Voix Éolienne French

Listed only by Audsley, who says:

The name given by Cavaillé-Coll to a labial stop, of 8 ft. pitch, inserted in the Récit Expressif of the Organ in the beautiful Church of St. Ouen, Rouen [France]. The stop is tuned sharp and according to Philbert was designed to produce undulations of tone when drawn along with the Flûte Harmonique, 8 ft. This seems worthy of notice from the fact the the Flûte alluded to is placed in the Grand-Orgue. Such a disposition of the two stops deserves consideration, for it opens a nice question in artistic registration. Doubtless Cavaillé-Coll, the most scientific organ-builder of this time, realized the possibility of beautiful effects being produced by the combination of the uniform flute-tone and the changing and expressive tone of the Voix Éolienne.

In a footnote Audsley quotes Philbert from Causerie sur le Grand Orgue à Saint-Ouen de Rouen:

A Saint-Ouen, on rencontre encore un troisième jeu ondulant, la Voix Éolienne, destiné à produire l'ondulation avec la Flûte Harmonique. Il consiste en une rangée de tuyaux bouchés accordés à battements, et l'effet m'en a paru médiocrement satisfaisant, parce qu'il est un peu lourd. Ce que j'ai vu de mieux comme jeu ondulant destiné à agir sur une Flûte on un Bourdon, c'est le suavial de la Suisse allemande, formé de tuyaux ouverts, de taille à peu près identique &eagrave; celle du Salicional, mais dont le pied n'admet absolument qu'un filet d'air, de façon que le son propre en est extrêmement faible et se perd pour ainsi dire dans celui du jeu auquel on l'associe. La différence d'accord est en même temps très légère, au point que l'ondulation est à peine perceptible comme battement et ne fait qu'imprimer au timbre de la Flûte et surtout du Bourdon comme une teinte cristalline un peu vague réellement suave et empreinte de recueillement. Vogt aimait assez ce jeu et s'en servait habilement.

A very rough translation follows; a better one is needed.

In Saint-Ouen, one finds a third undulating stop, the Voix Éolienne, intended to produce the undulation with the Flûte Harmonique. It consists of a rank of stopped pipes tuned to beat, and the effect appeared unsatisfactory to me, because it is a little heavy. What I saw that I liked better, of an undulating stop intended to act on a Flute or a Bourdon, is the Suavial of the German-speaking Switzerland, made of open pipes, of a size about identical to that of the Salicional, but of which the foot admits only the slightest airflow, so that the sound is extremely weak and is lost, so to speak, in that of the stop with which it is drawn. The difference in pitch is at the same time very light, so much so that the undulation is hardly perceptible, and makes only print with the stamp of the Flute and especially Bourdon like a little vague crystal hue really suave and impressed meditation. Vogt liked this stop well enough and made use of it skilfully.

It seems more likely that the stop in St. Ouen was intended to be used with the Cor de Nuit 8' in the same division. The name means “voice of the wind”, from Aeolus, the ancient Roman god of the winds.

See Céleste; compare with Êoline.


Audsley[1]: Voix Éolienne. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Voix Éolienne.
Copyright © 1999 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
VoixEolienne.html - Last updated 15 June 2004.
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