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One of the most important collections of musical organs is found in the historic Basque province of Gipuzkoa (the Basque Country, Spain). Amongst approximately 150 instruments that make up this class of musical heritage in Gipuzkoa, special mention should go to the magnificent Spanish baroque organ of Ataun, built by Lorenzo de Arrázola in 1761, as well as the splendid collection of French romantic organs, led by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll who installed 14 instruments of all kinds and sizes in this province between 1861 and 1898. To these have to be added those built by other French organ-makers such as the Stoltz-frères (Paris), Mutin, Merklin/Gutschenritter, Puget, Didier, etc.

Particular mention should also be made of a beautiful instrument by the German organ maker, Walcker, installed in 1914. To this extraordinary current collection of organs in the territory of Gipuzkoa the instruments of romantic influence have to be added; these were created towards the end of the XIX century by organ makers of Basque origin and closely tied to the Basque Country, such as Aquilino Amezua, Eleizgaray & Cia., Amezua & Cia., Lope Alberdi, Melcher and Dourte, amongst others. The process of installation of the organs of romantic influence came to an end in 1940. That was when the Organería Española Sociedad Anónima was established in Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa), the company that installed, in the cathedral of the Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) in San Sebastián in 1953, the largest neoclassical organ in Spain with five manuals and one pedalboard and 125 stops.

More detailed information about this organ cultural heritage is found in the following books: Gipuzkoako Organoak-Organos de Gipuzkoa, by José Manuel Azkue, Esteban Elizondo and José María Zapirain, published by the Kutxa Fundazioa, Donostia-San Sebastián, 1998. La Organería Romántica en el País Vasco y Navarra (1856-1940), by Esteban Elizondo Iriarte, published by the University of the Basque Country Publishing Service. Donostia-San Sebastián, 2002. Organos franceses en el País Vasco y Navarra by Françoise Clastrier and Oscar Candendo published by Eusko Ikaskuntza. San Sebastián 1994. Les orgues Cavaillé-Coll en Gipuzkoa (Pays-Basque espagnol et leur répertoire), by Esteban Landart, published by L´Orgue, Zurfluh, Bourg-la-Reine. France, 1995.


Musical recordings

Given that most of the organs mentioned have been maintained in their original state, Gipuzkoa has become one of the centres of international interest for organists and record companies. In the last few years the following organists have recorded a great number of CDs. José Manuel Azkue, Winfried Bönig, Juan de la Rubia, Esteban Elizondo, Vincent Genvrin, Vicent Giner, Pedro Guallar, Willibald Guggenmos, Piet Kee, Mathias Kjellgren, Susan Landale, Michèlle Leclerc, Kurt Lueders, Aitor Olea, Maria Dolores Oteiza, Ben van Osten, Daniel Roth, Koro Sáenz, Johannes Skudlik, Joris Verdin and Elke Völker, and for the following recording companies: Titanic Records of the USA; Mottete, Aeolus, Ambitus and DG of Germany; Hortus, Ricercar and Calliope in France; Cascabel, Ciutat Barroca and Banco de sonido from Spain; Ausartrecords in the Basque Country, Nosag in Sweden and Casa Chandos in England.

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