Friday, March 4, 2016

Valvasone, Italy: Duomo organ restoration

The organ in the Valvasone, Italy Dom was built by Vincenzo Colombi in the 16th century. It was restored in 1972-1974 by Alfredo Piccinelli. This cover includes a postmark that commemorates the 30th anniversary of that restoration. The postmark shows most of the facade, with the left being occluded by an image of a treble clef. The date given in the postmark is 8 May 2004. I have not determined what that specific date may specify: perhaps concerts, perhaps the date of re-dedication 30 years earlier.

Interestingly, the organ was apparently worked on significantly in again 1999 by Francesco Zanin. While the present cover would include that time frame, this second period of restoration work is omitted. One suspects then that the work completed in 1974 was of such a scale and scope as to somehow eclipse that of 1999.

The organ was begun in 1532, installed in 1533, while painting of the interior and exterior of the protective doors continued through 1535 (exterior) and 1537 (interior). The artist himself died in 1539 with the work only partially complete; it fell to his son to complete the paintings by 1544. To read some accounts, the paintings  by Giovanni Antonio da Pordenone are at least as important as the organ itself.

This site includes good details about the instrument. The instrument is rather small (relatively few ranks, and a short compass) but seems to be a very typical instrument f the Italian Renaissance. This site dealing with music in the region gives more information about the instrument.

Tied to the cover by the postmark is Scott 2590, a stamp depicting Santa Maria Assunta Church in Pragelato, Italy. The stamp was part of a set of 4 marking the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin. The stamp is thus most likely coincidental to the postmark, aside from the "church" unifying factor.

This cover was a gift from my friend, Mark Jameson in Reading.

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