Carols and Midnight Mass at Notre Dame, New York

December 28, 2012


With minimal choir available for Christmas, this is what we did. It was glorious.

UPDATE: A number of people on the PIPORG-L have asked me if I could post, as one of them put it, “even a verisimilitude” of what the instrument sounds like in the room. So today between liturgies I quickly played through a little music to give some idea. It’s recorded simply via the internal microphone of a MacBook Pro and from the organ loft very near the console (as you can tell when I sneeze), so it doesn’t get the full effect of the space. But you get the idea, I believe, that it’s a pretty grand sound in there. These are off-the-cuff performances with flaws, but you’re interested in the sound, not in the artistry. Organists will hear an occasional pipe not speaking in time, and for the “Greensleeves,” I had to alter the registration on account of dead notes and even rearrange a few of the notes to accommodate the fact that the combination action is, well, out of action. But, again, I think you get an idea. It is very much to be hoped that this 89-year-old instrument, unaltered except by much wear and tear, will soon be brought back to its pristine state.

The samples are these. Click on each to hear:

Noël Suisse (Daquin)
Prelude on “Greensleeves” (Purvis)
And a couple of examples of hymn-accompanying plena

3 Responses to “Carols and Midnight Mass at Notre Dame, New York”

  1. What a glorious sound. I hope the instrument can be restored to its original splendor. I am always amazed at what can be ‘wrested’ from a pipe organ is not so perfect condition as long as you can get a somewhat even wind supply. … can usually work around dead notes and other problems to get the beautiful sound.

  2. rogerevans said

    Mr. Becnel, I feel as you do, IF the instrument has tonal integrity to begin with. And this one, fortunately, does. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Wonderful sounds in acoustics I envy. Thanks for posting this.
    Laurie, from piporg-l

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