Sat. Dec 7th, 2019

A romantic organ next to the master Gaudí

The light and music they are elements that Antoni Gaudí considered important while drawing the plans of the Sacred Family. Stained-glass windows and instruments manifest themselves in different corners of the temple, even in the crypt. The architect designed this underground space with openings that let in clarity and with a chapel destined to house an organ. An instrument of the year 1926 built in Collbató occupied the space but was destroyed during the Civil War and, since then, the Crypt has not once again had a pipe organ, a fact that dazzles the songs and liturgy of this emblematic site.

But now Gaudí's wish will come true with the transfer to the Crypt of the Basilica of the only organ of the prestigious Cavaillé-Coll that exists in Catalonia, thanks to a donation from the Congregation of Religious of Sagrat Cor de Jesús. It is a work of the year 1896 with a beautiful romantic loudness which is expected to reach the crypt in autumn 2020. The restoration of the instrument will cost 150,000 euros. The parish of the Sagrada Família intends to finance it with a patronage campaign which invites citizens to contribute to the project with the motto "Leave your mark in the heart of the Sagrada Família". Once the work is finished, the romantic organ will rest next to the master Gaudí, buried in the crypt.

Organ history

Cavaillé-Coll built the romantic instrument in 1896 in France and then moved to the chapel of a school in Barcelona

"The dream of Gaudí can be fulfilled with the assignment of an instrument that seems to be built to be integrated into the chapel of the Crypt," says the titular architect of the Sagrada Família, Jordi Faulí. The history of the nineteenth-century organ began in France. "In 1890 the Congregation commissioned the instrument from the builder Cavaillé-Coll to place it in the chapel of the Sagrat Cor Diputació school," says Margarida Bofarull, representative of the Congregation and diocesan delegate of Faith and Culture. During the Civil War, it was one of the few pieces that remained standing. Throughout the twentieth century, the teachers and students of the center gave life to the instrument but, with the passage of time, "it has been cornered and covered with dust", laments Bofarull. "So we decided to promote a donation to the Crypt of the Sagrada Família," he says.

Instrument restoration

The installation of a new engine or the tubes that replace those that were lost during the war are the main tasks

Restoration work to return the instrument to its original state has been launched in the Blancafort Orgueners workshop in Montserrat. The installation of a new engine, the recovery of the white color of the yellowish keyboard or the incorporation of new tubes to replace those that disappeared during the Civil War are some of the main tasks. “We want to recover the musical spirit of the instrument. His own voice ”, highlights Albert Blancafort, restorer of the romantic piece. Unlike electronic sound, "the tube organ is able to move the human soul through the vibration of the air," remarks Blancafort.

The functions of the piece

The romantic instrument will be used during liturgical events, concerts or academic activities

The organist of the Sagrada Família, Juan de la Rubia, also refers to the purity of natural sound. "Until now the Crypt had an electronic organ, but the music it produces has no point of comparison with the dimension of the sound of the air rubbing the tube," he says. Once the instrument arrives, it will be incorporated into liturgical celebrations, concerts or academic activities. The organist explains that during the twentieth century the culture of the organ in Catalonia experienced a golden stage. "Now it seems that interest is growing to restore these instruments and offer them a life beyond religious ceremonies, opening them to cultural events." The rector of the basilica, Josep M. Turull, argues that restoring the only Cavaillé-Coll that exists in Catalonia "is another step towards the consolidation of Barcelona as the organ capital of southern Europe."

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