This is the story of a little-known organ by a leading builder now restored to working condition and its marvellous voice after more than twenty years of derelict state of repair. The sound of the Lewis organ represents a new important treasure in the province of Bergamo – the land of the Serassi firm, the most popular organ-building family in Italy during nineteenth century.
Built in 1911 by T.C. Lewis & Co. for the Vineyard Congregational Church in Richmond – London –, the organ was substantially modified throughout its lifetime, especially in the second half of the 20th century. In 2015 it was donated by Amigoni family and moved to the PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) Seminary Church in Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, the place of birth of the Catholic Pope St. John XXIII. The works included the provision of electric action, a new case and building frame and the addiction of few stops to increase the versatility, without ever distorting the typical mid-victorian aesthetic of the instrument. The prominent French organist Jean Guillou performed the opening recital.
The instrument has a distinct personality and possesses a wide palette of beautiful delicate stops, really exquisite and warm in tone, flutes with great cantability and reeds of arresting quality. But ultimately it is the effect of full organ that evokes the greatest admiration.
The annual organ festival with renowned organists and talents with a bright future is certainly the most evocative occasion to admire the beauty of the sound and the color intensity of the Lewis Organ. Even in the proposal of high-quality programmes and specific repertoires with a focus on British organ music - every concert ensures not only a pleasant cultural curiosity, but also a spiritual and emotional experience for the listener.
Please enjoy and support the organ.
| Fabio Amigoni, Artistic Director |