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Historical overview

The organ of Saint-Maurice was initially built in 1865 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll et Cie (Paris for the private chapel of Marquis Ernest-Marie-Charles de Lambertye inGerbéviller (Meurthe-et-Moselle).La chapelle de Gerbéviller

In 1862, having just had the title of marquis bestowed on him, he had the Palatine chapel of his chateau restored. Chamberlain to Pope Pius IX, he was hoping to hast the latter in exileand brought together a collection of sumptuous liturgical ornaments, paintings, sculptures and reliquaries, among them a number of major artworks. The organ was completed on 2 February 1865. In the same year the marquis placed an order with Cavaillé-Coll for a small organ (in comparison to the first) for the Gerbéviller parish church. It was dedicated in October 1865.

The chapel, and in particular the « organ room », became the marquis' « favored salon ». It hosted the Parisian organists Alexis Chauvet (recent titulaire at La Trinité), Auguste Andlauer (future titulaire at Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's home parish), Lefébure-Wély (« officiel organist of the Second Empire »), Camille Saint-Saëns (organist of the Cavaillé-Coll at La Madeleine) or the Belgian organist, admired by Cavaillé, Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens. Everyone praised his hospitality and musicianship when he sat down at the console.

Ernest-Marie-Charles de Lambertye died on 23 février 1904 ; his nephew and heir then decided to part with this somewhat cumbersome organ to put his financial situation on better footing. It was bought in 1909 by Canon Oudin for what, at the time, was to be a provisional church for the new parish of Saint-Maurice de Bécon-les-Bruyères.

Five years after the organ left Gerbéviller, on28 August1914, the town was subjected to one of the first bombardments of the Great War. The chapel that had housed it only shortly before was almost completely destroyed by firs, as was the large library and a considerable portion of the chateau, thus causing the loss of all the family archives concerning the organ.

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