César Franck CD recording with Jean-Paul Imbert

To record a new CD of César Franck pieces with the renowned concert organist Jean-Paul Imbert

We did it!

On 13th May 2017 we successfully raised £1,592 with 42 supporters in 35 days

 To see French language version go to: Jean-Paul Imbert à St Étienne jouant à César Franck.

Hello! I am Jake Purches, recording engineer and producer on this project. I am passionate about the pipe organ and recording it, and have completed two other projects in the last year - see here Three Tientos and other organ music and here, Recessional by Carlotta Ferrari from the 'O Ignus Spiritus paracliti' album. As a music lover and audiophile there is nothing quite like producing your own music to share with others!

For this project I am planning to record one of my musical heroes, the renowned French organist Jean-Paul Imbert. Twenty one years ago I attended his recital at St Étienne, Caen, in Normandy (France), and ever since I have wanted to record him on the wonderful original Cavaillé-Coll organ at the abbey. Six months ago, I met Jean-Paul Imbert at a recital at Portsmouth Cathedral and he agreed to make a recording with me in Caen. 

Pour voir la version en français, allez à: Jean-Paul Imbert à St Étienne jouant à César Franck

Salut ! Je m’appelle Jake Purches. Pour ce projet je serai l’ingénieur d'enregistrement et le producteur. Je suis très enthousiaste pour enregistrer l’orgue Cavaillé-Coll. Pendant l’année dernière, j’ai complété deux projets similaires : Three Tientos et d'autre musique d'orgue ; et Recessional, de Carlotta Ferrari (de l'album 'O Ignus Spiritus paracliti'). Je suis mélomane et audiophile, donc pour moi il n'y a rien comme produire votre propre musique pour partager avec des autres !

Pour ce projet, j’enregistrerai un de mes héros musicaux, l’organiste français bien connu Jean-Paul Imbert. Il y a vingt-un ans, j'ai assisté à son récital à St Étienne, Caen, en Normandie (France). Cet expérience m’a donné envie d’enregistrer l’orgue Cavaillé-Coll à l'abbaye de Saint-Étienne. Il y a six mois, j'ai rencontré Jean-Paul Imbert à la cathédrale de Portsmouth pendant un récital, et il a accepté de faire un enregistrement avec moi à Caen.

Pour commander un CD ou faire un don, choisissez un ‘pledge’ à gauche (en anglais). Le CD coute £18 et un téléchargement mp3 coute £8.


We are set for a recording in July 2017 at St Étienne. We have decided to dedicate a CD to the composer and organist César Franck, who was so closely connected with Cavaillé-Coll organs. We will be recording:

  • 3 Chorales for Organ
  • Prélude Fugue and Variation
  • Fantasy in A Major
  • Cantabile
  • Pièce Héroique

On the technical side, I will be using a six-microphone array using Sennheiser MKH8020 omni microphones  to produce both stereo and surround-sound recordings with full frequency recording past the lowest fundamental of 16hz for this organ. This will result in two formats for the recordings, with the possibility of a third:

  • Stereo audio at 192khz sampling 24 bit. This will be used to master the CD.
  • 5.1 surround sound at 192khz 24 bit, with DTS options and 96khz versions available for download.
  • Gekko cables are providing pure silver conductor microphone cables for maximum fidelity.
  • Possible simultaneous analogue recording for vinyl release depending on interested parties, using Audio FM and Revox tape recorders rebuilt by tape expert Tim de Paravacini.
  • Audio editing and mastering taking place at 6 Audio studio in Sussex using Vivid Audio  Giya G1 and G2 monitor speakers for 5.1 surround and stereo mastering.

The challenges involved in making this recording are significant, and your assistance would be hugely appreciated! The organ is over 13 metres above the ground floor so we need to obtain a tall tower/mast that can take the microphones to at least 14 metres. Flying the mics is not an an option in this case, as in this example below:

Expenses include travel costs to France, hotels, organist expenses, the abbey itself for the hire of the organ, then after that the time for editing and the cost of glass mastering the CD, content and graphic design for the covers and a production run. 

We will be recording during the night when its relatively quiet. After editing and mastering we hope to have the CD made by October. Depending on interest and funding, a vinyl LP will follow. If you are interested in the vinyl do let me know. LP mastering and pressing is expensive and requires some financial commitment on my part. So your assistance is going to be very valuable. Your contributions are a way of pre-selling the CD and the digital downloads. Thank you so much for your interest! 

Composition sonore / Stop List
Orgue de tribune / Gallery Organ

I. Grand-Orgue


II. Positif

Montre 16'   Bourdon 16'
Bourdon 16'   Principal 8'
Montre 8'   Cor de nuit 8'
Bourdon 8'   Salicional 8'
Flûte harmonique 8'   Unda Maris 8'
Gambe 8'   Prestant 4'
Prestant 4'   Flûte douce 4'
Flûte octaviante 4'   Carillon III
Quinte 2 2/3'   Basson 16'
Doublette 2'   Trompette 8'
Plein-Jeu VII   Cromorne 8'
Cornet V      
Bombarde 16'      
Trompette 8'      
Clairon 4'      

III. Récit
(expressif / enclosed)



Quintaton 16'   Bourdon 32'
Diapason 8'   Contrebasse 16'
Flûte traversière 8'   Soubasse 16'
Viole de gambe 8'   Grosse flûte 8'
Voix céleste 8'   Violoncelle 8'
Flûte octaviante 4'   Bourdon doux 8'
Octavin 2'   Flûte 4'
Cornet V   Bombarde 16'
Bombarde 16'   Trompette 8'
Basson-Hautbois 8'   Clairon 4'
Voix humaine 8'      
Clarinette 8'      
Trompette 8'      
Clairon 4'      

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