The cathedral at Burgos north of Madrid is a huge, rambling church in the center of the old part of the city. A large open square surrounds one side of the cathedral and provides perspective from which to view the many spires and facades of this complicated building.
The cathedral is home to at least six organs, one of which dates back to 1670 and is located in the Chapel of San Enrique.
The 1607 organ was restored in 1999 by Grenzing Organ Builders of Barcelona. Originally pumped using a mechanical system of levers and ropes, the organ is now powered by a motor and small wind chest. The keyboard, uniquely constructed of bone and ebony, has a checkerboard effect. Juan de la Rubia, organist at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, skillfully demonstrated the stops on this ancient instrument for us.
It is a magnificent experience, hearing sounds heard from a century and a half after Columbus sailed to America. The restored organ speaks across the centuries.
The cathedral is filled with paintings, carvings, sculpture, woodwork, marble, ironwork, and many more forms of artwork. I liked the facial features of this cherub and the colors of the feathers painted on the wings. The eyes, cast aside coyly, look at us from another century, just like the pipes of the 1607 organ bring the sounds of a much earlier era alive.
Wanda Hayes Eichler