Interview with Pascal Quoirin
AMORCE: Pascal Quoirin, a new organ for Evreux cathedral is being built at your workshop. How do you conceive the building of a new organ for a cathedral today?
Let us begin with the divisions of the organ. What style do you want to produce? You drew your inspiration from the "neo-classical" formula which was fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century and which aimed at an ideal fusion of the different periods in the history of organs.
PQ: These organs turned out to be very disappointing. Nevertheless, particularly on a cathedral organ, it must be possible for an organist to play correctly all the repertory, even if an ideal authenticity is not achieved for every piece of music.
It is impossible to achieve a fusion of two different styles such as baroque and symphonic and produce a homogeneous whole at the same time. I don't really want to be able to play all the "neo-classic" repertoire. I wish to build an organ in the classical manner but on which the execution of another significant part of organ literature will not be impossible, most importantly that of the 20th century. This literature was actually composed for so-called neo-classical organs, a term which I would now gladly replace by "new-classical". Can organ builders ignore seventy years of musical history? In the production of French music, there is something quite unusual. We have much more organ music from this period than from the 18th and 19th centuries. It is therefore necessary to build an instrument on which this music can be played.
The composers from the "neo-classical" period may not have had the ideal "vector" (as Xavier Darasse puts it) which corresponded perfectly with their imaginative musical world.
Indeed, they gave hints to the builders, but most likely the builders did not yet have the means of materialising these "abstract" musical intuitions, to say the least. This is not a new fact in the history of instrument building: Beethoven composed piano sonatas despite the fact that the instrument at his disposal was not really adapted to his writing. The same scenario applies to the organ for Johann Sebastian Bach. Can we seriously maintain that the instruments of Bach's time were perfectly suited to his writing? The requirements made over the few organ valuations which he practised show us that he often criticised severely the organ builders of his time . Thus, there comes a time when builders must create the instruments which will suit the styles of music which looks towards a future instrumental evolution.
I think that, just like Beethoven and Bach, the composers of the "neo-classical" period did not really have the instruments they wished for. They really wanted a new tool with new timbres: the divisions of the "neo-classical" organs which have often been devised by these organists are far from absurd. These divisions were born from a romantic plan to which elements of the classical organ have been added . It is not hard to understand why this method was especially criticised when historic organs were being restored. On the other hand, there are still new "neo-classical" instruments stemming from this aesthetic current. If they are not appreciated today, it is because they could not benefit from the considerable amount of knowledge gained by current organ builders from scrupulous restorations over these last 35 years .
My goal in Evreux is to build the organ which will suit this repertoire as well as the current repertoire. It is what I had already attempted in Saint-Remi-de-Provence with much more restricted means in 1983.
AMORCE: By the way, in Evreux we were very interested in your achievement at Saint-Remi-de-Provence, which we may consider as an event in the recent history of organ building.
PQ: We have also built a similar instrument in Japan for a concert hall. It is interesting to be able to take up the 20th century repertoire which happens to be a concert rather than a liturgical repertoire. On this point, there is something strange with this type of concert hall organs: the one that we have built in Japan is largely modelled after the classical and romantic French styles. Jehan Alain as well as Nicolas de Grigny can be played on it (for the latter, conditions are merely acceptable). But in that case it is not very convincing: playing Grigny's " Veni creator" hymn in a warm, comfortable concert hall, in front of a motionless, seated audience, as it is often the case in Japan...... As this music is completely taken out of its liturgical context, you definitely put everybody to sleep.
This musical event can be reproduced again and occurs in the context of the liturgy (and regrettably this does not seem to interest today's clergy). It can only be reproduced reasonably well in certain churches such as Saint-Croix of Bordeaux or Poitiers with a perfectly adapted instrument. In these cases the music assumes its meaning . When a new instrument is to be built, as that of Evreux cathedral, I bear this point in mind as well and it is partly what makes me say that the merging of styles is impossible.
I then prefer to simply adapt the knowledge acquired over numerous restorations, taking account of the Heritage, to the requirements of today's music without really wondering if Grigny, Couperin or Bach are treated in optimal conditions. I only want the practice of this repertoire to be made possible. On the other hand, my dearest wish is that such an organ could stimulate the imagination of today's composers. Let's go back over the question of styles: the baroque and the symphonic styles call for totally different building techniques. How can you bring them together? Would you have some keyboards designed for the symphonic repertoire and others for the baroque repertoire? Not I. I'm telling you it is impossible to blend styles in this way. Firstly the idea of building an organ capable of playing everything does not make sense. The builder who attempts such a synthesis (and he must master the styles perfectly well to start with) is bound to build an instrument in which, as a rule, his personality will show. This fact alone might already contradict the aim: "to merge the styles".
As for the organ in Evreux cathedral, we first think of an organ to play the music of our time. Of course it will be possible to play many sorts of music, but not as authentically as on a Cavaillé-Coll for the symphonic repertoire or on the Dom Bédos of Bordeaux as far as the 18th century music is concerned .
AMORCE: Can this goal be reached on a small organ, or must you have a large instrument?
PQ: With regard to modern time literature, a large instrument is needed. The composers held cathedral organs, and they always expressed themselves on rather large organs, with a very precise sound plane composition, notably a wide swell
organ. An organ of at least fifty stops distributed on three manuals and a pedal stop, with this wide swell organ permitting "tracking effects" is needed . The aim seems to me impossible to achieve with only twenty stops and two keyboards for example .
AMORCE: You did not choose the stoplist of the organ: it was suggested by Jean Pierre Decavèle, a State Consultant and Manager of this project, according to the orientations recommended by AM.OR.CE (Association of the Friends of the Organ of Evreux Cathedral) to the High-Normandy Regional Department of Cultural Affairs. Does this suggestion suit you ?
PQ: Perfectly; this stoplist is of a neo-classical type, but the distribution will be slightly different. I only made some slight changes on matters such as tuning, plein-jeu, pipe scales.
The stoplist is closer to that of a classical organ than to that of a symphonic organ: there are many mixture stops, with many ranks. I am concerned with developing a large ensemble, because the church is large.
AMORCE: Why a bombarde manual besides the three most common divisions (great organ , positive, swell)? J.B.N. Lefèvre's former organ in Evreux also included a bombarde manual, with only one stop .
PQ: The bombarde manual allows to have the reeds on a separate keyboard and to blend them with the other stops of the ensemble without any loss of energy for the reed stops. And then it is an additional division as far as the registration is concerned . This allows a greater number of tonal textures. In adding together the great organ and the bombarde, we have a great organ divided into two.
AMORCE: How will the keyboards be arranged ?
PQ: The positive is the lowest, then the great organ . The swell organ must come third with a view to the romantic repertoire. The bombarde keyboard will be placed the highest.
AMORCE: In what style will you voice the organ? Do you rather look for the sounds of the classical organ where harmonics are very important, or the sounds of the 19th century organ in which they are eliminated or strongly reduced ?
PQ: As far as orchestral colour is concerned, we retained the principle of accumulating timbres and energies to gather more and more intensity up to the tutti. For the baroque organ the principle is rather the blending of timbres, as opposed to Cavaillé-Coll for instance. I retained the concept of synthesis such as it has been developed in the French classic organ until the 18th century. As a matter of fact, we take harmonics into consideration a lot.
AMORCE: Then you voice in the old way?
PQ: No, I do not think that this can be said. Voicing depends on a whole context. I develop transients in a certain way because I am interested in this aspect of the organ sounding, as many people are today. There is no reference to the baroque style, I may say .
AMORCE: Have you chosen new materials for the pipes?
PQ: I havenít. The materials are the same as at the time of Dom Bédos: metal, tin, or variable proportions of lead and tin for the pipes, and when the pipes are made of wood, we choose oak.
AMORCE: How do you calculate the scale of your pipes ? Do you still use Dom
Bedos' Treatise? Or do you use the mathematical formulae given by Cavaillé-Coll?
PQ: We stick to Dom Bedos' system.
AMORCE: Even when you design new stops which did not appear in Dom Bedos' Treatise?
AMORCE: And what do you think of the mathematical formulae left by Cavaillé-Coll?
PQ: I don't understand them, because I started working a the age of sixteen, quite like Cavaillé-Coll, with very little education, as you can guess. I have never studied physics, mathematics and I am afraid I understand nothing of these formulae.
AMORCE: We must assume it was the beginning of modern physics.
PQ: We have trained a Japanese acoustics engineer who works at voicing in our shop. One day I asked him to calculate the length of a sixteen-foot flute according to Cavaillé-Coll rules..... That did not really work! Cavaillé's formula is very unclear. The problem is much more complex in fact.
AMORCE: Nowadays, a laboratory of modern acoustics can produce correct formulae. Cavaillé-Coll also made pipes which were in tune, but doubtless his expertise is not described as extensively in his papers as in Dom Bédos' voluminous treatise. Besides, he indicated new voicing techniques for pipes, the main one being nicking. Do you make cut nicks?
PQ: No. All the pipes are cut to length, as in classical model, precisely because this allows more beautiful harmonic content. But let's go back to the problem of mathematical formulae: I would say "one person, one job": the engineer cannot do without the worker, and the opposite is true as well. I very much distrust the "scientific" speech of the organ builder, I understand much better the theoretical explanations of organs brought by engineers or mathematicians. They are much clearer.
AMORCE: Do you ever make holes in the pipes?
PQ: I do, in the front , it is always necessary for the attractiveness of the chest; but I make as few holes as possible.
AMORCE: And does this alter the timbre?
PQ: It does! The transients, precisely! The sound loses some of its clarity if the cut-up is not suitably done. I am mostly interested in the transparency of the sound. I don't like it when it becomes blurred. I like transparency in all musical instruments : pianos, flutes, harpsichords .....
AMORCE: And in order to define the height of the mouth, do you follow Dom Bédos?
PQ: More or less. In fact, Dom Bédos' instructions are rather broad. One can enter the system and then move up or down by degrees, replacing a D or an E by a C, for example. The progression will always remain even. Above all, it is important to bear a precise musical aim in mind, to have a precise idea of the sound which we want to develop.
AMORCE: You like controlling the attacks. But sometimes they lead to unpleasant parasites.
PQ: As long as the mechanism is precise enough, the speech can be modulated at the console. Your remark raises a real musical problem. An uncontrollable touch entails approximate attack. I maintain if the organist has a precise mechanism, he can master the development of transients.
AMORCE: Indeed, the Saint-Taurin organ in Evreux has a good mechanism. During the first concert performed on this organ we noticed the cathedral organist, Bruno Beaufils, obtained flute sounds at the console simply from a bourdon.
PQ: We may say this is interesting. One could draw a parallel with the sensory touch of the piano although it is a very different domain. On the organ, the nuances of piano-forte are obtained not only thanks to the registration, but also thanks to the quality of touch which directly influences the attack. I quite understand the orchestral divisions stemming from Cavaillé-Coll organs, these sonorities evoke something of nineteen century paintings. "The great fresco." There is no longer this notion of "speech" and thus "language" as in the baroque sound system . Baroque organs "speak," they speak to us more than the romantic or symphonic organ. I must admit though that on the best preserved organs by Cavaillé-Coll, the attack is not totally absent. Merklin's organs have transients too.
One notices it by examining the languids. The teeth are narrow, not unlike the languids of Callinet's organs. And then we realize that these builders did not really wish to remove chiff. The transients disappeared much later. The voicers at the turn of the century worked roughly, making more and more and deeper teeth in the bevels. This really led to the elimination of transient tones.
AMORCE: Certain current builders recommend leaving the pipe untouched, as it has been built, without further interfering in order to tune, the organ player having to create his own timbre from his console. What do you think of this ?
PQ: This was not in any case Dom Bédos' point of view. He wrote in his Treatise: "any skilful builder is concerned with the single point. He must touch and touch up the pipe until he has conveyed the true character and quality of sound which suits him." Voicing is the finest, most delicate work. I also make small teeth on bevels.
AMORCE: What about the way you tune? With a totally equal temperament or a slightly uneven temperament as in the time of Johann Sebastian Bach? Do you have all the octaves in tune, or do you expand the sharp and the flat notes?
PQ: As far as the organ of Evreux cathedral, the temperament will be strictly equal and all the octaves will be in tune. The uneven temperament and above all the mesotonic temperament naturally generates additional sound colours. This only occurs with a musical composition based on the traditional tonal system, provided it remains in a limited tonal range. Try to imagine a work by Debussy played on a piano which had been tuned to the mesotonic temperament. I agree, the metaphor is unrefined, but the sound colour possibilities given by the musical composition are much more numerous in the even tuning system than in the uneven system even if the composer intends to use the typical sounds of the unequal temperament.
AMORCE: Let us come to the matter of the blower. Do you retain the wedge-shaped bellows of the time of Dom Bédos or did you choose bellows with Cavaillé-Coll parallel folds?
PQ: For the organ of Evreux cathedral, we designed a network of bellows with parallel folds with actuators which insure a good wind stability. Note that the design of Cavaillé-Coll blowers became obsolete with the use of electric fans. Cavaillé-Coll, as all the builders of his time, needed huge reservoirs of air. This type of organ is energy-consuming. In the case of Evreux, rather small bellows have been devised, for a better wind flexibility, to produce a more
dynamic and attractive sound.
AMORCE: Some go so far as to say that with electric fans it is possible to do without a reservoir.
PQ: On the contrary, it is absolutely necessary. A quantity of air to react to the organist's performing impulses is needed. Ideally, the system of production of wind should "anticipate" the quantity of air. Without a suitable air reserve, there will be problems of air supply. Either the wind will remain absolutely static, which I consider rather as a handicap, or there will be uncontrollable alterations, which I find musically annoying.
AMORCE: What wind pressures have you chosen? High or low?
PQ: All this depends on styles. In the French style of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the pressures are relatively high, approximately 90 mm of water, rarely less. We follow up with this French tradition.
AMORCE: Do you supply the whole organ with the same pressure? Cavaillé-Coll thought he had made a breakthrough with his multiple-reservoir systems which made different pressures possible, so as to provide a better balance for the organ, especially for the reed stops.
PQ: We plan to use a single pressure for all entire organ. On many classic or baroque organs, the balance between the high and the low pitches is perfect. In my opinion, Cavaillé-Coll's concern was not to improve the balance: with his complex system of air supply, which is necessary for large organs with manual blowers, he especially wanted to reduce the wind pressure in the low pitch, where a large quantity of air under low pressure is needed, so that the longer pipes of the low registers can speak more naturally. He also probably wished to separate the high from the low registers so that the important masses of air set in motion in the low register could not affect the stability of the high pitch. The Cavaillé-Coll symphonic organ was devised so that the sound would remain perfectly sustained, particularly high-pitch notes which one can hear easily.
AMORCE: And what did you choose in the field of transmissions?
PQ: Don Bédos' connections depend entirely on a mechanical action, with a keyboard linked to the pallet at the foot of edge pipes by means of a series of rods, squares and reducers. As the organ gets larger, these systems can become heavy, and the keys too hard to depress at the keyboard. This is why Cavaillé-Coll used the Barker lever as soon as it was invented. Thanks to a pneumatic device, the Barker lever made the touch at the console of large organs much lighter. Later at the neo-classical time, the use of electric transmissions became widespread. No more rods or squares between keyboard and pallet, but simply an electric switch under the keyboard, a cable, and electromagnet to open the pallets.
On the organ of Evreux cathedral, the four keyboard will be directly linked by a mechanical device as "in the time of Don Bédos." Nowadays, it still is the only system which enables a musically sensory touch. On the other hand, the coupling will be managed by a Barker lever. But in any case, the organist will always have a direct touch. The machine is only used as an aid in the case of coupled keyboards.
AMORCE: The Barker lever is thus, along with the bellows with parallel folds, the only element which you retain from the 19th century building. It has nevertheless been criticised a lot. At the beginning of the 20th century, the builders favoured electrical transmissions, considering the Barker lever to be obsolete. And a few decades ago, many builders, when restoring organs, replaced electrical transmissions with purely mechanical transmissions.
PQ: In fact, the Barker lever is not the only element which I retain from the 19th century organ manufacture. I would not be brash enough to ignore the knowledge acquired over the 19th century. Indeed, we draw on the wealth of organ-building knowledge which has been accumulating for centuries . In no way do I pretend to do something original at all costs. We try to share in the vast organ heritage which, as all organ builders, we have been building up.
But let us come back to the Barker lever. With regards to the organ at Saint-Remy-de-Provence which we built 20 years ago, we did not fit a Barker lever and the touch at the coupled manuals is heavy. I admire the virtuosity with which the organist Jean Pierre Lecaudey uses in spite of this. This heaviness is no longer acceptable. The Barker lever, used to assist couplings, makes the manual touch much lighter, and greatly superior to an electric action. The response is quick, and the impulsion of the finger is rather accurately transmitted.
AMORCE: But it is not sensory!
PQ: Almost! When it is carefully adjusted. We have restored Barker levers, notably those of the Merklin organ of the cathedral of Perigueux: the accuracy is absolutely astounding. The Barker levers of the Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Sernin of Toulouse are also extremely precise. The removal of Barker levers in many organs has been one of the stupidest things of our time.
AMORCE: And what about electric actions? Was there no advantage, in the use of electronics for example?
PQ: Electric keyboards have not really evolved at this point in time. They still allow no attack control. Only the contact between pipe and keyboard has been improved. It is effected by an optical or magnetic sensor. Therefore the opening and closing control of the pallet of the wind-chest can be adjusted more accurately.
AMORCE: Research is being done to obtain a sensory touch electrically by resorting to modern technologies such as digital electronics, and microprocessors, systems in which the motion of the pallet is strictly parallel to that of the key, are being developed.
PQ: This has been experimentally implemented on a small scale, but nothing has been developed on an actual organ. At that point, certain problems could arise. Is it right to search in this way? Because in fact, apart from the key and the pallet working in parallel, overcoming the detachment (the resistance of the pallet to the wind pressure) is not important inasmuch as the "feeling" of the touch is established at that moment, and then everything is at stake. Then again, there is no control over anything except for the "release" of the key (the way the sound is "turned off").
AMORCE: Lately, at times, for large organs fitted with over one hundred stops, a dual system has been adopted: organ-loft manuals provided with a Barker lever plus a separate console with electric transmission. This is the case in Saint-Eustache of Paris.
PQ: We did the same thing for the Hamamatsu organ in Japan. Indeed, the electric manuals are less accurate than the mechanical manuals, but it is all the same playable in good conditions. The electric console is especially good for concerts as it allows the audience to see the organist better.
AMORCE: But musically it is not as good.
PQ: Yes, everybody agrees on this point. However, research must be pursued with the electrical transmissions so that the detachment of the pallets can be felt and the release controlled. This research will be expensive, and who can pay for it? French organ builders cannot afford such developments.
AMORCE: In Evreux, there will be no double manuals. On the other hand, you use digital electronics for drawing the stops.
PQ: Yes, otherwise for an organ of this size, the organist should be helped by two helpers, so as to play his registration, whereas with an electronic memory, he can play by himself. In fact this is not new. For almost fifty years control switches which work quite well have been in use. More than a century in England and America!
AMORCE: I've been told nevertheless that that there have been problems with the control panel recently fit in Notre-Dame-de-Paris, and that concerts had to be interrupted .
PQ: It was only a matter of a maintenance contract that had not been respected. Since then, the problem has been solved and everything is fine.
AMORCE: In the field of mechanism, haven't you been tempted to try new materials? Wood tends to react to humidity. Some people favour carbon fibre.
PQ: I believe that this material is expensive! As far as I know, I think that it could easily suit organ building. But you know, wood works perfectly well when used properly. Why should we change things which work well?
AMORCE: Wood is sensitive to hygrometry.
PQ: Yes it is. But we know on the other hand, that it never varies in length because of hygrometry. Once a tree is cut, its length will never change. It only varies in width. Thus the trackers (the transmissions) do not change lengthwise. On the other hand, the wooden parts bearing the angle plates and the reducers or other devices can vary against the grain of the wood, that is across the width of the tree .
In this case, compensators are provided, which simply work with a system based on a lever plus a mass or a spring. These devices are commonly used today. I can't really see what else the carbon fibre can contribute. It is doubtless lighter than wood. But is it really necessary to make such light touches for a sizeable organ? Doesn't the organist need to feel he his moving something?
AMORCE: Is the chest made only of wood? Why not use metal elements as well? On pianos, metal frames became widespread, in spite of reservations at the beginning. Metal being associated with weapons and death, this aroused violent hostile reaction.
PQ: In an organ, a good proportion of wood is necessary. But there can be metal elements. There will be some in Evreux. We can't do without it.
AMORCE: Does warping from dampness bother you?
PQ: They don't if the organ case moves a little in settling in/down, especially the decorative parts. But some parts of the chest which constitute the main frame must keep their shape. We have one building principle: to mix iron and wood so as to obtain very steady frames.
AMORCE: Is it what all builders do?
PQ: I cannot tell you if all the builders do this, but on the other hand, I can assert that this was sometimes done in the 17th and 18th centuries. Cliquot for example did it. All the horizontal parts in the Cliquot organ chest in Souvigny are made of iron. All the vertical parts are made of wood. One must bear in mind as a fact that once a tree is cut, it will never vary in length. On the other hand, all which lies horizontally (wind-chest etc), is laid on metal bars. It is the case of Souvigny organ, where the adjustment of the mechanical system is perfectly steady and never has to be corrected .
AMORCE: Let us come back to the organ case. Cavaillé-Coll often complained about the bad conditions the builder was faced with. He mentions that quite often an architect is asked to make a case, and once it has been installed, the organ builder is supposed to manage inside. Did that occur in Evreux?
PQ: Not at all. We started from a blueprint. Bruno Decaris, the architect, had drawn a case, but the instrumental part had not been really designed, in fact. Then, as it was being made up, both builder and architect had ideas that corresponded perfectly over more than a year. The design of the chest was rethought to fit perfectly the instrumental part. So we were in as ideal scenario .
AMORCE: At first, the architect did not know much about organs.
PQ: No, but a feasibility study had been carried out by Mr Decavèle, a consultant. Then, we did talk a lot at the time of the definitive research with the architects Bruno and Agnès Decaris and Stéphane Lefèvre. I was especially interested in the fact that they had intuitively made out what an organ case was. They intuitively discovered new shapes which suited the function of the chest as well as the architecture of the cathedral. We frequently met and understood each other. Each of us brought his own skill. This wasn't always easy because it was a tricky problem.
The architect resolutely chose to design a modern-style case in a gothic cathedral rather than to copy an antique case. He is somewhat accustomed to this, because he restored the roofing of the Keep of Falaise Castle in this way. Of course, many people are critical of this.
Naturally, I have already heard many criticisms of Evreux's future organ. It is rather encouraging because they are bad critics.
The AM.OR.CE also wanted this type of design.
AMORCE: In a case, there are also problems of acoustics. It plays a major part as a resonator and in distributing the sound. The new organ will replace an organ which had been built without a chest, directly under the vault. This entailed important sound loss, because the sound wave was not focussed. We had measured losses of 20 dB between the sound source and the Lady Chapel, with means that only a hundredth of the emitted sound reached the end of the building. One of the parameters to avoid sound losses in the vault, is the height of the organ. Generally the platforms organs are placed on are too high. At what height will the centre of the sound part be placed?
PQ: The "striking forces," that is the bombard and great organ manuals, are almost centred in relation to the height.
AMORCE: Did you have room enough to place all the instrumental parts?
PQ: I can't say I was comfortable! The troubles came first from the shape of the nave of the cathedral, which is narrow. We had only six metres from wall to wall. We had to improve the design of the wind-chest. We were not able to place a real 32-foot stop. Indeed the lowest pipes, which were to have a cross-section of 500x500 mm, would have been troublesome to lay out with a good emission. Consequently there will be only an acoustic 32-feet which renders the lowest notes as an effect of the resultant sounds, and one 32 feet reed stop.
AMORCE: Do you learn anything from data on modern acoustics in architecture?
PQ: Yes, I ask acousticians for their opinions. We happen to know well an acoustician at the National Centre for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.) of Marseilles: Mr François Santon, who is an organist too. Bruno Decaris asked him for an acoustic study of the church. His opinion has often been very valuable.
The reflection of the sounds can certainly be improved as compared to the classical design. The conventional shape in a rectangular box is not necessarily ideal. Brunos Decaris' case seems to be rounded. Logically, if the rear part of the chest follows a curve similar to a parabola, the focus of which would be the centre of the sound part, the sound wave would be ideally reflected over a long distance, just like with a dish aerial.
The rear of the case is concave. But it is not that simple. There are all the same so many partitions and pipes inside the organ that this improvement might be slight.
AMORCE: To avoid sound losses in the vaults you have set up a louver. Who designed it?
PQ: The architect did. It is shaped somewhat like a plane wing, so as to be light.
AMORCE: As a conclusion to this interview, Pascal Quoirin, can you tell us what you think of the future of the organ?
PQ: I am optimistic because the field of organs is full of enthusiasts. Unfortunately, churches (which is where our instrument can be heard) are not as busy as they used to be, and the standard of music is not very exciting. It would be ideal for organists and builders if church music regained its 17th and 18th century standard .
Comments collected by Yves Laot at Pascal Quoirin's workshop February 20, 2001.
Translated by A. Etienne, T. Berrada. Corrections by John S. Craven, director of "Ecole Nationale de Musique d'Evreux"