I did not return from Bourges to my Paris hotel until nearly midnight, so I had a leisurely morning trying to repack my suitcase. We leave for Barcelona at 5:30 am tomorrow!
This afternoon I met Andrew Dewar, organist, at the American Cathedral of Paris, also known as The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. The building has existed since the 1830s and the present structure was consecrated on November 25, 1886, Thanksgiving Day.
The first thing I showed Andrew after our meeting was the picture on my iPad of Nathan Laube and myself with the Bourges Cathedral in the background. You see, Nathan was artist in residence here at the American Cathedral for three years! In fact, he was here a month ago to play for the wedding of the music director, Zachary Ullery (who is now on vacation).
Andrew spent quite some time showing me the organ, and which stops were original. I really enjoyed listening to the beautiful flute and string stops by Cavaillé-Coll. Clay Logue sent me this description of the instrument: The Cathedral’s Grandes Orgues, built in 1887 by the prestigious French firm Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, was inaugurated on October 5, 1887, by Alexandre Guilmant. It has been suggested that Marcel Dupré is the person most responsible for the evolution of the instrument, which is still one of the largest in Paris: it was Dupré who acted as consultant, first in 1922, again in 1930, then again in the 1950s, with Maurice Duruflé. The latest restoration was completed in 1993 by the organ firm of Bernard Dargassies with the generous support of the Paulé Foundation and other Cathedral members. The organ was re-dedicated on February 21, 1993, and re-inaugurated on May 18, 1993, by Marie-Madeleine Duruflé, and on May 30, 1993, by Marilyn Keiser.
Then Andrew left, leaving me to try out the organ in front of two people from my tour who came to listen to me. All I can say is that my work is cut out for me when I return home! I felt like a rust bucket with my fingers not feeling attached to my body. Somehow I got through about 6 or 7 pieces. Unfortunately, though, the organ is in bad shape and is in need of another restoration, having uneven voicing, dead notes, and frequent ciphers. Guess who is on the organ restoration committee? Nathan Laube! Andrew said the project will cost about 4 million euros, yikes!
He also told me that one of the American Cathedral’s parishioners is actress Olivia deHavilland, who just celebrated her 100th birthday!
In spite of my rusty fingers, it still felt good to play, and I will look forward to being home in about two weeks.