A French-Flavored Schoenstein to Silverado
Schoentein & Co. is in process of building a three-manual, 34 rank organ for St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, CA. The Norbertine Fathers, who can trace their heritage back to 12th-century northern France, have constructed a new monastery which opened in 2021. The first phase of this project included the installation of our opus 116A, a small French choir organ to accompany the liturgy. Opus 183 is a 31 voice, 34 rank organ to be placed in the Abbey’s Tribune (rear balcony), with installation planned for Summer of 2023. This is a unique project for us in that the instrument is designed for one purpose: to play the French Romantic repertoire. The Fathers regularly host acclaimed organists to give recitals, and this new organ will serve that purpose.
Opus 183 gives us an opportunity to use our study of Cavaillé-Coll organs over the years to fashion an instrument that is patterned after that tradition without being a copy. The new Abbey has similar acoustics to that of a French cathedral, and the new organ will offer a rare opportunity in the United States to hear French Romantic music on an instrument and in a space which are both designed to support that repertoire.