What the organ looked like after the fire
The heat from the fire melted down many pipes
The remains of the reed resonators
Every effort was to save as much pipework as possible
The restored Cavaillé-Coll organ in the Iglesia de la Merced, Burgos
The Cavaillé-Coll organ in the Church of the Mercedin Burgos was severely damaged in a fire on April 21, 2001; this is especially evident in the pipework on the Grand Orgue which was exposed to greater heat. However, upon closer examination, we saw that the main parameters which define a pipes sound such as the toe holes, the height of the mouth, the flue, the languid, etc. were not effected. We thought it possible and, indeed, worthwhile to give the organ a new lease on life by recovering its voicing and by unprecedented stance in its restoration.
We ran a number of tests so as to determine the best way to remove the melted tin on the inside of the pipework. The languids, flues and toe holes were not affected in any way. Once we separated the melted parts from the rest of the pipe, we built cylinders or conical resonators which were used to lengthen the pipes and return them to their original length, while at the same time respecting the diameters, the alloys and the thickness of the pipe walls. We then calculated and constructed the tuning slots. We restricted any voicing to defining the original length of the pipes and, by examining the tuning slots, we endeavoured to return each pipe to its original pitch and tuning. The only problem we encountered was in working with the larger pipes where we found it necessary to raise the languids slightly since they had fallen out of place due to the weight of the melted metal.
Although we might have been able to partially recover the original façade, for aesthetic reasons, we opted for a total reconstruction. The pipework on the Récit was still intact since it had been protected by the Swell box.
The wooden pipes, the case, the action, the manuals, the windchest, the bellows, the Barker machine etc. were all given an extensive and detailed restoration so that original splendour of its sound could once more be fully appreciated and so the organist might also enjoy a quick and precise touch when playing. To achieve this goal the team in our workshop spent more than 12,000 hours doing various different tasks: the restoration of 1,296 pipes, 900 meters of trackers, hundreds of nuts and bolts, thousands of pieces for various and sundry adjustments, almost 150 pneumatic bellows, pneumatic purses, windchests etc., plus thousands of pieces to complete this musical instrument weighing over 7 tons.