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Pipe Organs

Conservatorio Paganini
Builder: Dell'Orto e Lanzini
Year built: 2004
Conservatorio Paganini

The creation of a new pipe organ for a Music School concretely reflects the formative principles that characterize an artistic and scientific "Organ school", represented by the instrument itself. After many years of waiting, the construction of a pipe organ at the "N. Paganini" was the result of the project of a team of teachers who devoted their experience in collaboratively designing the new instrument. A "stylish" organ would have been too limiting for didactic purposes; also a "eccentric" design, despite being stimulating for improvisational creativity, would never have allowed an execution respectful of traditional music literature. The project took as a reference point the recent constructive experiences of contemporary middle-Europe, supported by the acquisition of in-depth knowledge of the ancient tradition, creating therefore "multicultural" instruments, able to offer a sound palette which allows acceptable balance to play five centuries of musical literature of various national schools.

Having defined such project, the most difficult problem faced was to outline the phonic setup within the small size of the living room of Villa Bombrini, where the Music School is placed. To this aim, the organ builders Carlo Dell'Orto and Massimo Lanzini, in tune with the needs expressed by the teachers, brought their fruitful contribution with the proposal to build a "back positive" (Rückpositiv), extending the balcony where the pipes of the old electric organ were placed.

The appearance of the instrument began to emerge therefore in its articulation of three manuals and pedal after the pattern of "Werkprinzip". On completion of the work, this design choice has proved very effective also from an artistic and teaching point of view, as it has resulted in a distinct sound modulation between the positive, characterized by extreme sensitivity and alertness, and the suspended mechanics of the Great Organ and third manual, which each have their own smooth and sensitive touch.

The limited available space has imposed the choice of a fully electric stops system, assisted by a computerized device for storing combinations and a sequencer. These accessories would have been needed even in the case of the installation of mechanical controls for the insertion of the registers, since they ensure a more comfortable and functional operation of the instrument itself. The wind power is produced by two separate circuits: the first for Grand'Organo, Positive and pedal, the second to the third manual, which is equipped with a "cassa espressiva". A special switch, located in the inner part of the instrument, allows to exclude the wind stabilizer that normally regulates the airflow to the Great Organ, the Positive and the pedal. This can be usefully exploited for the execution of the old music, to obtain a variable sound response depending on the amount of air required by the "musical writing" (number of notes and related sound scope).

The type of stops and pipes size have been designed in view of an optimal balance between the various sound bodies, while needing not to "bundle" the pipes, in order to preserve the acoustic response also in relation with the scarcity of available space. This has imposed the most relevant restrictions in the allocation of stops for the pedal, but when the instrument was completed, the pedals proved an excellent intonation and acoustic response perfectly able to relate to the sound density of the three manuals. Significant, in this regard, the contribution made by the reactivity of the sound box, built entirely in Swedish pine and paneled with fir from Cadore, known for its resonance properties.

The instrument has the following phonic setup:

I manualII manualIII manualPedalboardCouplings
Positivo TergaleGrand'OrganoOrgano Espressivo
Principale 8' (1-12 same as Bordone 8')Quintadena 16'Corno di camoscio 8'Principale stoppo 16'Unione G.O. - Pedale
Ottava 4'Principale 8'Flauto armonico 8'Ottava 8'Unione Espressivo - Pedale
Decimaquinta 2'Flauto a camino 8'Salicionale 8'Decimaquinta 4'Unione Espressivo - G.O.
Decimanona 1 e 1/3Ottava 4'Voce celeste 8'Fagotto 16'Unione grave Espressivo - G.O.
Vigesimaseconda 1'Flauto a cuspide 4'Flauto ottaviante 4'Unione Positivo - G.O.
Bordone di legno 8'Flauto in XII 2 e 2/3'Nazardo 2 e 2/3'
Flauto in ottava 4'Decimaquinta 2'Principale 2'
Cornetto s. III fileRipieno III fileOboe 8'
Violoncello 8'Sesquialtera II fileTromba armonica 8'
Voce umana 8'Tromba 8'Tremolo

The Great Organ is based on a Quintadena 16' stop entirely made of metal, which strenghtens the low notes in the plenum without negatively affecting the polyphony; until the weaving of 1' it is provided with "muzzles" to facilitate the emission of the harmonic fifth, characteristic of that stop.

The Principale 8' has medium-cutting measures, with generous progression to the soprano and appropriately sustaining the amalgams.

The Ottava 4' follows the progression of the Principale, but with a shorter cut, in order to improve precision and finesse of sound. Similarly, the Ottava 2', the Sesquialtera and Mistura follow this approach, with a more marked intonation for the latter.

The Flauto a camino 8' is cut rather wide, all-metal, plugged in the low notes and chimney-shaped from the tenor. The latter pipes widen in diameter towards the higher notes of the keyboard.

The Flauto a cuspide 4', cut from sheets of hammered lead, has a variable conic ratio: more closed in the bottom, opens up in contralto and becomes cylindrical in the soprano thus acquiring more impact.

The Tromba 8', with real length pipes since the first note and double length at the the last eighth, has circular section canals with a 4/5 opening; the nuts are traditional in low notes and "a la bague" in the soprano; a stratagem designed to achieve greater refinement of sound.

The Positivo tergale is based on a Principale 8', with a very narrow cut and characterized by a delicate and mordant pitch. The harmonics of Ripieno follow the concepts already expressed for the Grand'Organo: cuts even smaller intended to produce a slight but present sound.

The Voce Umana follows the cutting of the Ottava.

The wooden Bordone 8' is a register built first with pipes entirely in cedar, then get the front in pear towards the central zone of the keyboard, finishing in the end, in the soprano, with pipes entirely in pear. The mouths are quite high, to keep a sweet and mellow sound despite limited proportions.

The Flauto a camino 4' is a stop with a very tight cutting, with chimneys of minimum diameters: it produces a clear sound suitable for amalgama as for polyphonic executions.

The Cornetto a tre file offers the usual harmonic XII, XV, XVII; it is cut to classic Italian size, with cylindrical lead pipes in lead, and non-ritornella in any row.

The Violoncello 8' is a reed stop with a cylindrical pipes, cutting rather tight, grafted on tear-shaped canals; in the first notes of the reed beats a leather lining.

The Organo Recitativo is inserted into a cassa espressiva eight feet hight, built entirely in Swedish pine wood, the thickness of 42mm weighing over 700Kg. The grids are supported on ball bearings to allow smoothness and precision in movement.

The Salicionale 8', pipes in striped tip (52%) cut very wide, is thought of as the background stop of this manual: it has strength and depth of sound equals the Principale. It is equipped with mustache, harmonic brakes and window tuning.

The Voce celeste, by contrast, replicate the intonation tricks of the previous stop but with very narrow cut.

The Corno camoscio 8' is a stop with a limited cutting, with pointed pipes, veiled and mordant intonation, not unlike a Baroque Viola da gamba. It is the mildest of the stops, conveniently designed to blend with the other.

The Flauto armonico 8', derived from the romantic French, begins with plugged pipes, always in striped tin; in the tenore has a hourglass shape, from F30, has harmonics cylindrical pipes. The Flauto ottaviante 4' has a narrow cut, with delicate and peculiar intonation. It is harmonic from middle C.

Nazardo and Principale 2' (actually Ottavino) are cut according to the dictates of the romantic French tradition, with intonation not too pronounced.

The reeds (Tromba armonica and Oboe) are built in copy from Cavaillé-Coll stops.

The pedal is based on a Principale stoppo 16', generous intonation, flanked by the Ottava 8', with open pipes; both stops are wooden.

The Decimaquinta 4' acts as "Coralbass", with alloy pipes wide cut, all with mustaches.

The Trombone 16' is German style (Schnitger), with the first 17 pipes of wood and the remaining alloy.

Overall, the instrument consists of 1951 pipes.

The operating pressure is 55mm for Grand'organo and Positivo, 65mm for Pedal and 75mm for the Recitativo.

A special switch, on the back of the console, excludes the wind stabilizer on Grand'organo and Positivo, particularly useful in the performance of early music.

The tuning was carried out according to the Neidhard temperament (1729) "für eine grosse Stadt" that is slightly inequabile and allows the optimal execution of all kinds of literature. The transmission is fully mechanical for the keyboards, pedal and couplings. All electronic devices are produced by Laukhuff company.

With the acquisition of this new instrument the "Paganini" is now equipped with a instrument suitable to play a role of artistic and professional excellence that the reform of musical studies, in the course of implementation, assigns to music schools, in tune with programs that characterize the most prestigious European musical institutions.

Code and graphic by Lucio Marinelli