An English organ in north-east Hungary

10-03-2006

The organ of the St. Alkmund Church in Shrewsbury, England has been purchased by a Hungarian student of the Music Academy of Budapest. The organ was taken apart and sent to Hungary by ship and road transport. It is currently resting in the garage of the student, Balázs Szabó, who plans to set it up in his native city of Miskolc in north-eastern Hungary.

"I am very interested in organ music, European organ music, and in my native town Miskolc there are not that many instruments and we don't have any good ones to play French, German, or English organ music on. I had a big collection of old keyboard instruments and put the idea of turning it into a museum to the City Council. I also had a project to turn an instrument into a big concert organ. So, I had to purchase parts in England and in Germany to make a big colourful organ."

And how did you find this particular one?

"This one was advertised on the internet. There was a lot of interest from Germany, Spain and other countries but I won the bidding war."

Is this a special organ?

"Yes it is a very special organ. It's a typical English organ. We don't know anything about English organs here in Hungary. In England, the sound is very important. Intonation comes first for organ builders. After the quality of the sound, they concentrate on the technical side of the organ. This one is with a very fine sound quality from the late 19th century."

In what stage is it now? I understand it has been taken apart in Shrewsbury, in the west Midlands in England and it is being transported to Hungary.

"It is now in a storage room in my garage. We are now trying to find a good place for it. I am in discussion with the City Council to have the organ in a concert hall."

You mentioned a museum...how far have you got with the realisation of this plan?

"We're at the same stage. We are looking for a suitable place. All the instruments are in my house and inside a local church right now. There are many of them and also many possibilities but there is no place for them yet."

What additional work has to be done and what parts have to be added so that you can play and install the organ in Miskolc?

"I think the 22 stops that this organ had were not enough to play European organ music because the pedal lacked life. There was a lack of colour and it was impossible to make polyphonic music on it. So we added many stops to the pedal (special eight foot stops or four foot flutes) in order to be able to play music like Bach, for example."

10-03-2006