Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Arrival in Sion

The next morning we stopped for a visit to Freiburg im Breisgau, a large city with a famous medieval cathedral from 1200. Loved the silver cross dating from the same time, the tower with its medieval (and modern) bells and clockworks. Very sad to see a medieval bird's-nest organ on the wall of the church where the organ was totally replaced in the 19th century, destroying all the remnants of the medieval organ. Also 3 other modern organs in the church.

By mid-afternoon, we reached Sion. It;'s a lovely city nestled in a valley amidst the Alps. The organ is in a cathedral on top of a small mountain at the edge off the town. We get driven up to a point halfway up, then we walk the remainder of the way.

Inside the cathedral, the organ is waiting. There's nothing more to say. I am completely in heaven. It is so marvellous that an organ from 1425 is so easy to play, sounds so amazing, and just seems to float over the entire cathedral. It's another world. Dongsok and I practice the music for Saturday's concert for 3.5 hours, which pass in mere moments.

Dongsok on the stairway up to the organ loft

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