Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt 2019 net profit jumps 44%    Asian markets fell as new coronavirus cases jump outside China    Earthquake hits Turkey-Iran border kills nine, injures more than 100    Tennis: Djokovic surprised by Federer knee surgery news    Germany is top country sending tourists to Egypt    'Racism has won,' says Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger    Messi restores peace at Barcelona; Madrid in slump before City    Fear of coronavirus pandemic grows but China eases curbs as new infections fall    Iran says 4 more died of new virus; total death toll at 12    Kuwait, Bahrain report coronavirus in people who visited Iran    Is Nefertiti's long-looked-for mysterious mummy buried next to Tutankhamun's?    Egyptian Irrigation Minister discusses accomplishments of country's mission in Uganda    Social Solidarity Ministry to restructure its activities in cooperation with private sector: El–Kabbaj    Alexbank, EBRD sign $100m agreement    Al Ahly, Zamalek play 2nd Cairo Derby in less than 96 hours    Naguib Sawiris in talks to acquire 51% stake in Shalateen state-owned mining firm    Government's amendment to oil agreements, price review prompt industry to rise again: Shell    Libya National Army say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting    Programme: Japanese Film Week kicks off at Cairo Opera House    Egyptian MP takes over presidency of Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean    Amr Fahmy former CAF general-secretary, dies battling cancer    Lebanese hospital uses healing power of music to fight cancer    Iran raises death toll from coronavirus to 8, infections to 43    Iran's state TV: Hardliners win all seats for Tehran in vote    Italy coronavirus cases increase to more than 100    Brexit team seeks to evade Irish Sea checks on goods    Mohamed Ramadan: Former aviation minister says pilot deserves ban    Mahraganat: controversy over barring Egyptian street popular music    Saudi-led coalition says foiled Red Sea attack by Yemen's Houthis    70th Berlinale kicks off with My Salinger Year starring Sigourney Weaver    COVID-19 toll reaches 2,360 deaths, 77,700 infections so far    South Sudan president reappoints rebel leader Machar in unity government    Madbouly joins high-level African judiciary meeting on terrorism    Egypt's Sisi stresses commitment to success of Ethiopian dam negotiations    Al-Sisi discusses enhancing commercial cooperation with Chile    Mashrabia Gallery participates in 1-54 African Contemporary Art Fair Marrakech 2020 ( 22-23 February)    Cairo court acquits Mubarak's sons of stock market manipulation    Egypt seeks justice, development for Africa: PM    Egypt court acquits Alaa and Gamal Mubarak of the 'stock market manipulation' case    Soma Bay to host Golf Gourmet Week with 150 international golfers    Egypt court reverses order to release activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah from detention    Pompeo says Ethiopia-Egypt massive dam dispute could take months    Al Ahly play Zamalek for Egypt Super Cup in Abu Dhabi    Little Women on its way to become a classic    UEFA Champions League: defending champions Liverpool clash with Atletico Madrid    Chinese Grand Prix likely to be called off amid coronavirus concerns    Egypt's Golden Age actress, Nadia Lutfi, dies at 83    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Made in Germany, heard in Spain: The Leon cathedral organ connection
Published in Daily News Egypt on 19 - 04 - 2019

This Easter, the Leon cathedral will awe many mass-goers with its powerful organ. While DW's Cristina Burack knows the cathedral well, discovering the organ was made by Klais Orgelbau in Bonn sparked a hunt for meaning.Some 1,600 km (994 miles) separate the city of Bonn in western Germany's Rhine valley from the Spanish city of Leon on the high Castilian plateau. But they're connected by some 4,130 hollow tubes of wood and tin. And every day during the Easter weekend those tubes will be filling Leon's Gothic cathedral with sound, bouncing off its limestone vaults as mass-goers from around the world take in the sanctuary's luminous stained-glass windows.
Though I now live in Bonn, I know Leon well: My relatives live there, and the city feels like a second home. I've visited the cathedral many times, even sung in it for a friend's wedding. But it was only recently that I found out its organ was built by Klais Orgelbau, a world-class organ maker in Bonn just blocks away from where I live!
This Bonn-built, Leon-located organ seemed to be an invisible connection, rooting two cities in one another that for me feel like two totally discreet worlds. Anything that bridges them takes on oversized significance. Still, I know that a company's product — instrument or otherwise — provided for a customer in a different country is ultimately just a business transaction. Or is it? I decided to find out.
Only the best will do
My first stop: the Leon cathedral to speak with officials about how the Klais organ came to be. It's a relatively new instrument, going on six years old. Installed and unveiled in 2013, it replaced an older one that was no longer fit for the city's annual International Organ Festival, which has been held in the cathedral for 35 years, drawing the world's top organists.
The prior organ "was not considered sufficient enough for the festival, so we needed a new one," cathedral administrator and priest Mario Gonzalez tells me in his office. The organ gets a lot of use: In addition to the festival, it's used for three masses every Sunday between June and October and for special liturgical days, such as during Holy Week, as well as for some 70 or 80 weddings per year, Gonzalez says.
For the cathedral, only the best would do. "It was important that the organ was made by a world-class organ maker that has organs in many important places," Gonzalez says. But there are lots of organ makers the world over, and while Germany is known for its organ craftmanship, why did the cathedral choose the Bonn-based Klais?
The French connection
Enter Jean Guillou: Born in 1930, the recently deceased French organist and composer revolutionized the organ world by developing new construction and sound ideas. "I consider him to be one of the greatest organ visionaries of our time," Philipp Klais tells me.
I'm at the workshop of Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, named for Philipp's great-grandfather. It turns out the Leon-Bonn connection runs via France, since Guillou was crucial in conceiving the new organ. Klais explains how a Leon music foundation pushing for the new instrument got Guillou on board; Gonzalez had told me previously he believes Guillou pushed for Klais to build the instrument.
Klais, a fourth-generation organ-builder, describes what a dream it was to work with the warm-hearted Guillou on the Leon cathedral. In fact, he repeatedly refers the whole project as a "huge dream" — and one that took decades to realize. "My first time in Leon was with my father in 1987 or 88," Klais says. He describes how first his father, then he kept up yearly contact with the cathedral for over 20 years before finally receiving the commission in 2010.
A piece of home
Today, Klais still feels an "endlessly strong connection to Leon." Perhaps that's because Klais treasures how the Leon organ brings people together. "What excites me is how people stand in line for the organ festival for two, two-and-half-hours," he says. "And it's not five organ specialists, but 1,000, or 1,500 Leon residents, who, if you asked them individually, would probably say, 'I don't understand music, but I like the cathedral. I like the music that fantastic organists play here. And it's become a piece of my home.'"
Leon also became a sort of home for the Klais Orgelbau team when they were on-site for installation. They even called Marta Martinez, one of the Spanish project administrators, mama. "My colleagues called her Mama Martinez because … she took care of each individual's every need," Klais says. "If someone had a runny nose or if someone fell, no matter what happened, Mama Marta was there."
The call of Leon
Guillou debuted the new organ in September 2013, drawing a full house. "The cathedral was completely packed, with chairs all over the place," Gonzalez recalls.
Klais' nerves typically don't let him enjoy inaugural concerts, but he remembers how an overwhelming feeling of happiness filled the cavernous Leon cathedral after the last note died down. "You could feel how the music of Jean Guillou, the organist himself and the instrument were met with so much human warmth. It was incredibly lovely."
A workshop team member returns to Leon once a year to do maintenance work on the organ. And Klais himself traveled back in 2018 to attend the organ's 5-year anniversary concert. "I enjoyed it from the first to last minute," he says, whispering as one might when recalling a sacred moment. Many of his colleagues attended privately as well, and some even continue to spend their vacations in Leon. "That makes me excited. It's a beautiful thing," Klais says.
And I think it's beautiful too, this ongoing magnetic pull. The organ has become a piece of home for people in both Bonn and Leon. And for me, it means part of each of these cities that I call home can be found in the other.


Clic here to read the story from its source.