After the „Tour de France North” in Summer 2011, this year saw the second stage: „Tour de France South“ concentrating on the most beautiful Cavaillé-Coll organs in Southern France.
Last year's tour comprised 7 days, 2300 tour kilometres in 18 stages and 21 organs. This year we clocked up 4000 kilometres and 23 churches and organs. The 30 tour participants came from Germany, New Zealand, Australia, USA, England, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary. They experienced a week of special organ gourmet touring under the direction of Dr. Kurt Lueders (Vice President of the Cavaillé-Coll Society) and the organisation of ORGANpromotion.
Starting at Bordeaux we travelled to St. Sever, St. Palais, Pau, Oloron, St. Gaudens, Toulouse, Castelnau, Carcassonne, Perpignan, Montpellier, St. Guilhelm-le-Désert, Gignac, Bédarieux, Lunel, Nimes, via Marseilles to the final destination, Lyon.
To every instrument we received an academic introduction from Kurt Lueders, a presentation recital from the church's titular organist, then extensive opportunities for the participants to try out the instruments for themselves. The tour offered comprehensive insights into the creative life of the organ-builder dynasty Cavaillé-Coll and their environment and influences in the 18th and 19th century - Gabriel Cavaillé-Coll, Vincent Cavaillé-Coll, Dominique Cavaillé-Coll, Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, Théodore and Maurice Puget, Charles Mutin, with examples of all creative epochs of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll with instruments of all sizes, from one-manual, two-manual choir organs to the huge 4-manual organs.
Tour participants had a friendly reception at all venues from the host organists and organ friends. Numerous new friendships were started at sociable get-togethers with wine-tastings and picnics.
On the last evening in Lyon all the participants were of one mind and joined in with the singing of the newly created Cavaillé-Coll song Les Orgues des Aristide, ils sont très magnifique, les Tyaux et les Consolles, Cavaillé-Coll, Cavaillé-Coll!
Prof. Dr. Gyula Kormos, HU 1101 Budapest, Translation: Peter Kirk