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Organist Paul-Martin Maki seated at the console of the organ at Church of the Heavenly Rest
Image of Brahms with a pipe organ in back him The cover of the complete organ works of Brahms

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Organs of Spain Day 3 | Palau de la Musica Catalana | Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

Day three of the Pipe Dreams Tour was the group's second day in Barcelona. Our first stop of the day demonstrated the wide breath of the Grenzing workshop – the restoration of a 1907 E. F. Walcker in the Palau de la Musica Catalana.

This is an art nouveau building carried out on an extraordinary scale. In 1915 the Walcker company rebuilt the organ with a electro-pneumatic action as the tubular action provided to be too slow. The organ was restored with the building in 2003, but the original console and player mechanism were replaced with MIDI and electronic switching. The organ has four-manuals and 63 ranks. The organ's voicing is excellent, for us Americans think Skinner Organ from the early 1930s. Juan de la Rubia, born in 1982 was the winner of the First National Prize or Organ for young musicians in Spain. He specializes in improvisation, teaches at the High School of Music of Catalonia, plays organ concerts and is the organists at the Sagrada Familia. Juan de la Rubia, treated us to a improvisations showing the group almost every tone color possibility of the organ. In the next few days I will upload a video of this demonstration.

The group took at walk through the streets of Barcelona to the only surviving church in the pure Catalan Gothic style, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. Walking into the Basilica you immediately notice the high and wide triple nave which is supported by very thin pillars. The organ has a 18th century organ transplanted from another church and restored and enlarged by Grenzing in 2008. Here an American from Texas, Neil Cowley and organist born in Austin Texas, who decided to learn to speak Catalan and fell in love with the country and moved here. He played the transplanted pipe organ for us and allowed me to make some videos of him playing the organ, which are posted on this page.

After touring around the city we headed for the airport for a flight to Palma de Mallorca to see some very special pipe organs. Well of course our flight was late, but what do you expect from airlines.

All are having a great time.

Gnite from Palma de Mallorca.

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