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Taragonna Cathedral


edbowie
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Whilst recently wandering around Taragonna Cathedral, I noticed that the case was empty and that pipes were located in boxes in side chapels. It was evident that these boxes had been shipped from Germany.

 

Has anyone any idea whether this is an new instrument or a restoration and who the builder might be?

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Whilst recently wandering around Taragonna Cathedral ... Has anyone any idea whether this is an new instrument or a restoration and who the builder might be?

Hello,

 

I'm not sure about the word Taragonna, but if you have referred to Saragossa, then you will find appropriate information about the organ at Klais' website. There the city is named Zaragoza.

 

Cheers

tiratutti

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Whilst recently wandering around Taragonna Cathedral, I noticed that the case was empty and that pipes were located in boxes in side chapels. It was evident that these boxes had been shipped from Germany.

 

Has anyone any idea whether this is an new instrument or a restoration and who the builder might be?

Ok, Tarragona.

 

Look at the website of Verschueren Orgelbouw and you will find, that this Dutch company builds the new organ of Tarragona cathedral.

 

Cheers,

tiratutti

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This is (just about) worth a brief look:

 

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=p58IeQGwukQ

 

I have no idea if there is a soundtrack - this (school) computer does not have any speakers connected.

Nothing interesting on the soundtrack but what an amazing case and building. I couldn't find a stoplist on the Vershueren website; I wonder if it will be based strictly on what they think was in the case originally.

 

Looking at those painted doors made me think - were they intended to be closed unless the organ was in use or specifically for Lent or Holy Week, when statues etc are covered up? I hope they don't smash into the batteria when they shut - it looks a tight squeeze.

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Google tells me the case dates from 1563, but what about the organ inside it that's being replaced?

Searching in Spanish reveals a bit more, but not much. A blog from some politician was complaining about the costs (which will mainly come from the State) and he had heard, much to his annoyance, that there were plans to build a new organ rather than to restore the original. He was obviously not aware that almost nothing of the original exists and there are no written records of what that consisted of.

 

There was an article in the local Catalan press in 2005 which spoke of the 1.2 million Euro project to 'restore' the organ. Jordi Vergés the organist explained that there had been many unfortunate changes to the organ since 1563 (not surprising really). The most 'unfortunate' was the complete replacement of what was left of the organ in 1929 (apart from the facade) by the company 'Edian'. There was then some attempt in 1973 to replace some of these ranks with those more in keeping with the style suggested by the casework. Looking on the bright side, Mr Vergés did remind us that around 1000 organs were completely destroyed during the Civil War, so to have any part of an organ from the 16th century in Spain was remarkable.

One of the priests at the Cathedral was quoted as having said that their organ was like a beautiful cage, but the bird inside didn't sing.

 

As Mr Vergés had lessons from many Dutch organists according to his CV, this may explain the choice of builder.

 

I have asked the Dutch builders to send a copy of their specification, so we shall see. The organ is to be finished by 2010.

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Searching in Spanish reveals a bit more, but not much. A blog from some politician was complaining about the costs (which will mainly come from the State) and he had heard, much to his annoyance, that there were plans to build a new organ rather than to restore the original. He was obviously not aware that almost nothing of the original exists and there are no written records of what that consisted of.

 

There was an article in the local Catalan press in 2005 which spoke of the 1.2 million Euro project to 'restore' the organ. Jordi Vergés the organist explained that there had been many unfortunate changes to the organ since 1563 (not surprising really). The most 'unfortunate' was the complete replacement of what was left of the organ in 1929 (apart from the facade) by the company 'Edian'. There was then some attempt in 1973 to replace some of these ranks with those more in keeping with the style suggested by the casework. Looking on the bright side, Mr Vergés did remind us that around 1000 organs were completely destroyed during the Civil War, so to have any part of an organ from the 16th century in Spain was remarkable.

One of the priests at the Cathedral was quoted as having said that their organ was like a beautiful cage, but the bird inside didn't sing.

 

As Mr Vergés had lessons from many Dutch organists according to his CV, this may explain the choice of builder.

 

I have asked the Dutch builders to send a copy of their specification, so we shall see. The organ is to be finished by 2010.

 

Did you also ask for the cost and the calculation? 'Their' opus 1111 (a restoration of a 1863/4 Ibach,III/P/41) is said to cost about 1 million euros; and, as the fundraisers say, for that the parish gets an instrument that's almost perfect for the organworks of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms :)

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Did you also ask for the cost and the calculation? 'Their' opus 1111 (a restoration of a 1863/4 Ibach,III/P/41) is said to cost about 1 million euros; and, as the fundraisers say, for that the parish gets an instrument that's almost perfect for the organworks of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms :)

 

I did not ask for a 'calculation' of the costs as the figure seems reasonable for a new Cathedral organ, and it has nothing to do with me, it is not my project. The use of the word 'restoration' can cover a whole range of work, from a straight forward clean and repair of what exists, to an almost completely new organ with just a few ranks of original pipework revoiced to how some 'expert' says they should sound.

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I did not ask for a 'calculation' of the costs as the figure seems reasonable for a new Cathedral organ, and it has nothing to do with me, it is not my project. The use of the word 'restoration' can cover a whole range of work, from a straight forward clean and repair of what exists, to an almost completely new organ with just a few ranks of original pipework revoiced to how some 'expert' says they should sound.

 

 

I just love this comment, how horribly, horribly true it rings!

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I just love this comment, how horribly, horribly true it rings!

 

....And so I also do. This brings us back to the "educated ear" concept, in which it is

impossible to tell what part is due to the facts, one hand, and what to the beliefs,

on the other hand.

 

Pierre

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Whilst recently wandering around Taragonna Cathedral, I noticed that the case was empty and that pipes were located in boxes in side chapels. It was evident that these boxes had been shipped from Germany.

 

Has anyone any idea whether this is an new instrument or a restoration and who the builder might be?

If it is possible, could you correct the spelling of the title of this thread, in case anybody else is using the internet (!). Although given the state of this historic organ, perhaps Tara-gonna is quite appropriate. :rolleyes:

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As far as I heard from a friend, the former Tarragona organ was something like an Aeolian-Skinner offered by a rich american lady... Slaughtered by Organeria Espanola in the 70's. ;) (At least that's what I have been told, I may have misunderstood...)

But the local organist prefered to have a new baroque-like copy made rather than restore the Aeolian-Skinner. ;)

Not exactly my cup of tea, I wonder what will happen to the old organ, and if it was possible to have something good from it, despite the "glorious" work of OE.

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As far as I heard from a friend, the former Tarragona organ was something like an Aeolian-Skinner offered by a rich american lady... Slaughtered by Organeria Espanola in the 70's. :lol: (At least that's what I have been told, I may have misunderstood...)

But the local organist prefered to have a new baroque-like copy made rather than restore the Aeolian-Skinner. :)

Not exactly my cup of tea, I wonder what will happen to the old organ, and if it was possible to have something good from it, despite the "glorious" work of OE.

That all seems to fit with the quote from the organist in the local newspaper (2005):

 

CAMBIOS DESAFORTUNADOS / Jordi Vergés, organista de la catedral de Tarragona, concertista y profesor del conservatorio, explica que el instrumento ha sufrido cambios desafortunados. «En 1929, fue sustituido por un órgano centenario de la fábrica Edian que un financiero norteamericano conservaba en la casa de Mar i Cel de Sitges». En 1973, la Organería Española sustituyó los tubos instalados por la firma Edian, pero no se hicieron a medida. Esta cuestión técnica «impide invitar a grandes concertistas porque el sonido del órganos es el reflejo de tanto disparate junto», lamenta Vergés. Sólo durante la guerra civil se perdieron más de 1.000 órganos debido a la quema de iglesias. Tampoco se conserva música catalana sacra del XVI para órgano.

 

I have not yet found any information about the firm Edian. The text suggests that the organ was already a hundred years old when the north American (un financiero is masculine, but perhaps the husband of the 'rich american lady') donated it to the Cathedral. They had kept the organ at their house in Sitges, I assume this was a large house. The 1973 work left the organ in such a poor condition that it was not possible to invite recitalist to play on it.

Putting a Dutch baroque organ behind a Spanish case may be just as odd as having a romantic or symphonic style organ behind one. The Spanish organ builders will be as annoyed with Vergés as the Swiss were with the Lausanne Cathedral Organist when he chose Fisk. However, having a variety of instruments in any one region is healthy for organ music, but you might have thought that such an historic organ case might have merited a Spanish Organ. The Dutch may well be recreating something with a Spanish flavour, but even if they do send the specification, we shall just have to wait to hear the result.

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No wonder I couldn't find any trace of an organ building firm called Edian, this is just the result of a Spanish journalist trying to make sense of the word AEolian, particularly as the A is often linked to the E. :lol:

I think the idea that the organ was 'centenario', or a hundred years old, is also a red herring. If it was an Aeolian organ it couldn't be older than 1883 and as it was installed at Tarragona in 1929, it is unlikely to have anything to do with Ernest Skinner as he only acquired Aeolian in 1931.

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As far as I heard from a friend, the former Tarragona organ was something like an Aeolian-Skinner offered by a rich american lady... Slaughtered by Organeria Espanola in the 70's. :lol: (At least that's what I have been told, I may have misunderstood...)

But the local organist prefered to have a new baroque-like copy made rather than restore the Aeolian-Skinner. :)

Not exactly my cup of tea, I wonder what will happen to the old organ, and if it was possible to have something good from it, despite the "glorious" work of OE.

Sorry to keep this thread going, but I'm fascinated as to how a Spanish Cathedral ended up with an AEolian residence organ behind a sixteenth century case. Could you, French amateur, perhaps push your friend for a few more details, such as the name of the rich Americans who donated the organ? I am in contact with someone in the States who has the complete opus list of Aeolian (and many other US builders), so we might be able to track down the original specification. There were many of these organs exported all over the world including 5 to Spain (3 to Madrid and 2 to Barcelona). Only four actually arrived as one of the Barcelona-bound AEolians resides at the bottom of the Atlantic courtesy of a German U-boat.

An organist friend of mine is going to Barcelona next week and I have asked him to see what he can find out about the Tarragona Organ.

Still no reply from Verschueren, perhaps they've all gone to Barcelona.

 

David

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Sorry, but I already tried to get more info from this friend, but couldn't manage. The only thing I know is that there is some nice things in the organ at the moment (probably the one untouched), and that the cathedral organist hates this organ.

 

I will try however to have some more information...

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Whilst recently wandering around Taragonna Cathedral, I noticed that the case was empty and that pipes were located in boxes in side chapels. It was evident that these boxes had been shipped from Germany.

 

Has anyone any idea whether this is an new instrument or a restoration and who the builder might be?

 

The organ in Tarragona's Cathedral was completely dismantled and a new organ will be built by Verschueren Orgelbaw. That's all the information I have about the new organ to be built.

 

The existing pipe work and other parts of the organ, including the soundboards, have been kept for the future use, in case the decide to build a new organ using that material or reconstructing the Aeolian organ the they belonged to.

 

The cases in the chapels are the pipes for that organ. There still are some more pipes, stored somewhere else in the Cathedral, that belonged to the organ. Those were removed/discarded by the extint OESA organ builders when they did the last refurbishment.

 

I hope this clarifies your questions.

 

Santiago Munoz

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