St. Eucaire de Metz

The St. Eucaire organ is a smaller 18 rank instrument built in 1902 by Cavaillé-Coll’s successor Charles Mutin, although still very much a direct creation of the organ building master himself as the tonal direction had not changed so shortly after his death in 1899. It is the smaller “sister” to the larger Cavaillé-Coll organ in Notre Dame de Metz.

Church archives indicate the earliest known organ in St. Eucaire to date back to the 16th century from the year 1506. In 1803 the church acquired a new instrument to replace the aging organ that was affected by the French revolutionary war in the late 18th century. This new organ was another 16th century instrument purchased from the city of Treves. In 1864 the Antoine Sauvage firm rebuilt that organ retaining many of the older pipes and this remained in St. Eucaire until 1901 when the current Cavaillé-Coll organ was commissioned under the lead of Charles Mutin.

The new organ was completed on August 18th, 1902 and inaugurated the same day by Paul Pierne who performed works by Bach, Franck, Saint-Seans, Widor, Gabriel Pierne, and some of his own compositions. Charles Mutin himself even appeared for the inaugural event as well as many other distinguished organists. The church vestry from Notre Dame Metz were so impressed by the organ that they commissioned Mutin to build them a new larger organ just one year later.

Between 1902 and 2002 the organ went without much restoration work other than minor updates such as the addition of an electric blower in 1911. The facade saw the addition of zinc pipes to replace the original pipes, which had been requisitioned in 1917. The introduction of a Jeu de Tierce in 1937 by the organ-building firm Frederic Haerpfer gave the instrument a more baroque sound (since replaced) and they replaced the primary reservoir due to its poor condition. In 1966 the Haerpfer-Erman firm installed the current electric blower.

21st Century Restoration

The last work done on the organ consisted of an extensive overhaul carried out by the Bernard Aubertin organ-building firm. The work was done between September 2002 and December 2007 and is considered an important and major restoration for this instrument allowing it to continue playing glorious music for decades to come.

The organ was re-inaugurated in June 2008 with concerts performed by St. Eucaire's organist Frédéric Mayeur, and the Notre Dame de Metz organist Philippe Delacour.

Repairs included:

  • Total disassembly, cleaning, restoration of worn and damaged parts, and reassembly.

  • Neo-gothic organ case was fully straightened and cleaned.

  • Complete overhaul and resealing of all bellows.

  • All ductwork leaks fully restored and sealed.

  • Pneumatic bellows for the pipe transmission restored with new lambskin.

  • Pneumatic tubing cleaned and reinstalled.

  • Cleaning of all pipework and treatment of wooden pipes for preservation.

  • Reproduction of new Voix Humaine based on the Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre Dame.

The instrument as it stands today is in great condition and played daily for services. Many concerts are performed in St. Eucaire by their organist Frédéric Mayeur and the organ attracts musicians from near and far to hear its sonic history continue through the 21st century.