Casavant Organ Model

Casavant, opus 3742 (1995), Bellevue, Washington 

casavantCasavant Frères (Casavant Brothers) is Canada’s best-known organ building firm. It was founded in 1879 by two Canadian brothers (Claver and Samuel Casavant), the sons of organ builder Joseph Casavant. Both Casavant brothers had worked in France with John Abbey and Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Before returning to Canada, the brothers traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting significant organs and builders. The company remains today at the same location Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec where it was first founded. The instrument that is widely considered the firm’s first “landmark” organ is the 1891 four-manual tracker organ built for the Church (now Basilica) of Notre-Dame in Montréal.

Casavant’s international and sometimes “eclectic” organ building style is represented in the diverse nationalities of the various tonal directors of the firm. Claver Casavant was the first tonal director, and he was succeeded by Stephen Stoot (England), Lawrence Phelps (USA), Gerhard Brunzema (Germany), Jean-Louis Coignet (France), and Jacquelin Rochette (Canada). Each brought their own ideas and perspectives, notably: Phelps (beginning in 1958) with his progressive and innovative organ design concepts, Brunzema (beginning in 1972) with his extensive experience with historical European organs, and Coignet (beginning in 1981), who was one of the world’s leading experts on the work of Cavaillé-Coll.

The Casavant firm has built several thousand organs on all six inhabited continents. These instruments range widely in every respect, from small portative organs of only a few stops to enormous cathedral and concert hall instruments. Likewise, both the tonal and mechanical approaches to the organs have varied, touching on nearly every organ building trend that took place during the 20th century and ultimately ending with a style that draws on diverse historical and international influences.

Given the convenience of location and a shared border, it was perhaps inevitable that Casavant would build many organs in the USA. These American instruments date from the company’s entire history and can found in every size and style, although the Phelps years saw a particular explosion of American Casavant organs. Opus 3742 was built in 1995 for the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, Washington as part of a new church building constructed for a growing congregation. It is an instrument that is generally representative and typical of the church organs Casavant has built in the USA since 1980.

The first priority of nearly all organs built for American churches is that they serve the needs of service playing, primarily represented by congregational singing and choral accompanying. The instruments’ suitability for a variety of solo organ literature follows on from there. American acoustics also tend to be on the dry side (especially when compared with Europe), and thus the voicing and tonal design of the instruments must take that into account. Across its three manuals and pedal, Op. 3742 provides the typical resources useful for American service playing, beginning with the core principal chorus on the Great to support congregational singing. Two enclosed/expressive divisions with both foundation and color stops are especially useful for choral accompanying. Beyond the basics of each division, additional elements such as the horizontal Trompette-en-chamade and the Chimes are also typical of many American church organs of this size.

The French stop names on Op. 3742 reflect primarily Casavant’s home in Montréal (where the native language is French), but they also allude to the filtered influence from French romanticism that is a part of many American eclectic organs. (However, Op. 3742 is certainly not actually an organ in true French romantic style.)

The eclectic style elements (drawing on several national traditions) can be seen in various features of the organ. One representative example is provided by the three different undulating/beating stops on the instrument: a French-romantic inspired string “Voix céleste,” and Italian style principal celeste (“Voce humana”), and the distinctly American “Flûte céleste” (the earliest examples of which can be found in organs by Murray Harris and Ernest Skinner). That these different elements coexist in the same organ is quite typical of an American eclectic organ.

Although the needs of church music are the primary focus of the instrument’s design, as is true with most American church organs of this size and style, organ literature from nearly all periods and national schools can be played relatively effectively, even if the exact sounds might not always be completely historically “authentic.” Certainly much American church music written in the 20th century (and especially since 1960) was conceived specifically for an instrument of this kind.

(Carson Cooman)

Features

No encryption

The samples are offered in 48kHz/24bit resolution. The multiple releases have three levels: short, mid and long. Hauptwerk version 4.2 and higher supported. The sample set is offered in a plain wave format.

Reverb time

The reverb time is ca. 2 seconds.

Keyboards, pedalboard

The original compass of the keyboards is 61 keys (full 5 octaves). The original compass of the pedal division is 32 keys.

Tremulants

All ranks were recorded with and without tremulants where available for the most convincing tremulant behavior. However, loading the authentic tremmed ranks consumes large amount of RAM. It is possible to select to use the artificial tremulant instead to save RAM (the switch is located on the mixer tab).

Requirements

RAM consumption: 4-channel surround

16-bit, other settings default:  15.1 GB

20-bit, other settings default:  25.6 GB (recommended)

24-bit, other settings default:  28.4 GB

RAM consumption: 2-channels (front only)

16-bit, other settings default:  8.2 GB

20-bit, other settings default: 13.2 GB

24-bit, other settings default: 14.8 GB

Screen resolution 1280x1024 px or more.

Polyphony of 5000 voices recommended for the full suround (3500 pipes minimum).

Polyphony of 2500 simultaneous pipes recommended for use of the wet sample set.

Surround format

The sample set is offered in a Surround variant (4 channels). There are two front channels and two rear channels. Due to the nature of the dry acoustics of the venue, the front channels contain very little reverberation (the sound is rather direct). The front and rear audio channels can be mixed or used separately - depending on the preferences of the user. A dedicated "mixing desk" is available in Hauptwerk to mix the sound to the desired level.

To reproduce the surround format, an audio card with at least 4 output channels is required, dedicating two channels for the front speakers, and other two channels for the rear speakers.

1. Grand Orgue C–c4
Violonbasse 16'
Montre 8'
Violon 8'
Flute a cheminée 8'
Flute harmonique 8'
Prestant 4'
Flute ouverte 4'
Quinte majeure 2 2/3' 
Doublette 2'
Cornet III
Fourniture IV-V
Bombarde 16'
Trompette 8'
Clairon 4'
Trompette-en-chamade 8'
   
Chimes  
Unison Off  
   
   
   
   
   
   
2. Positif (expr.) C–c4
Principal 8'
Voce umana 8'
Bourdon 8'
Flute douce 8'
Flute céleste 8'
Principal 4'
Flute a fuseau 4'
Doublette 2'
Larigot 1 1/3' 
Sesquialtera II
Cymbale IV
Douçaine 16'
Cromorne 8'
Bombarde-en-chamade (GO ext.) 16'
Trompette-en-chamade (GO) 8'
Clairon-en-chamade (GO ext.) 4'
   
Tremblant  
Unison Off  
   
   
   
   
   
3. Récit (expr.) C–c4
Bourdon 16'
Diapason 8'
Flute majeure 8'
Viole de gambe 8'
Voix céleste 8'
Octave 4'
Flute a cheminée 4'
Nazard 2 2/3' 
Quarte de nazard 2'
Tierce 1 3/5'
Piccolo 1'
Plein jeu V
Basson 16'
Trompette 8'
Hautbois 8'
Voix humaine 8'
Clairon 4'
Trompette-en-chamade (GO) 8'
   
Tremblant  
Unison Off  
   
   
   
Pédale C–g1
Soubasse 32' 
Bourdon 32'
Contrebasse 16'
Montre 16'
Soubasse 16'
Violonbasse (GO) 16'
Bourdon (RE) 16'
Octavebasse 8'
Flute bouchée 8'
Flute a cheminée (GO) 8'
Octave 4'
Flute ouverte 4'
Théorbe III
Mixture V
Contre trombone 32'
Trombone 16'
Bombarde (GO) 16'
Basson (RE) 16'
Douçaine (PO) 16'
Trompette 8'
Clairon 4'
Hautbois (RE) 4'
Trompette-en-chamade (GO) 8'
Clairon-en-chamade (GO) 4'

Couplers:

  • Récit to Pedal 8'
  • Choir to Pedal 8'
  • Great to Pedal 8'
  • Récit to Great 8'
  • Choir to Great 8'
  • Récit to Choir 8'

Accessories:

  • Full organ
  • Crescendo
  • 2 Swell pedals
  • Divisional and general combinations

 

Screenshots

 

 

Console view:

this is the general console view. It serves to define the keyboard MIDI inputs for all the divisions. The only active part of this view are the manuals and the pedal. Specifying the MIDI inputs is done by right-clicking on the desired manual or pedal.

All the other screen components are image-only. 

 

 

 

Mixer view:

The virtual listening position is adjusted here by adjusting the front/rear balance. Different balance can be set for each division separately if desired.

The mixer settings can be stored, retrieved, reset. 3 different mixer settings can be stored/recalled any time.

The switch in the right makes the selection for the tremulant between the sampled tremulant and artificial (Hauptwerk model) tremulant.

 

 

 

 

Left+Right Jambs view:

for dual touch screens, split jambs were created. They allow for portrait or landscape orientation, according to the orientation of the touch screens.

 

 

 

Left + Right Jambs Vertical view:

the dual stop jambs offer vertical (portrait) orientation as an alternative.

 

 

 

 

 

Single Jamb:

All the stops and other original controls of the organ can be found here. The jamb has alternative horizontal and vertical (portrait) orientation. 

Physical pistons or draw stops can be assigned to a virtual button on screen by right-clicking on the button.

 

Simple Jamb:

An alternative simple jamb was created especially for users who are not accustomed to reading the AGO stop layout. Somewhat "European" way of stop distribution was designed for this simple jamb. In addition to that, three more buttons were added, i.e. pistons triggering the continuous controller (swell pedals and crescendo) combinations prepared by the user on the Pedal Matrix screen. Please see the Pedal Matrix screen for details. The jamb has horizontal and vertical (portrait) orientation. 

 

 

Pedal Matrix:

MIDI continuous controllers (hardware swell pedals) are freely assignable on this tab to any of the existing swell pedal or crescendo pedal of the virtual organ. One hardware swell pedal can control any number of virtual swell pedals which is useful when the physical console has less controllers than needed. The setting can be memorized via 3 dedicated memory pistons and recalled anytime, thus enabling changing the MIDI assignment during performance. For more details, click here.

 

 

 

Crescendo:

the crescendo sequence can be adjusted here. By clicking the gray/white box, the stop is enabled/disabled in the given screscendo stage. The crescendo settings is remembered by Hauptwerk via Hauptwerk dedicated combination system (each stage of the crescendo is a memory for the combination system).

If the crescendo sequence gets corrupted by an accident, the Reset button will help you to restore the original crescendo sequence instantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update

Update 1.12:

  • Chamade Trompet is not affected by Unison Off couplers
  • Unison Off couplers do not affect intramanual couplers. This allows using the Chamade Trompet as a solo stop on one of the manual against the full organ coupled to a different keyboard.
  • Pitch of the low Cis of Doucaine 16 corrected.
  • Pitch of Voix celeste 8 corrected in Equal temperament.
  • Mixer labels corrected.
  1. Casavant Software Organ Model

    Casavant Frères, op. 3742, surround variant , 4 channels, plain wave format (no encryption).
    Price: Excl. Tax: €159.00 Incl. Tax *: €192.39 Excl. Tax

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