The Organ in Pedreguer Parish Church

Cúpula de l'esglèsia
Foto: Serafín Sivera

The new organ was conceived from the outset to integrate the functions of both a liturgical musical instrument and a new reredos. At first a location behind the high altar was favoured, but as the project developed the advantages of its actual location became increasingly evident. In its final form the organ occupies the traditional lateral location found in the churches in the region of Valencia .The shallow north transept has been taken advantage of to achieve the most direct sound and visibility possible from both the main axes of the church: he nave and the beautiful Chapel of the Sacrament in the south transept.

Tubs de l'orgue major
Foto: Serafín Sivera

The great height of the organ is due to the presence of the bass pipes of the 16' open diapason (more than 5 metres long) in the front and to the superposing of the great organ division over the positive. Counting the base level with the console, this achieves a composition with three main levels. Seated on the same level as the high altar it reaches almost from the floor to the vaults. In order to articulate this large volume and seek a sense of scale , the upper element of the front (corresponding to the great organ) is conceived like another organ within and above the rest of the instrument, with triangular plan pipe towers which project from above the flat lower level.

Perspectiva de l'orgue
Foto: Serafín Sivera

The architectural and decorative vocabulary employed in the design of this organ case could be described as classic- modern. Its form and composition derive their inspiration from the gothic- renaissance and baroque traditions, and reflect the interior divisions in their proportions and in the actual pipes displayed in the front. The great height and width of this front, relative to the modest size of the organ allowed a very shallow case, achieving an optimum visual and tonal effect.

Wood fins replace the traditional mouldings but form the same proportional divisions. In the same way the pipe shades covering the spaces over the tops of the pipes are made with fine gilded wood battens where traditionally there would have been tracery or carving. Thin lines of gilding and green polychrome serve to highlight the fins and the divisions between the uprights.

Torres de pedals en xamfrà
Foto: Serafín Sivera

To emphasize the Iberian identity of the instrument the horizontal reeds cantilever over the head of the organist, but furthermore we wanted to make a special point of the Valencian tradition, being so close to the homeland of the famous XVIIIth century organist Joan Bautista Cabanilles. For this reason we terminated the large lateral towers containing the 16' diapason (in the XVIIIth century 26 palms) in elongated chamfers. This device accentuates the slimness of the organ case ( and was employed for the same reason in historical examples).

Sol i lluna
Foto: Serafín Sivera

As final details the sun ant the moon contribute symbolic and decorative motives, the radiancy of the resurrection which rotates and demonstrates the presence of energy and the wind. The moon which symbolizes the Virgin Mary but which can also be interpreted as the night, overwhelmed by the light of the sun above.

Simon Platt
Architect of the Organ


The organ: technology and philosophy

Roughly speaking, the organ of the Church of Santa Cruz de Pedreguer is made up of the following components:

Foto: Serafín Sivera

24 registers or stops, corresponding to two manual keyboards and one pedal keyboard. The transmission of the notes to be played is based on a suspended mechanism, which connects the keys directly to the valves, a technique which was already widely used for great organs in past centuries because it allowed a sensitive and reliable touch of the keys. The operation of the registers or the various tone colours is likewise mechanical.

Tracció mecànica de l'orgue
Foto: Serafín Sivera

The organ is a wind instrument incorporating a motorized fan that generates a wind current, and two leather bellows that regulate the air flow and work like a pair of lungs.

The total number of pipes amounts to 1500. They are made of wood and tin, the form and dimensions of each of them having been precisely calculated to match the acoustics at the church in Pedreguer before they were made. The total weight of the instruments is 9 metric tons, and it took around 6000 hours to build the instrument. Behind these technical details there is the desire of a whole team of experts to create beauty and harmony in the shape of a work of art which in itself embodies its own philosophy.

Perspectiva de l'orgue
Foto: Serafín Sivera

The creation of an organ is something unique and unrepeatable, and as it is intended that the instrument should last for centuries to come, we have taken on an additional responsibility, still increased by the fact that the instrument is a direct donation made by the Foundation Server y Pérez, an institution that bought the instrument and gave it to the town of Pedreguer.

A work of art should always be something complete and balanced. An organ consists of numerous different parts which have to be very carefully crafted so that they interact and can be operated in harmony and unison. This applies to the design of the façade, the subtle and reliable movement of each of its component mechanical parts, the physics of air currents and the timbre of each organ pipe.

Perspectiva dels teclats
Foto: Serafín Sivera

As far as style is concerned, the organ of the church of Pedreguer incorporates central European as well as Iberian techniques, the musical result being that this symbiosis allows the organist to play a wide range of works, but above all, our instruments should be understood as a contemporary expression that relates to the people living on this transparent and sun-drenched Mediterranean coast.

For centuries organs used to be an indicator of culture and prestige. With this instrument, with its energy and its magnificent sound we would like to express the desire of a large group of people to recover this culture and prestige.

Gerhard Grenzing
Master Organ-builder