My collection of musical instruments is expanding. In Italy, I left a digital organ and an East-Germany piano, bought by my parents during my school years, not mentioning the mandolin inherited from my grandfather and other small instruments. As soon as I moved abroad, 12 years ago, I bought a digital keyboard to practice at home. I also purchased two recorders and a mandolin in these years. Two years ago, after buying another digital organ for my viennese flat, I gave away the keyboard, hoping that it will help a friend to learn playing. Then, I had to think of the house on the mountains. I was looking for an instrument with a keyboard and that could possibly play without requiring electricity. The piano is too loud, too expensive for transportation and very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Then, a young organist met in Vienna suggested to go for a reed organ (Harmonium in German). I was skeptical at the beginning, I had played one in Brussels and I remember some from the time in Italy, but I was not quite impressed and such instruments are out of production since decades. I gave it a try, I learned something about the instrument from him and the internet, and I finally convinced myself that a kind of accordion but as large as a piano could be what I was looking for. I began to search for a second hand instrument on the internet.
I checked the second hand market website for Austria for months, but I was not convinced by any of the announcements. Then, I contacted the person selling an Estey, an American reed organ, because I had the feeling that the instrument had been taken care of. I went to check it and it looked in a good condition. Quite big, with a lot of stops, but with a warm and gentle sound. The owner was a very kind educated lady, who was not playing the organ anymore and wished that it was sold to someone able to play it further. Done, I take it.
Happy for the decision, I had to find a way to carry the organ to the country side. Many (more or less) professional companies asked quite a lot of money, even more than the price of the instrument, and many friends' car was too small to fit the instrument. Finally, I found a Romanian guy, who offered to help for a reasonable price. It was complicated to fix a day compatible with my, his and the owner's agenda, but we manage it.
A couple of weeks after, I had time to check carefully the instrument. I am not able (yet) to perform a real restoration, but I wanted to check all the parts, repairing the wooden pieces that got damaged during the transportation and cleaning the interior of the instrument. Everything went fine. I could find the original label and thank to the young Italian organist I found out that the reed organ was manufactured in the USA in 1912. The instrument is 110 years old!!! It was then imported in Austria and survived two world wars (hopefully, it will not have to experience also a third one...). Unbelievable, despite the adventures, the intonation is still good and all the stops work.
|Mozart Krapfen for Carnival|
The next chapter of the story will be carrying the instrument in the house and starting playing with friends and other instruments. I'll keep the blog updated. Make music, not war!