Welcome to The LDS Organist Blog

The purpose of this blog is to help pianists learn to become true organists. Many individuals believe that if you play the piano you can play the organ, but the instruments differ greatly. While this blog is specifically geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, much of the information shared can be utilized by all. I hope that the information I share here will help you become an effective organist in your ward, stake, or other congregation.

Feel free to browse and search this blog. It was started in January 2010 and while new posts aren't added very often, this blog contains a wealth of information and is a wonderful resource for all organists. If you're a new reader, you can find the first lesson here: Before We Begin: Acquiring the Essentials. Also, please "like" the corresponding facebook page, which is updated more often. A link is provided on the right sidebar, or you can click here.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Organ Tour: The oldest playable organ in the world

Valais castle

According to High End Travel Switzerland, Valère was a vast fortress - mentioned for the first time in 1049 - with a church and several houses within the wall rings. The church "Notre-Dame-de-Valère" dates back to the same period.

The church is 395 feet above the town of Valère on a steep hill.

Its "swallows nest organ" from the 14th-century is the oldest playable organ in the world.

According to Paul Hoffman, from the New York Times, "The organ, built in 1390 and most recently restored in 1954, is mounted on a wooden pulpit jutting out like a ship's bow from the rear wall of the Romanesque-Gothic church, once the Cathedral of Sion and one of Switzerland's most haunting edifices."

Valere Organ

The organ has 10 ranks and 8 registers:

Bass II

Principal 8
Octaf 4
Copl 4
Quint major 2 2/3
Superoctaf 2
Quint minor 1 1/3
Mixtur II

Valere organ

Intrigued? I think this organ is fascinating!

Here are two clips of the organ being played:

A New York Times article on the organ can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1983/07/03/travel/what-s-doing-in-switzerland-s-valais.html

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