Fribourg - CH
The small Swiss town of Fribourg has an important heritage not only in terms of its medieval architecture but also its organs. Founded in 1157 by Duke Berthold IV of Zaehringen, this bilingual (French-German) city has several historical instruments that have been particularly highlighted since the creation, in 1997, of the Fribourg Organ Academy. This society, which organises the Fribourg International Organ Festival, has been attached to the ECHO association since 2005, which works for the promotion of historic organs in several European cities. The Fribourg Organ Academy represents Switzerland in this association and, in this capacity, stands alongside other major European cities such as Alkmaar, Brussels and Toulouse. The association itself organises concerts and courses given by specialised musicians. The courses, which are given in the form of master classes, are a complementary approach to those given by the city's conservatory throughout the year.
The presence of an organ in Freiburg dates back to the year 1425. The first organ was built by Conrad Belius and placed in the choir of the Cordeliers church. The oldest instruments we have today date from the 17th century. The Abbaye de la Maigrauge has an organ built in 1648/49, the original case of which has been preserved. The choir organ in St. Nicholas Cathedral also dates from this period, as it was built by Sebald Manderscheidt (1620-1685) from Nuremberg. The Chapel of the Burgers' Hospital also houses an organ by Manderscheidt. It is a positive built in 1667 and is now almost in its original state. Manderscheidt is a well-known name in Freiburg. It is also the name of the organ builder Aloys Mooser (1770-1839), who built the cathedral's organ loft in 1834 with 61 stops on four manuals and pedalboard. The fourth manual is an echo manual, the pipes of which speak out into the narthex, thus giving the impression of distance.
Aloys Mooser's instruments made the city of Fribourg famous in the 19th century and were praised by the great personalities of the artistic world of the time. The Bulle instrument was played by Felix Mendelssohn, who seems to have particularly appreciated the soft stops and the large plenum. Fifteen years later, Franz Liszt, accompanied by the novelist George Sand, made a stop in Bulle as well as in the cathedral of St-Nicolas, where the organist at the time, Jacques Vogt, played the famous Orage as a presentation.