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The Rieger Organ

Rieger Organ, PUC Church

The organ was crafted by the forty employees of the Rieger Orgelbau in the town of Schwarzach, Austria. While the intent was not to be "eclectic," the instrument has proved to be sympathetic to an unexpectedly wide variety of literature. Although the instrument is firmly rooted in historic traditions, it is not a copy of a single ideal. While most Rieger instruments have been rather Germanic in concept, there was an eagerness on the part of the builders to take a more French approach. Thus we have included several open flutes, Cornet pitches on all manual divisions, a full-bodied Cromorne, trompettes on three manuals, reed stops designed, built and voiced after French models by Don Bedos, Cliquot and Cavaille-Coll, a very telling Recit, an absence of artificially excessive transient sounds, and well-developed 8 foot stops. The "Fonds 8" expected by 19th and 20th century French composers can be reasonably approximated. It rises 50 feet above the front stage of the sanctuary, and its 4,000 pipes range in size from two inches to 20 feet.

The frame is constructed of African mahogany to match the interior of the church. This is the largest organ the Rieger Orgelbau company had constructed at the time of installation. (1980-1981) The location, basic design, and final authority for signing the contract were voted in June, 1978. The organ was shipped in crates from the factory in Austria, arriving in March, 1981. The four-man crew reassembled the organ here in the church over a six-week period ending in early May. The crew of two voicers arrived in June and completed the tonal work in early August. Many materials were used in the construction: African mahogany for the case; steel I beams for internal structure; ivory and ebony for keys; Austrian spruce for trackers; tin and lead in varying proportions for metal pipes; and mahogany for wooden pipes. The electronic combination system is by Sold State Logic, Oxford, England.

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