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Organs of Spain Day 8 | The Oldest Organ in Spain in Lerma

Day 8, we left Burgos early Tuesday May 21 for a short drive to Lerma Spain to hear two famous pipe organs then on to Madrid. The first church we visited was the Collegiate Church of San Pedro in Lerma, consecrated in 1617. Its epistle organ (south side of church) is the oldest pipe organ in Spain.

Both organs where built by Diego de Quijano in a renaissance style. The Epistle organ lost its organ pipes but its mechanism was left entirely intact. The Gospel Organ (north side of the church) underwent considerable alterations at the end of the 18th century. It became a typical Castilian Baroque pipe organ, though it kept its original materials.

In an 18th century rebuild, the gospel organ’s stops were divided at middle c. An echo chest (early form of a “swell box”) was added to the pipe organ. Horizontal reeds were added to the façade. Pipes from the epistle organ were likely melted down and recast as new pipes for the Gospel Organ. The Spanish organbuilder Joaquín Lois Cabello restored the gospel organ in 2009 and reconstructed the epistle organ in 1995. Organist, Juan de la Rubia demonstrated both organs for us by improvising in the style of the time of the organs. Our tour leader Michael Barone and Juan de la Rubia played Antonio Soler’s Fanfare. Please keep in mind I recorded this with my iPhone and posted it to our account immediately from Lerma!

The group then left the church and I requested that Juan de la Rubia record a video improvisingfrom the ordinary of the Mass in the style when the organ was built. The subject for the improvisation in the embedded video is the Gloria from the Cunctipotens Genitor Deus Mass (All Powerful Creator God) found on page 25 of the Liber Usualis. Gloria in excelsis Deo would have been sung but it is played on a flute here. Juan de la Rubia improvises on et in terra pax hominibus bonae volutatis, next the choir would have sung Laudamus te and so on in alternation. Seven verses can be heard in the video.

After we finished recording the video we met the group in a small local restaurant. Next stop Madrid. This would be our final hotel for the next four nights. I decided to rest while the group went to The Queen Sofia College of Music to hear a new Grenzing organ built in 2008. I missed hearing this organ but was pretty exhausted.


Improvisation on the Gloria from Cunctipotens Genitor Deus. from Joe Vitacco on Vimeo.

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