The organ-building workshop of Gerhard Grenzing

By Tess Knighton

A visit to the organ-building workshop of Gerhard Grenzing in a small industrial estate outside El Papiol between the city of Barcelona and Montserrat proved a revelation. The quest was to explore the possibility of a Spanish Baroque organ –one of Grenzing’s specialities– being built for a London church, a project initiated by the British keyboard-player Timothy Roberts who has himself specialized in early Spanish keyboard music. The tour of the workshop by the amiable Grenzing, wearing a Catalan beret, was fascinating and it’s clear that there’s a razor-sharp mind and a passionate dedication to the building and restoration of organ behind the business. Grenzing came to Barcelona many years ago, having fallen in love with the Spanish baroque organs he encountered in Mallorca… and with a Catalan lady. He thus follows in a tradition established in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of organ-builders from Germanic lands traversing the Pyrenees to undertake commissions to build organs in Catalan churches. A number of these German organeros settled in Catalonia and founded dynasties of organ-builders; Grenzing’s son and daughter are already involved in the business and will carry on this tradition in the twenty-first century. Among the various organs in different states of repair and construction in the Grenzing workshop is this charming reconstruction of a realejo or portative organ. For more information: http://www.grenzing.com

Organ

If you are interested in the Spanish Baroque organ project for London, contact Tim Roberts at: timr@talk21.com

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