose-designed, large grooved panel so that a tuner can walk inside the case and not risk treading on conduits. The façade with its thirty-nine pipes, the centre ones being considerably over-length, comprises the bass octaves of the Salicional, Prestant and the second octave of the Montre. The Noad configuration of the façade curiously contained the bass octave of the Récit Flûte Octaviante. To obviate the problem of a missing bottom octave, Michel Colin wisely proposed the following: the second octave of the Montre 8' became the bass of the Flûte Octaviante, and a new second octave of the Montre was made. The presence of a Montre may cause confusion here as the original nomenclature of the stop was known to many as simply Flûte. In French terms, this is an open rank and one of exceedingly great beauty. Essentially, it is very much a hybrid stop: from C1 – C3 (ie bottom C to middle C) there is a Montre quality. However, in the treble, the sound becomes very fluty.

The biggest challenge was to design a new mechanical action. From correspondence with Jean Puget, the son of Maurice Puget and perhaps the eldest surviving member of the dynasty, it was clear that Puget never used pneumatic actions until 1892. The fact that the console had to be under the case was problematic. Apart from the obvious impracticality of devising a barker lever to alleviate the weight on such a relatively small instrument, the only viable solution was to have the console face the wall. In this way the key action would come out at the back of the console and then up the wall. The next problem was linking the action up the back wall to the pallets in the wind chests. A series of roller boards was devised across the western wall in the order of Récit, Pédale and Grand-Orgue. At the top of this vertical roller board, the action is relayed by squares to a second, inverted roller board which, in turn relays to a third roller board directly on top of that. This incredibly sophisticated action took an extraordinarily long time to construct. At this point the reader may be reminded of the watchful and suspicious eye of the French customs officers who were waiting to see the organ be moved from Entrechaux back to Sydney or else ready to swoop down and collect duty. In the meantime, the Sals & Henry firm was undergoing a restructuring. Unfortunately, this meant that workers had to be laid off. Charles Henry was on his own with the exception of his eldest son. This inevitably affected the speed at which the work could be completed. There was no way that organ could remain in France beyond the deadline imposed by French Customs. Therefore, there was no option but to pack everything up and move it to Sydney. The pace of the work in Sydney was protracted way beyond the planned timing. The bulk of the time was taken up with the painstaking creation of the action. The next crisis was the failure of the business of Charles Henry, which inevitably necessitated his return to France without being able to finish the organ. Another French building firm had tragically gone to the wall.

A new direction towards completion

Professor Colin was charged with finding an organ builder who would be willing to finish the work. A number of organ builders were unwilling to do so. At this point, it was an education to find out that it was not uncommon for an organ builder in France to abandon an instrument. The Puget, at that stage, had four ranks playing, the flue work on the Grand-Orgue. After a year's wait, Professor Colin finally found a firm which was willing to complete the organ. He had employed this firm to his great satisfaction at Notre-Dame de la Victoire in St Raphaël. The firm was M.G. Pesce - frères et fils from Pau. In November 2010, Gilbert and his son Stéphane, the later specialising in voicing, came out to Sydney to do a study of the Puget and very swiftly made a plan for its completion. In April 2011, the Pesce firm, initially with four workers, commenced work at great pace. A number of mechanical and structural items needed immediate attention: the creation of off-chest and conduit system to three basses of the Récit (Bourdon Harmonique, Viole de Gambe and Flûte Octaviante), the making of reed stays for the four ranks of reeds, the assembly of the reed tongues, the making of two sets of concussion bellows, the correcting of the wind-gates for the two blowers, the installation of the double sliders for the reed ventils, the making of the tremulant, the finishing off of the console and the final, all-important voicing. The pace with which this team worked was impressive.

 



M. Gilbert Pesce voicing the organ. Photo: Pastór de Lasala

The Puget was finally completed in May, 2011. From the conception of the project until its completion, never was there any concession to whim. No extra ranks were added. The fact that there is no stop above 4' is of no consequence as the organ's existing ranks have such an abundance of tone colour that nothing is lacking. The action was not compromised with any electrical components (the pedal rank is borrowed from the Grand-Orgue by virtue of a double action with non-return valves). The aim was for integrity. If anything, the current configuration of the Puget is such that it seems purpose built for the spaces. Furthermore, this is the best condition it has been since it was made for the Bordeaux convent.

Specification:

Grand-Orgue
Bourdon
Montre
Salicional
Prestant
Trompette
Clairon

Récit
Bourdon Harmonique
Viole de Gambe
Voix Céleste
Flûte Octaviante
Hautbois-Basson
Voix Humaine

Pédale
Soubasse

16
8
8
4
8
4


8
8
8
4
8
8


16
56 notes CC- g
A



+Enclosed
+Enclosed

56 notes CC- g


(TC)
++
++


30 notes CC- f  (straight and flat)
A (operated by hitchdown pedal)

Stops affected by ventils are labelled in red on the console

Accessory pedals etc from l to r:

Orage
Bourdon de Péd 16'
Tirasse Grand-Orgue
Tirasse Récit

Expression:
Anches G-O (balanced)
Expression Récit (balanced)
Anches G-O+
Anches Récit++
Accouplement G-O/Récit
Trémolo

++ stops brought on by the ventil Anches Récit
+ stops brought on by the ventil Anches Grande-Orgue

Work on the organ was largely funded by the gifts of generous private donors including Sacré Coeur alumnae, and there were three Heritage grants. For more information please visit the Puget restoration site: http://www.puget-organ-restoration.org.au/

On paper, the specification may look rather limiting. However, on playing through each register, it becomes very apparent how rich it is in harmonics. From the console, one loses the impact of the effect in the nave where the sound blooms. The player must therefore be careful not to over-register. The two eight foot stops on the Grand-Orgue are very clear and full from downstairs. The Salicional bears no resemblance to its slight English counterpart. The former is like a stringy Montre or even a small Gamba. The Prestant adds considerable brilliance. If a 2' effect is wanted, it is simply a matter of drawing the Bourdon and playing an octave higher. The Bourdon Harmonique on the Récit must be one of the loveliest flute stops in the country. It is full and satisfying. The Flûte Octaviante just adds brilliance. The Voix Céleste beats generously with the Viole de Gambe. If these stops are exquisite, then the crowning glory is the reeds. The Trompette and Clairon are extremely powerful. Being in their own swell box, they are extremely versatile and can sound as if they belonged on the Récit. The Hautbois-Basson is a beautiful rank and sounds well as a solo reed or in chorus. The real surprise is the Voix Humaine, which has a curious 'clarinet-like' quality when played solo in the upper register. The ventils create a very useful registration aid whereby stops are drawn and subsequently brought on by hitching down the appropriate pedal. The Grand-Orgue reeds are operated by the Appel Anches G-O and the Hautbois-Basson and Flûte Octaviante by the Appel Anches Récitl. The placement of the Flûte Octaviante on a double slider was yet another ingenious idea of Professor Colin. If the console appears completely new, it is fair to say that there are some old components. The straight, flat pedal board is a from a broken-up Puget organ formerly in Grasse Cathedral and which Professor Colin had personally acquired and which, in turn, he gave. The foot rests are also recycled Puget parts as are some of the iron accessory pedals, the latter of which were copied to provide replicas.

Naturally any organ, either newly built or restored, needs settling in time. Many a person has asked when the inaugural recital will be. The simple answer is that it will have to wait until Professor Colin and one of the Pesce team come out - hopefully early 2012 – to do some fine adjustments. In the meantime, the instrument is getting a deserved playing in. All of us who have been involved with the project are immensely satisfied with the outcome. Much time and effort has been spent, and we can proudly say that we have given back to Sydney an authentic 19th century French symphonic organ.

 

1 La Manufacture d'Orgues Théodore Puget & Fils: Etude historique et esthétique, Henri de Rohan-Csermak, Université de Paris IV Sorbonne U.F.R. de Musique et Musicologie, Oct 1986, p.115

2 Copy sent to author, courtesy of Jean Puget, son of Maurice Puget.

3 cf. supra.

4 'The Discovery of Another Piece to an Elusive Jigsaw, Pastór de Lasala, OHTA News, July 2007.

5 New Organ at Rose Bay Convent. A Grand Instrument. Paper not identified, except for p. 49 and the date 1906, possibly the Sydney Morning Herald.

6 The Canon, July 1955, p. 468

7 The archives at Kincoppal-Rose Bay possess a rare photo of the interior of the rue de Varenne Chapel and in it, the stalls and pulpit. The lower part of that chapel is extant and forms the entrance to the museum.

 

 

 

From Project Director Ann Henderson

The completion of the restoration of the 1890 Puget organ in the Chapel of Kincoppal-Rose Bay School marks the end of a very long road from the early beginnings with the perseverance and dedication of my good friend and colleague, Patricia Horsley. Patricia, an alumna of Rose Bay Convent, is my immediate predecessor as President of The Chapel Society, a group of volunteers who, since 1983, have been involved with the School in the supervision of weddings in the School Chapel and organising functions for the refurbishment and preservation of the priceless Chapel contents of French heritage. Patricia first heard of the problems facing the Organ in the 1990s and began to urge its complete restoration.

I joined The Chapel Society in about 1999 and became interested. Then, because of one event, passionate about fulfilling her dream and the dream of many other lovers of fine organ music. The one event that decided me completely that this organ must not be allowed to die was a performance in the Chapel on 15 August, 2004 by the young virtuoso French organist, Vincent Dubois. I heard for the first time the glorious music of César Franck and Louis Vierne and finally, memorably, an improvisation for almost 12 minutes on submitted themes. The recording made by Greg Ghavalas has been constantly with me through many severe trials and tribulations and I never lost sight of what we were trying to achieve.
For the major part of the restoration, from about 2001, we have been fortunate to have had the skill and expertise of Sydney organist Pastór de Lasala. His knowledge and love of French organs is nurtured every year by trips to France where he discovers more musical treasures, and gives recitals in the great cathedrals and churches all over the country. Pastor's skill with the French language, which he teaches, has been absolutely essential to the success of the project. Pastor has donated his talents to many recitals and fundraising events organised by the small committee of The Chapel Society with the constant support and encouragement of the Alumnae of the Sacré Coeur Association.

When we first called for tenders for the restoration, it quickly became evident that only a French organ builder would be able to do a restoration with the integrity that we all sought. That this decision did not make the task easier is clear from the history which Pastor has written. But listening to the completed organ, not one of us has the slightest doubt that it was the only way in which we could have proceeded. We are all unanimous that there is nothing more we could have done, nobody who was left unconsulted, no expert who could have given us better advice than Professor Michel Colin, whose perseverance and dedication matches our own. We have been a team of just four: Patricia, Pastor, Michel and myself. We have been supported by the knowledge that future generations will now come to know and love the glorious repertoire of the French Romantic era, played on an organ unique in Australia., Its preservation from possible destruction when sent from France to Australia will always remain to honour the religious of the Sacred Heart who have cared for and preserved so much that would have been lost.

To everyone who has given us support and encouragement, thank you. We all look forward to the recitals to be given by Professor Michel Colin and by Pastór de Lasala in 2012.

 

From Dr Kelvin Hastie OAM

When Pastór de Lasala asked me to write a postscript to accompany his comprehensive article outlining the restoration of the Puget organ at Rose Bay, I was not only delighted to be given the opportunity, but was also pleased to be able to place on record a strong endorsement of the philosophy behind the project to resurrect Sydney's only French organ. Being familiar with the instrument in its previous electrified state, I was always aware that there was an authentic voice waiting to be unlocked by the keys of experience, meticulous research and skilled organ building. The project reached its denouement earlier this year and I was privileged to be among the first to revel in sounds restored to their unique place in the history of the organ in our city.

Pastór de Lasala has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the French organ and its repertoire and this, combined with his unfailing commitment to the philosophy of organ conservation and quality organ building, provided the essential ingredients to guide the work at the Sydney end, while Ann Henderson's indefatigable administration of the project and amazing fund-raising skills have provided the project with passionate support. The Chapel Society (notably through its Past President, Patricia Horsley, and a host of alumnae) has provided both Pastór and Ann with constant encouragement and practical assistance in the staging of a remarkable array of concerts, from readings of French, Italian and Spanish poetry through to recitals of modern works for voice and harp. While the restoration has not been an easy one to manage (and Pastór's article outlines the reasons for this), the outcome has surely justified the process.

It would have been very easy for the Sacré Coeur Order to have called for quotations to re-electrify the organ with new slider soundboards, action, console and the inevitable tonal additions, but this would merely have given Sydney yet another rebuild, of which there are already so many. Another standardised and generic electric-action organ, albeit with French ancestry, simply would not do. While the restored Puget is smaller in terms of stops than in its Noad format, the offset has been the recreation of a distinctive, artistic and stylistically-cohesive instrument that provides virtually all the timbres (and dynamic balances and gradations) for the authentic performance of much of the Romantic French repertoire. For serous students of this repertoire in Sydney, a trip to Kincoppal-Rose Bay will doubtless prove immensely beneficial.

During the planning stages for the project I had the pleasure, as Secretary of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, to write several letters strongly endorsing applications made to the Heritage Office of the NSW Department of Planning to assist in funding the project. The fact that three separate grants were eventually awarded over a number of years underscores the importance of this remarkable project and one which could so readily demonstrate the methodical application of the principles of time-honoured organ restoration and research-based reconstruction. Congratulations are therefore extended to all involved.


 



© PdL 2005




For further information, please visit the website www.puget-organ-restoration.org.au