The harmonium/reedorgan has been experiencing a renaissance for a few years now. Only the ignorant still refer to this instrument as a soul pump, Hallelujah sling, etc.
There are of course various reasons for this:
On the one hand there are really a lot of bad, defective instruments standing around in churches, meetinghouses, etc. that urgently need repair.
On the other hand, there are only a few musicians who have really dealt with real harmonium music so far.
And many organists simply do not feel like bothering with this instrument. In addition, it is not exactly easy to get hold of interesting literature.
The standard works do not always contain the best compositions and Sigfrid Karg-Elert, the Rachmaninoff of the harmonium, who is also highly valued and played a lot by me, has written a lot of compositions that the "normal" listener, or the "harmonium firstling" in concert, is more likely to do deterring.
But have they ever thought about why even the greatest composers wrote original music for this instrument?
As a solo, ensemble or orchestral instrument. Did you know how many thousands of compositions there are for the harmonium? Or that a Druckwind harmonium is ideal for choir rehearsals and choir concerts. Much better than many a church organ.
In my many years of concert experience as a choir director or accompanist of soloists, I have noticed that they actually sing the most cleanly intonated with the accompaniment of a harmonium. Even my small village choirs were said to be admired for how they always sang so cleanly.
The harmonium is not a "niche instrument" or a substitute for an organ!
The love for the harmonium is in my genes, as my mother was already fascinated by this instrument. When I was young I found French instruments in Asturias (Northern Spain).
Since I was already active as an organist at the age of 12, I went to the services with the local priests on Sunday by scooter or car around Ribadesella.
There are Spanish, but mostly historical, French harmoniums in many chapels and churches. Sometimes of outstanding quality and size.
Since not all instruments were in perfect condition, I started to repair the first harmoniums in 1986. Later instruments were added in Tuscany south of Siena, e.g. B. in Asciano.
The almost lifelong friendship with the Belgian organist and harmonium specialist Jan van Mol gradually solidified my knowledge of the construction, repair and literature about this instrument.
How many instruments I have restored or repaired from the first beginnings to the present day I can no longer trace.
It is important for me, and thus also for the instruments I restored, that I only use historical materials for this.
I treat the instruments exclusively with historical materials, historical lacquers, such as shellac. Furthermore, one of my goals is to preserve the historical value and flair of the restored instrument and not to end up with a high-gloss object like new from the factory.
In order to achieve this, I bought numerous instruments to plunder and thus have a sufficient stock of spare parts for harmoniums of all brands.
I still sniff for historical fittings, locks, spare parts, etc. at countless flea markets, in shops in many European countries and websites.
So I have a huge selection of original spare parts and a large collection of antique fabrics, silks, papers and leather etc.
I always try to replace what is true to the original only what is no longer there or needs to be replaced.
With an emphasis on must because I always want to keep the old and not just remove what is still original.
My motto is: Preserve the old, the historical and only restore it in the proper style and in keeping with the museum. BUT: Of course the instrument has to be playable!
Entrust your instrument to a specialist with a lot of experience!
My harmonium workshop Calcant has built a good reputation over the years. The instruments I restored are not only found in many private households but also in some public buildings, museums, theaters ..... I think that speaks for quality! And always with a FAIR price.
Call me or write an email and let me advise you and I will give you a fair estimate.
Unfortunately, the websites and offers of alleged harmonium restorers are increasing at the moment. Be careful! Find out more about their knowledge and their work to date! Please only entrust your instrument to someone who has really worked intensively with it for years! You can be certain that even well-known organ builders with big names repair harmoniums just to earn a few euros. Then your harmonium is gone forever, there is wochenland in the workshop and you bear the supposedly high effort. Often work is done that does not have to be done, materials are used that correspond to the originals (neither in thickness nor color). Do not pay attention to glossy pictures with highly polished instruments. This has absolutely nothing to do with a listed restoration and does not mean any increase in value.
My workshop is a member of the Leer Chamber of Crafts and my activities are covered by a company liability insurance!