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Dear Board-members I posted the following on piporg-l and apologise to anyone who feels annoyed by getting it twice...... Best wishes Barry Yesterday I attended the inauguration of a new instrument so interesting, that I feel I ought to make the effort to share some impressions. The little town of Bardowick, a few kilometers north of Lüneburg, now seems so sleepy and suburban that it is difficult to imagine that 1000 years it was much more important than either Lüneburg or Hamburg. It is dominated by an extremely large church, known as the "Dom" (cathedral), which was probably intended by Charlemagne, who founded the place, to be a bishopric, but never was. An eventful history, including destruction by the Prince of Brunswick "Henry the Lion", means that the current building mostly dates from the 14th century. You can see it here: http://www.kirche-bardowick.de/unserekirchen/derdom.html The church has had a number of organs in the course of its history (Jacob Scherer is one illustrious name) but in 1867 Philipp Fürtwängler built a new 31 stop instrument on a newly designed gallery at the west end. Three attempts were made to adapt this instrument to changing tastes; the third of these, in 1997, gave the instrument a new mechanical action and attempted a complete rebuild with some old material. But the result was a disaster, the instrument was abandoned after less than 5 years, and the name of the responsible builder is now tactfully never mentioned. Since the case was still in existence and under protection, the problem was to decide what sort of an instrument should go into it. It was felt that, since the region is still very rich in German romantic instruments, of which about two thirds are by Furtwängler, a reconstruction in this style was pointless; on the other hand, it was clear that the case was totally unsuitable for a north German-style romantic instrument. Harald Vogel was largely responsible for pointing the project in the direction of Thuringia, where baroque instruments (those which did not reuse old cases) abandoned the separate cases of the "Werkprinzip"-style instrument and reveal themselves as transitional, opening clearly the way towards a romantic style in construction and in tonal design. The Schuke firm, that is this one: www.schuke.de and NOT this one: http://www.schuke-berlin.de/ had restored the fabulous Eilert Köhler organ in Suhl (Thuringia) a few years ago and were chosen partly for that reason to undertake this project. The specification, as well as some interesting pictures, can be found here: http://www.nomine.net/bardowick-dom The pallette of beautiful sounds that this organ can make seems almost inexhaustible. The typical gentle strings and enchanting flutes of the Thuringian builders like Köhler and Trost are all present; one could listen to the combination of the Hohlfloit and Fagar of the Oberwerk for most of the night, whereas the Gamba of the Hauptwerk together with the Gemshorn is just as enchanting. The "Flute douce" 4' of the Oberwerk, a 2 rank stop, one rank a slightly conical wooden open flute and the other a wooden Gedackt - well, there is no way to describe it. The three weighty plena are all different in character, but all three are brilliant and incisive but not loud. With this instrument Matthias Schuke and his crew have, I think, proved beyond doubt (even more than they did in "my" instrument), that they are capable of far more than solid, functional bread-and-butter organs, but are a force to be reckoned with. This instrument is no copy, but a new and innovative instrument in a styl which is underrepresented in modern organ building.