The fascination of organ building

 

 

Chur

III/P/41

Switzerland, Grisons
Kathedrale St. Mariae Himmelfahrt

© pictures Orgelbau Kuhn AG, Männedorf, Fotograf R. Führer, Felsberg

Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2007

New organ

Windchests
slider chests
Key action
mechanical
Stop action
mechanical + electrical
Inauguration
28.10.2007
Expert
Rudolf Bruhin
Case design
Gioni Signorell
Voicing
Rudolf Aebischer

«Allegro con brio for organ and west window»

The medieval cathedral of the diocese of Chur was undergoing a thorough restoration (2001-2007). On dismantling the organ it became apparent that the building of a completely new instrument was necessary as it had been difficult to maintain due to its interlocking construction and worn electrical systems. It was, as a result, in poor condition. On the other hand, many inner features of the instrument were of considerable value: 1132 of its pipes still remained from the original Goll organ of 1887. Wishing to preserve what was of historical importance, we endeavoured to maintain this valuable pipework and its tonal qualities as an integral part of the new organ, and the basis for its conception.

One of the greatest challenges on designing the Chur Cathedral organ was the confines of space and difficulties in the placement of the organ. In close collaboration with a team of architects from Rudolf Fontana & Partner, Domat/Ems, and Gioni Signorell, Chur, and supported by a specialist committee, we conceived an innovative and, architecturally speaking, bold solution: we constructed two organ towers which stand directly on the floor of the cathedral nave in order to use the space reaching up vertically to advantage. In contrast to the usual principle, here the gallery is supported by the organ itself. The large and splendid west window therefore remains in full view.

Our primary aim was to build a high class instrument whilst, from an architectural point of view, aesthetic and visionary considerations were of central importance. Due to the excellent cooperation, together we were able to achieve both: uniting the best from organ building and architecture. With this exceptional project all those involved tread new paths and set new accents.

Divisions allotted to the north case
below: Positiv (swellable), above: console, at the top: Hauptwerk

Divisions allotted to the south case
Below: Pedal, above: Swell

Technical information
Case made from «Elsbeerbaum», stained dark, complete height: 11.63 m, weight (without the gallery): 15.2 Tonnes.
In total 3244 organ pipes, of these 1132 from the previous instrument