Orgelbau Kuhn

Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2018


Organ built by:
Carl Theodor Kuhn, 1905

Windchests: pouch chest
Key action: pneumatic
Stop action: pneumatic

Inauguration: 02.09.2018

Expert: Georges Athanasiadès
Voicing: Thierry Pécaut

situation 1905

© pictures Orgelbau Kuhn AG, Männedorf/Schweiz

portrait number 114660

Montreux III/P/44
Switzerland, Vaud
Eglise catholique du Sacré-Coeur

Organ Restoration: Conversion of Action

The restoration of the organ built in 1905 by Carl Theodor Kuhn of Männedorf is - viewed as a concept - an extraordinary project. With regard to both sound and optics we were confronted with an outstanding situation, because the case, the pipework and the windchests were all original and in good condition. These parts of the organ were carefully restored. In contrast, the action presented a considerably more challenging type of problem.

The organ was controlled purely pneumatically, even the echo organ had a pneumatic action (about 30m!). In 1905 this action was new, modern and fascinating. Nowadays - 113 years later - we must recognize that the pneumatic action may well be technically fascinating, but it has a crucial defect that cannot be rectified: As a result of the considerable and in part very varied distances between the console and the individual divisions, there occur delays in the speech of the pipes that make subtly diversified playing of the organ difficult or even impossible.

Restoration of the pneumatics between console and windchest would in principle have been possible. Because of the delay mentioned above, there was never any question of this variant for such a large organ. After extensive discussions with the clients we decided to solve the question of action as follows: We connected the console via a traditional mechanical action with a mechanical/pneumatic changeover relay located immediately next to the corresponding windchest. From this relay the control continues pneumatically through relatively short lead pipes to the original pneumatic windchests. This combination of mechanical action and shorter pneumatics guarantees authentic speech of the pipes, and, at the same time, precise playability. We fitted the echo organ with an electric action.

The combination of mechanical pneumatic for the key action and electrical pneumatic for the stop action allows a significant Kuhn organ built in 1905, for the most part maintained in its original condition, to retain its beautiful, original sound for coming generations, too.

Translation: RS 2018
 © Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd   Update 29.01.2018    info©