Christophe Moucherel | Cathédrale Ste-Cécile . Albi [France]

ChMou Alb_Cathedrale Ste Cecile Pierre Selim_CC BY 3.0_crop

Photography by Pierre Selim
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The Albi cathedral organ was built in 1736 by Christophe Moucherel, featuring an horizontal composition, with pipes located side by side and pipe toes at the same height.

The instrument decoration, unlike in other major organbuilding schools, is completely based in wood carvings, instead of using also paintings or gilded woodwork. This decorative austerity of the organ contrasts with the expressive and colorful wall and ceiling frescoes of the cathedral. The “Positif a dos” case is supported by two large stone atlantes and each organ tower is crowned with a statue or a decorative object.

The organ has suffered several changes that have removed its original character. In 1977 it underwent a reconstruction in which almost the entire organ was rebuilt from scratch.


1736 – construction by Christophe Moucherel
1747 – François et Jean-François l’Epine adds a reed stop
1778-1779 – Joseph Isnard adds the Bombarde section (reed stops and Cornet V stop)
1825 – Antoine Peyroulous changes some stop locations and adapts to the romantic taste
1804-1841 – Frères Claude change even more the organ character to romantic taste
1847 – repair by Ventouillac & Dubois
1856 – repair by Junk
1865 – Thibault Maucourt builds a new Récit in romantic style and changes coupler system
1865-1903 – changes by Théodore Puget in a major renovation
1950’s – the organ is seriously deteriorated
1971 – Schwenkedel dismantles the organ
1977 – Bartolomeo Formentelli reconstructs the instrument
1996 – Bartolomeo Formentelli does a major revision of the organ

Positif a dos Grand Orgue Bombarde Echo
Montre 8′ Montre 16′ Cornet V ranks (C3-D5) Bourdon 8′
Bourdon 8′ Bourdon 16′ Bombarde 16′ Prestant 4′
Prestant 4′ Montre 8′ Premiere trompette 8′ Nazard 2′ 2/3
Flûte a cheminée 4′ Bourdon 8′ Deuxieme trompette 8′ Quarte de nazard 2′
Nazard 2′ 2/3 Prestant 4′ Trompette 8′ (C3-D5) Tierce 1′ 3/5
Doublette 2′ Flute a cheminée 4′ Voix humaine 8′ Fourniture III
Tierce 1′ 3/5 Grosse tierce 3′ 1/5 Clairon 4′ Cromorne 8′
Larigot 1′ 1/3 Nazard 2′ 2/3
Cornet V (C3-D5) Doublette 2′ Récit Pédale
Fourniture VI Quarte de nazard 2′ Flute 8′ Flute 16′
Trompette 8′ Tierce 1′ 3/5 Cornet V ranks Flute 8′
Cromorne 8′ Cornet V (C3-D5) Trompette 8′ Flute 4′
Clairon 4′ Fourniture V (2′ 2/3) Hautbois 8′ Bombarde 16′
Cymbale V (1′) Trompette 8′
Bombarde 16′ Clairon 4′
Première trompette 8′
Deuxième trompette 8′
Clairon 4′

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