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BASÍLICA DE LA SOLEDAD

soledad
soledad

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Date of construction of the church: 1682, dedicated in 1690, damaged in the earthquake of 1696
Date of construction of the organ: case 1686, interior components eighteenth century
Builder: unknown
Inscriptions: the date “1686” painted on a medallion on the left side of the case; the names “Jesus” “María” and “Joseph” on the three bungboards; a cross inscribed on the first pallet and various pipes; "26 de julio de 1810 Rafael Vasquez" in a medallion on the right side of the case

RECENT INTERVENTION

Restoration: 1997-2000, Pieter Visser, finished by his assistant Ignacio Zapata (organized by la Academia Mexicana de Música Antigua para Órgano (AMMAO) directed by Gustavo Delgado and Ofelia Gómez)
Funding: Fomento Cultural Banamex

DISPOSITION OF THE ORGAN

Left hand (21 keys)

1. Flautado de 13 (palms) (8´)
2. Bajoncillo (4')
3. Flautado bardón (8´)
4. Octava (4´)
5. Docena (2 2/3´)
6. Tapadillo (4´)
7. Veintidosena (1´)
8. Quincena (2´)
9. Veintiseisena (2/3´)
10. Veinticuatro (4/5´)
11. Trompeta real (8´)*
12. Lleno III

*Canceled registers, but the space exists to reinstall them

Right hand (24 keys)

1. Flautado de 13 (palms) (8´)
2. Clarin (8')
3. Flautado bardón (8´) 
4. Octava (4´)
5. Flauta (5 1/3´)
6. Quinta (5 1/3´)
7. Tapadillo (4´)
8. Octava II (4´)
9. Quincena (2´)
10. Docena (2 2/3´)
11. Décima (3 1/5´)
12. Octava III (4´)
13. Lleno III
14. Quincena II (2´)
15. Trompeta real (8´)*

SUMMARY OF THE DISPOSITION

Flautados: LH- 8´, 4´, 2 2/3´, 2´, 1´, 4/5´, 2/3´
Flutes: LH- 8´, 4´
Reeds: LH- 4´ (exterior), 8´ (interior, prepared)
Mixtures: LH- lleno III
RH- 8´, 5 1/3´, 5 1/3´, 4´, 4´, 4´, 3 1/5´, 2 2/3´, 2´, 2´
RH- 8´, 4´
RH- 8´ (exterior), 8´ (interior, prepared)
RH- lleno III


ORGAN DESCRIPTION

Type: eight foot organ
Location in the church: on the right north (Epistle) side of the choir loft, facing the main altar diagonally; originally in a left side balcony, moved up in 1908
Measurements of the case: 4.5 m width x 5.7 m height x 1.6 m depth
Case finish: polychromed
Pipe finish: silver paint applied (nineteenth century?) which covered the original polychrome; in 1996 façade pipes painted over with a protective layer of white paint
Distribution of the façade pipes: Correspond to LH and RH, divided into five towers, each with the tallest pipe in the center
Distribution of the interior pipes: divided in five groups, three central groups with the tallest pipe in the middle, two lateral groups arrnaged chromatically
Keyboard: made of Mexican white pine in 1998
Compass: 45 notes C- c’’’ with a short octave
Key action: suspended with a rollerboard (eighteenth c.)
Stop action: stop knobs on the front of the case, pushed in rather than pulled out to engage;
stops divided middle c/c#
Labels: made in 1998
Windchest: rebuilt in 1998
Measurements of the windchest: 2.30 m length x 0.97 m width x 0.11 m height
Vertical channelboards: three- LH flautado and octava, RH clarín
Offset chests: none
Bellows: three antique (eighteenth c.?) cuneiform bellows restored in 1998; may be hand pumped; new blower
Location of the bellows: sideways to the right and behind the organ
Wind pressure: 75 mm, original lead weights
Pitch and temperament: a = 415 Hz, meantone?
State of conservation: very good, but dirty because of its downtown location

 

THE HISTORIC ORGAN OF THE BASILICA DE LA SOLEDAD 


The construction of the Basílica de la Soledad was initiated in 1582, but the building we see today was not erected until 1682, a century later. The dedication of the church took place in 1690, and the case of this magnificent organ, richly carved and decorated with polychrome, bears an inscription in a medallion on the left side of the case--1686. The round, fluted towers remind one of organs built in Puebla at the end of the seventeenth century, but the profile of the organ with its lateral “hips” is characteristically Oaxacan. The mechanical and phonic components are later and seem to be the result of a reconstruction of the interior of the organ sometime during the eighteenth century. 
The organ was originally located in a side balcony to the left, south side of the main altar. It was later moved up to the choir gallery around 1900 where it is presently located with its three large bellows. As far as the case dimensions and decoration, it resembles the organ of Yanhuitlán, which may have been built around the same time. The white color of the façade pipes is not original, but rather a layer of protective paint which will be removed when the pipes are properly conserved.  

The organ was restored in 1997-2000 thanks to the support Fomento Cultural Banamex. The project director was the Dutch organbuilder Pieter Visser, though the restoration was finished by his assistant, Ignacio Zapata. Gustavo Delgado and Ofelia Gómez, directors of the Academia Mexicana de Müsica para Órgano Antiguo (AMMAO) served as project advisors. The wide open nave of the Basílica de la Soledad with its marvelous acoustics allows its listeners to be completely engulfed by the sound of this magnificent organ.