On Organs, Making Wine, And Selling One’s Soul to the Devil

One of the things the liner notes to all these Bach organ works do is spend a lot of time describing the organs on which the various toccatas and fugues are played.

The notes to the 12-CD set of Bach organ works played by Lionel Rogg use several pages to describe the organ used, the Silbermann organ at Arlesheim. They laud its excellent pedigree as “the only example in Switzerland of the marvelous workmanship of the Silbermann family.” They lament its transformation in the late 19th century to a different sort of organ “according to the taste of the period by a certain Weigle.” And they are joyous about the efforts beginning in 1959 to “restore the original beauty of the instrument. Particular attention was paid to the pipes which were x-rayed in order to reconstitute Silbermann’s voicing.” Continue reading