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San Giovanni Battista - Atri [Back to Library]

Producer: MIDIPipeOrgan
Builder: Fedri
Country: Switzerland
Manuals: 1
Pedalboard: No
Audio Ouput:
Date Built: 1750


The organ of San Giovanni Battista Church was built in about 1750, probably by the organbuilder of Atri Adriano Fedri of the Family Fedeli Rocchetta di Camerino. The organ is located in the Choir and was completely restored in 1993 in the workshop of Pier Paolo Donati of Florence. This organ is of special interest because it is one of the rare historic Italian organs that has a reed stop in the front, placed horizontally, as in Spanish organs, and another reed stop placed in the swell.

The pipes in this organ are all original and its restoration has allowed us to recover the instrument as it was designed by the manufacturer in the 1700s. It has a very low pressure of the wind chest down to just 48 mm at the water column that gives the organ a very pleasant, round sound. The temperament of this instrument is a medium tone (Extended Meantone irregular) with four pure fifths.

The registration of the organ has maintained both the original tuning of 435 Hz and the temperament, so the virtual organ has the same temperament as the original instrument. For this reason, a set of files were included in the installation package such as temperament equable at 440 Hz and Vallotti Tartini, both generated with the software of MidiPipeOrgan, TemperamentMaker.

The organ is placed in the choir of the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Atri (Vulgar San Domenico). The church was built in 1322 and underwent several changes until 1758 or so. The lower part of the facade, still in Romanesque style, is preserved from the 1300s. The Convent of the Benedictine monks was attached to church who had dedicated it to their saint St. Dominic. Inside the Church there is a splendid decoration on the vault, recently restored, which represents the transit of Blessed St. Dominic.

The Dominican fathers commissioned the organ in the 1500s and the original base of the bellows is still preserved. All subsequent renovations, in about 1750 also commissioned by the Dominican fathers, made it an accompanimental instrument for the singing of the friars and people during the liturgy.

The church is located in the town of Atri situated on a hill about 10 km from the Adriatic Sea. Atri is called “the queen of the hills”,thanks to its position 442 metres above sea level overlooking the Adriatic Sea to the mountain group of the Gran Sasso of d'Italia. Atri is a city which dates back to three thousand years before the founding of Rome. Its first name was Idria, then it became Hatria which gave the name to the Adriatic Sea.

In Roman times, in 299 BC, Atri was allied with Rome to defend it against the Gauls, offering an army of 20,000 pedestrians and 4,000 horsemen. This gesture garanteed Atri a form of autonomy which allowed this town to mint its own coins and to become a holiday resort for the Romans. The Dukes of Acquaviva resided in Atri in a palace which is still preserved today as the Town Hall. The House of the Dukes of Acquaviva includes the Blessed Rudolf Acquaviva who died as a martyr in India .

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