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At a Glance
The organ building corporation Mathis Orgelbau in Näfels, Switzerland, is a family enterprise founded in 1960 by Manfred Mathis. At a time when it was still popular to build electric action organs without conventional cases, Mathis Orgelbau soon became known for its return to the time-honored craft of organ building by employing closed cases with mechanical actions, a logical distribution of divisions and precisely measured wind pressure.
|The amassed expertise of Manfred Mathis has left its stamp on Mathis Orgelbau. After exploring the world of organ building by working for a number of well-established international companies he subsequently specialized in the art of voicing, especially of French reeds, strings and flutes as a student of the voicers Maurice Hurbain and Paul Beurtin from the renowned Parisian companies of Cavaillé-Coll/Mutin and Merklin. He set up his own business in 1960 and worked first in the style of the Silbermann organs of the Alsace region and later developed an interest in the Romantic period as well. Today, Mathis Orgelbau has its own unique approach to organ building which it continues to develop and refine.|
|The company now employs around 20 highly trained craftsmen, among them draftsmen, pipe makers, mechanics, joiners, carpenters, and electricians. This enables in-house production of all individual elements of the organ including cases and complete pipework with the exception of electronic components.
There are no plans to increase this staff of 20 full and part-time employees. This constellation keeps the building process manageable and makes it possible for each staff member to work exclusively on one uniquely designed instrument.
Only solid wood is used. For a quality organ the wood must be naturally aged from four to twelve years, depending on dimensions. For this reason Mathis Orgelbau has its own stock of timber, one of the largest in the European organ building trade. In all approx. 1400 cubic feet (150 m3) of spruce and oak, 6 tons of tin and lead as well as other raw materials such as leather, iron, steel and brass are processed per year.
Not only is state-of-the-art manufacturing skill important for Mathis Orgelbau, their organs must excel in appearance and tone quality. An organ should complement and enhance the architecture of the space in which it is located but never dominate it. Organ cases ensue from a long and complex process of fastidious attention to the details of the space whose acoustics will ultimately determine how the organ will project. The voicers of Mathis Orgelbau, who are also organists in their own right, strive to attain a sonorous, lyrical sound, rich in overtones that avoids harshness or stridency; the organist should be equipped with the flexible and dynamic potential to exploit the widest possible variety of registrations.