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The Organ

The Organ: Recent History

The Great Choir Organs of the Cathedral of Seville, placed under the toral arches that flank the choir stalls, have constituted since the beginning of the 20th century the largest organ in the Cathedral of Seville, a single instrument; sounding on both “acoustics boxes” (Antigua side and San Francisco side), consists of about a hundred of musical sets. he system is divided into four manual keyboards and a footswitch, and is operated from a single console.The electric connection between the two pieces of furniture, applied for the first time in Spain (1901) by the Basque organ builder Aquilino Amezua, builder of this instrument. This organ has been preceded by six other instruments in the 500 years of existence of our Cathedral; those built by Fray Juan (1479), D. Francisco Ortiguez (1733) and D. Valentín Verdalonga (1831) on the Gospel side; and those of Maese Jors (1579), D. Diego de Orío (1725) and D. Jordi Bosch (1779) on the Epistle side. When the Hon. The Cabildo entrusts me with the Great Cathedral Organ, the instrument has been in existence for 60 years and has already had five titular organists: Buenaventura Íñiguez (1865-1902), Bernardino Salas (1903-1912), Juan Bautista Elustiza (1912-1919), Norberto Almandoz (1919-1939) and Ángel Urcelay (1939-1961). I received it in a state of serious deterioration. A simple coil, melted 10 years ago, prevented the electrical connection between the two boxes, so that only the organ on the San Francisco side sounded. And the electrical system of connection between keys and pipes, antiquated and located in a wooden cabinet with serious risk of fire, required an absolute modernization, which would be carried out in 1973 by the Spanish Organ Factory of Mr. Ramón González Amezua, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Florentino Pérez Embid, at that time General Director of Fine Arts.

Twenty-three years later, in 1996, with the sponsorship of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, it was the German organ builder Gerhard Grenzing who undertook a major renovation, applying the most modern technologies to the instrument and laying the foundations for an ambitious project.We are now covering the 3rd phase of this project, which consists of returning to the multi-secular tradition of two large independent organs: one baroque (Antigua side) with its own console and mechanical system, and the other romantic-symphonic, which can, however, be operated jointly from the current electric console, which is already prepared for this purpose.

This is undoubtedly an ambitious undertaking, which will constitute one of the most important instrumental complexes in Europe. But the cathedral organ, converted by its own merits, by its size and the quality of its services, into an omnipresent and irreplaceable instrument in any ceremony or event of certain importance, deserves to be at the height that corresponds to the great and impartial Cathedral of Seville. I would love to see it finished. But now it is Sevilla who has the floor. At the moment we are covering phases.

Pipe organ

The organ, that imposing and majestic instrument, which we find in so many Christian temples; and which, like the human body has a brain (the console with its keyboards and handles), which governs and governs all its elements; a nervous system, through which the brain sends its orders to the rest of the organism; lungs (the air reservoirs, fed today by a motor); and a respiratory system, which, through arteries and veins (the ducts), carries the air from the lungs to the last of its cells (the sound tubes); it only needs a breath of the soul of an organist to receive life; and it can, tuning with it, speak, sing, cry, laugh, console, encourage ….. and pray.

Hence, the Second Vatican Council, in its “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy”, asks that “the pipe organ should be held in high esteem…the sound of which can bring a remarkable splendor to ecclesiastical ceremonies and powerfully lift souls to God and to heavenly realities” (no. 120).