Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pipedreams, Southern France, Day 9

Package ready to mail, Pont Neuf across the Garonne River, Toulose
The next three days and nights we spent in the vicinity of Toulouse, the major city of Midi-Pyrenees. In the city of Toulouse itself, we were scheduled to visit seven churches. The third one on the schedule was cancelled, and I decided to opt out of the last three because I was tired. Instead, I chose to wander around the city a bit by myself, to buy a couple of souvenirs, and to mail a package of books and souvenirs back to the U.S. Again, YouTube video-recordings by Ian Cook are linked.

Eglise Notre-Dame la Dalbade, exterior with tympanum
The first church we visited in Toulouse (Tuesday, May 18) was the Eglise Notre-Dame la Dalbade. The church was built in the late 15th century, but sustained some damage in 1926 when the bell tower collapsed. The tympanum over the door is a Renaissnace ceramic rendition of the crowning of the Virgin by Fra Angelico. The organ, reconstructed by Puget in the late 19th century, was given its initiation in concert by the well-known composer, Charles-Marie Widor, in 1888. It has just recently been carefully restored. The organ has a wide dramatic range, almost heroic tones in the base. The organist (M. Demiguel) also demonstrated its versatility with some “modern” music of traffic sounds, battle sounds, and screams of despair. It has a huge base sound that reverberates through the floor and into the feet and legs. One of the group members played the famous Widor piece, which plays well on this organ.
Organ loft, Eglise Notre-Dame la Dalbade

The next church was a protestant church, the Temple du Salin, an unimposing structure on the corner of a city block. It was very light inside, and easy to photograph. The organ was designed by our organist, Jean-Claude Guidarini, and built by Jean Daldosso early this century. It has clear, bell-like tones in the higher registers and sturdy tones in the lower. The organ and its casings were quite beautifully and simply presented.
Temple du Salin: simple exterior

Beautiful organ, Temple du Salin
The Basilique Notre-Dame la Daurade was a fairly new church (19th century) in a neoclassical style, built on the site of a former Roman temple of Apollo which had been replaced by a temple to the virgin, which collapsed in the 18th century. I couldn’t get a good photo of the great organ, but had more luck with the choir organ. Jean Claude and Michael played a duet (Vierne mass?) on the great and choir organs respectively. The choir organ seemed to have a sweeter sound.
Choir organ, Basilique Notre-Dame la Daurade
Notre-Dame la Daurade: neoclassical façade

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