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Prytanée, Levasseur-Dangeville Organ (1640, 1772) [Back to Library]

Producer: Sonus Paradisi
Builder: Pierre Frileux and Pierre Cornet
Country: France
Manuals: 4
Pedalboard: No
Audio Ouput:
Date Built: 1640


The church of St. Louis was dedicated in 1621 as a part of a college founded by Jesuits for the education of the domestic servants of the king and queen. Later, it became a famous French military college. Among many other outstanding scholars, René Descartes studied there.

The organ case was made in 1638 by Pierre Frileux and Pierre Cornet. In 1640, Ambroise Levasseur was commissioned to build an organ to occupy that lavishly decorated case. In addition to his own work, he used some preexisting ranks and organ parts of unknown origin. The exact stop list of the Levasseur organ is unknown.

Jean Dangeville arrived in December 1772 and lived in the college for six months while working on the organ. He added a second Trompette to the manual and added the echo division among other work. As the result, the instrument then had 30 stops on 4 manuals and pedal.

During 19th century, the instrument underwent various alterations. By 1927, when the organ was inspected, its stoplist differed substantially from the 18th century specification. Among other items, the Grand Orgue had a Salicional, the Positif had an Oboe, the Récit and Echo were completely removed.

Between 1935-1963, the Gonzales organ building company made several repairs to the instrument, returning it in some aspects to its original condition. The complete restoration of the instrument finally occured in 1992-1996. Organbuilders Benoist and Sarelot scrupulously returned the instrument into its baroque state. The voicing was executed by Jean-Pierre Conan. About 1/3 of the pipes are original, dating from the 17th century. The original pitch of a= 392 Hz was restored, and the organ was tuned in a mild unequal temperament similar to that of Werckmeister III.

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