the organ of church of Our Lady of Finisterræ in Brussels
built by Hippolyte Loret, 1849/1856
restored by manufacture d'orgues Thomas, 2000
The first contract for this organ was signed in 1848 by the Brussels organ builder Hippolyte Loret and the instrument was played fort he first time "on the first Saturday of February of 1849". It is very likely that the placement oft he pedal stops, and some changes in the specification took place in the following years: an inaugural concert took place on February 4, 1856.
In 2950, Delmotte of Tournai electrifies the key as well as the register action, installs a new independent console, enlarges the compass of the pedal-board and introduces a new electro-pneumatic windchest for seven stops on the Positif. The disposition of the instrument is remodelled: many new stops are introduced and some Loret registers move from one keyboard to another. Such was the state of the organ when the Brussels firemen inundated it while extinguishing the fire on the tower on October 27, 1970.
During the last decade of the twentieth century, the Finisterræ church underwent a complete architectural restoration and it was finally time for the organ to go through its long-awaited and well-deserved rehabilitation. In 1996 CGER-Banque and CGER-Assurances decided to lead and finance the project. On April 24, 1998, the CGER board of directors signed the contract with the Manufacture d'orgues Thomas of Ster-Francorchamps.
The leading principle of this restoration has been to give back its original physiognomy to the instrument. This involved the elimination of all the parts added to the organ after Loret, since they were not compatible with its proper function and its original sound aesthetic. As for the missing parts, models were found in the organ of the abbey of Averbode, finished in 1859, and which Loret considered his masterpiece.
Thanks to this restoration, Brussels recovered a remarkable instrument, which stands as a unique testimony to the transitional period between early and romantic organ-building. In this instrument, Hippolyte Loret demonstrates his capacities as innovator in many aspects: Grand-orgue windchest with double pallet box, allowing a system of Pédales de combinaisons very similar to Cavailé-Coll's invention, the presence of new kinds of registers, of free reed stops, and of the first swell-box ever in the capital.
Besides its particular, original and refined sonorities, this instrument, like all organs of quality, shall have the merit of stimulating curious organists to expand their repertoire as well as to reconsider their way of playing.
Since its inauguration on May 26, 2000, in the presence of the Belgian Queen and King, the organ has been a precious addition to the Brussels organ scene: the "Lundis d'orgue", noon concerts organized since then by Momoyo Kokubu and Xavier Deprez, are enjoyed both by the organ-lovers of the capital, and the pedestrians shopping in the Rue Neuve, the most active commercial street of Brussels.
Church of Our Lady of Finisterræ
Hippolyte Loret, 1849/1856
Flûte traversière 8
Plein jeu V
Cornet bas III
Cornet haut V
Trompette basse 8
Trompette haute 8
Viole de Gambe 8
Flûte pyramidale 4
III. Positif expressif
Flûte harmonique 8
Voix céleste 8
Violon bas 8
Octave basse 4
Pédales de combinaisons (from left to right):
Trémolo Positif, Tirasse Grand-orgue, Tirasse clavier de Bombarde, Appel Trompette basse 8, Appel Trompette haute 8, Appel anches du clavier de Bombarde, Appel Clairon 4, Accouplement du clavier de Bombarde au Grand-orgue, Accouplement du Positif au Grans-orgue, Expression.
aA1 = 435 Hz
at the 1856 Hippolyte-Loret-Organ in Notre-Dame du Finistère Brussels.
Alphonse Mailly (1833–1918): Allegro con brio