Inside Saint Sulpice The Pipe Organ
The Grand Gallery Organ
In 1862, the current pipe organ, constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, was added to the church. It is Cavaillé-Coll's magnum opus, featuring 101 speaking stops, and is perhaps the most impressive instrument of the romantic French symphonic-organ era.
The church contains one of the world's finest and most famous organs, a pipe organ constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862, using many materials from the church's earlier French Classical organ built by Clicquot in 1781.
The Grand-Orgue of Saint-Sulpice was at the time of its building one of only three "100 stop" organs in all of Europe. Its organists have also been renowned, starting with Nicolas Séjan in the 18th century, and continuing with Charles-Marie Widor (organist 1870-1933) and Marcel Dupré (organist 1934-1971), both great organists and composers of organ music. Thus for over a century (1870-1971), Saint-Sulpice employed only two organists, and much credit is due to these two individuals for preserving the instrument and protecting it from the ravages of changes in taste and fashion which resulted in the destruction of many of Cavaillé-Coll's other masterpieces. The current organists are titulaire Daniel Roth (since 1985) and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin.
This impressive instrument is perhaps the summit of Cavaillé-Coll's craftmanship and genius. The sound and musical effects achieved in this instrument are almost unparalleled. Widor's compositional efforts for the organ were intended to produce orchestral and symphonic timbres, reaching the limits of the instrument's range. With five manuals— keyboards— and boasting two 32-foot stops, organists at St. Sulpice have an incredibly rich palette of sounds at their disposal.
Aside from a re-arrangement of the manual keyboards c. 1900, the installation of an electric blower and the addition of two Pedal stops upon Widor's retirement in 1934, the organ is maintained today almost exactly as Cavaillé-Coll left it.