Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2013
Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2013
This positive organ, built in 1699, was unplayable before its restoration. According to sources*1 the organ was previously in the church in Brederis (there is a photo of the organ at this location). It is not known who built the organ. There are many parallels in construction indicating that the same organ builder built the positive organ (1687) which is in the Liechtenstein National Museum, and which we restored in 2002.
In the sixties of the last century, the organ underwent significant changes. The lower case was removed and the two wedge bellows with several folds were placed on the roof of the organ. The organ was mounted on a new table, to which an electric blower was fitted to supply wind. The case also received a new frame (marbled blue-grey). Despite these changes, the organ still possessed an astonishing amount of the original substance. This relates to the pipework, windchest, key action, stop action and upper part of the case as well as the two bellows. The condition that these components were in was - viewed objectively - extremely bad, due to wear and tear, woodworm infestation and inadequate repairs. A large number of metal pipes were placed in completely the wrong position compared to their old marking, and many pipes had been recut.
It may be considered happy chance that the windtrunk connected to the bellows has been preserved, thus allowing the exact position of the bellows in the lower case to be determined. Similarly, traces left on the case showed clear evidence of the original pumping pedal system. Of course, the photograph of the organ in its state of construction prior to 1960 also provided an excellent basis for reconstruction of the lower case. All the old pipes were placed in accordance with their old marking.
The repairs demanded varying degrees of effort. Above all the bellows, severely infested by woodworm, releathered and repapered several times, required an enormous amount of restoration work. The same is true of the pipework, whereby only individual, non-original pipes were renewed. By contrast, when the sound and stop action were tackled it was possible in the main to restrict work to checks and adjustments.
As regards the mechanical aspects, the organ was successfully restored and reconstructed to its proven original condition, thanks to the substance that had been preserved, the sources and the clear findings made on the instrument. In relation to the pipe material this basically also applies to the sound, whereby it is impossible to fully understand all changes carried out during its 300 plus years of existence. Cut-ups and treatment of languids therefore remained unchanged, apart from a very few individual cases. The same is true of the pitch of the organ (a = 427.0 Hz at 20 °). The temperament was carried out as per modified Kirnberger III.
*1 Topography of Austrian Art, vol. XXXII: art monuments of the political department of Feldkirch, edited by Dagobert Frey; Vienna 1958)
Translation: RS 2013