Construction of New Organs
t is in this field where the workshop's creativity shines brighter from a plastic, technical and timbral point of view, always within the limits set for each new instrument.
The variety of circumstances that influence each work makes them a fascinating adventure into a new territory, where we have to come up with aesthetic solutions in fixed environments, find technical answers to the space available, and select a coherent timbral palette, choosing from the multiple ones that we have received from different cultures over the centuries.
Our organ building workshop is also committed to consistency when it comes to style since in each and every geographical and cultural framework the construction of new organs must complement the instrumental landscape in order to diversify the musical repertoire. Therefore, what it is a right solution for a specific environment might not be so for others.
Restoration of Historical Organs
ur commitment in this field focuses not only on work quality and accuracy, but specially on the protection and preservation of this heritage through its study. We take a very respectful approach for it is, after all, our own history.
Spain holds one the most important collection of historical organs in Europe, and Castile is one of the richest regions, with organs that go from the 15th century to the 19th century.
The restoration of this historical heritage is one of the main activities of our workshop, located in Tordesillas, in the very heart of Castile.
Because of the uniqueness of this matter, the criteria that govern the treatment, intervention and conservation of organs are a direct consequence of the multiple aspects that coincide in them, namely:
- Their architectural and ornamental aspect and also the need to blend with the temple in which they are.
- Being a piece of furniture with its own architectural structure, sometimes of substantial size, as is the case of altarpieces.
- Having a mechanical and pneumatic system, which is necessary for the proper operation of the instrument.
- And above all, the musical aspect, for which they are built, that entails a large number of sound elements, pipes, and the rules that are used to harmonize them.
- The passing of time and their own history, which affects the works heavily. However, depending on the case, some aspects are more affected than others.
This richness of aspects means that an organ restoration has common characteristics with that of other artistic objects from our heritage. However, organs have also very specific characteristics for which general criteria for restoration cannot be used.
Due to all these reasons, we believe that each work is different and it must be treated accordingly. Nonetheless, we have listed some of the essential courses of action:
- First of all, we do not believe it is appropriate to do any restoration without having previously exhausted all possible source documents.
- We must always carry out a thorough study of the instrument which, together with historical documentation, will let us know which is the proper course of action. The intervention project must be revised when we dismantle the instrument.
- We do not consider that changing the location of an organ is advisable, unless there are very well founded reasons.
- All elements must be restored. Only those elements that cannot be recovered must be replaced, and they must remain in the church, inside the organ, if possible, as documentary and documented sample.
- All new elements must be identifiable as such.
- The reforms carried out in the instrument must be respected as part of its history so long as they achieve enough quality and they maintain the style. This matter is quite controversial, specially regarding the reforms that date from the second half of the 19th century. We must choose practical and aesthetic musical reasons for each particular case.
- The fact that an organ has multiple sides makes it necessary to work on it as a whole. For example, it is not advisable to restore an instrument without restoring the case as well.
- If all parts of an instrument require special care, the pipes will need more, for they are the most important element we have in order to recreate the colorful sounding atmosphere of the organ. The interventions on the pipes must be thoroughly studied and handled with care so that we can keep the information they contain.
- The pipes that need to be replaced will have to be built using similar techniques to those used on the original ones and following their guidelines.
- As for harmonization and tuning, we must adapt to the parameters that the instrument gives us. When they are not clear due to the alienation from the instrument’s original state, it is necessary to abide by its period and musical styles.
- Lastly, even though it is beyond our competence, we believe that even though investing in restorations is important, public entities should invest in cultural and musical promotion as well, since without it there is a risk that the instruments fall into desuse, in which case their restoration would be pointless.