Organists, scholars of the organ and its music, and listeners who love French romantic organ music will all welcome this definitive account of the early career of Aristide Cavaille-Coll, the greatest organ builder of nineteenth-century France. Based on the author's earlier Cavaille-Coll and the Musicians, this engaging book describes Cavaille-Coll's relationships with Cesar Franck and such other contemporary composer/organists as Lefebure-Wely, Danjou, and Lemmens. Fenner Douglass draws on previously unavailable primary archives to highlight the projects that were pivotal to Cavaille-Coll's success, among them the magnificent instruments he designed and installed in St. Denis, La Madeleine, St. Vincent-de-Paul, and other churches in and around Paris. Of special interest is the documentation Douglass presents pertaining to the instrument for Franck at Ste. Clotilde in Paris.
In the final chapter, the author discounts the popular belief that Cavaille-Coll in his old age foresaw the future popularity of electropneumatic key action and regretted his inability to become involved in that development. In fact, Douglass says, the organ builder had little interest in the use of electricity as a supplementary source of energy for the organ.