Switzerland, Vaud
Eglise réf. St-François

© pictures Orgelbau Kuhn AG, Männedorf

Orgelbau Th. Kuhn AG, 1995

New organ

slider chests
Key action
Stop action
Rudolf Bruhin
Case design
Georg Weismann
Paul Cartier, Kurt Baumann

Architecture of the organ installation

The organ and the gallery on which it stands were modified a number of times since their original construction in 1776. In particular, when the organ was newly constructed by E.F. Walcker (1866/1870), further cases were added on each side, but the Rückpositiv was taken out of action and its interior removed. During an extension of the gallery, the non-functional Rückpositiv facade, which was luckily still intact, was placed in the middle of the gallery.

During the most recent restoration of the church it was decided, in consultation with the Authority for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments, that the gallery balustrade should be re-aligned as it was originally, and that the Rückpositiv be brought back into use. However, the side extensions to the case, in accordance with the organ's «enlarged state» were to remain. The organ, therefore, intentionally took on a form in which, up till then, it had never existed.

Tonal design

A similar pattern is to be found in the incorporation of the existing pipes into the newly renovated instrument. The useable pipes from all four stages in the organ's construction and modification history were, as far as possible, to be re-used in a new overall tonal design. The original front pipes in both the Hauptwerk and Rückpositiv were, of course, to retain their intended function, but all other ranks could be assigned freely.

A universal organ, which could do justice to old classic organ music as well as the Romantic-symphonic repertoire as represented by the French style, was requested. The Rückpositiv, based on the 4 ' range, was, of course, by its very nature to remain a Baroque element. The Hauptwerk was split into two parts, a «Grand Orgue» (II) and a «Grand Choeur» (V). Manual II entirely fills Scherrer's former Hauptwerk case and Manual V stands directly behind it. Set further back is the large Schwellwerk (IV), whilst the Solo (III) is placed left and right of the console in the sub-structure. The Pedal Organ stands at the sides, behind the Walcker façade. In spite of the Baroque appearance of the façade, this organ is, in fact, a large symphonic instrument.

Technical remarks

All windchests are new and constructed as mechanical slider chests. The direct action to the 5 manuals and to the pedals functions fully mechanically. For the 10 manual couplers (8 normal couplers and 2 octave couplers) a suitable playing aid was, nevertheless, indispensable, otherwise the coupled full plenum would barely be playable. We employed a type of Barker machine, further developed and perfected by our firm, which guarantees synchronised motion of key and windchest pallets.