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BASÍLICA DE LA SOLEDAD

soledad
soledad

 

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.