Monday, May 19, 2014

Little Pipes, Big Heart

 Day 7: Pipedreams Tour of Switzerland

One could fall in love with a little pipe organ, the kind that is used for practice or accompanying choral ensembles. The Choir Organ at St. Francis Reformed Church in Geneva certainly fits in the little organ category.

When closed it looks like a giant kitchen cupboard. When open, you see a keyboard, a pedal board and the pipes. Built by Italian builder Formantelli in 1990, it has nine ranks with names like "tromboncini" and "voce humana."

The woodworking in the organ is practical looking, yet beautiful. Various colors of wood accent the keyboard. Stops on either side relate to the upper and lower partitions of the keyboard, depending on their location.

An advantage of a smaller organ lies within the limitation of the instrument. Because there are fewer stops, the organist develops an ear for the delicacy and sweetness of the sounds, often without relying on the big sound of the couplers or the mixtures found in larger organs.

Several of us commented that if we could take home any of the organs that we've been hearing, this would be the one. I'm in total agreement, but sadly enough, even this little instrument won't fit in my rollabout. Instead I will carry the memory of a little Italian organ in a church in Geneva, one with little pipes and a big heart. 

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