The Bombarde Organ
The notion of bright, brassy, high-wind-pressure trumpet-like stops on pipe organs is centuries old – Spanish organs in particular were famous for this feature in the Renaissance and Baroque eras – but dedicating an entire pipe division to these and related stops was a late 19th-20th century trend driven by technological advancement, and by players, composers and builders interested in orchestral sonorities, and in particular with mimicking the effect of a complete orchestral brass section. It is no coincidence that Bombarde stops and divisions are named by the same root as military ‘bombardment’ – they are frequently used in connection with fanfares on royal and military occasions – but historically there is a closer connection to a bright and powerful Breton folk instrument related to the oboe and its ancestor the shawm.
As the photo shows the TEMC Bombarde division, currently playing from Manual V and mounted at the front of the west chancel chamber, is based on two ‘Tuba’ stops (‘tuba’ is the Latin word for ‘trumpet’), but also includes three other stops, Violoncello, Flute and Principal – used either to colour and complete the trumpet effects or as bright, prominent solo stops in their own right.
Our ‘Organ Century’ plans for the TEMC organ call for the combination of the Bombarde and Solo (see next week’s “Tweet”) divisions onto Manual IV, and the creation of a new Antiphonal division above the south balcony joining the current Echo division on Manual V. The crowning glory of this new division is to be a Trumpet ‘en chamade’ (another military reference) projecting out horizontally from the south wall. This new division would be our organ’s new, and best-ever connection with the space in our nave, and God willing, with our hearts as we gather there.
More on this in 2015…