1780 Gaetano Callido Organ

St. Zenone Church, Boara Polesine/Veneto, Italy

Please click on the picture to start the photo gallery

01-callido organ 02-st. zenone church 03-church nave and altar 04-the altar 05-altar detail 06-organ gallery 07-organ console with stops and tira tutti winder 08-manual and pedal 09-key details 10-stop jamb 11-principale 8 and tromboncini 12-tromboncini pipes 13-wind chest 14-pipework 15-tromboni pedal ranks tracker and bellow

Short Introduction and History

The organ of St. Zenone, Boara Polesine/Veneto (40 km south of Venice) is a beautiful example of a large-sized organ of the famous Venetian organ builder Gaetano Callido. This is confirmed by the presence of the Contrabassi 16’, made of open wooden 16’ pipes, by the composition of the 7 rank Ripieno up to Trigesimasesta and the presence of the small Regale-like stop, the Tromboncini 8’.

Most stops are divided in Bassi and Soprani (Bass and Treble), due to the split keyboard, which is common amongst historic Italian organs. The first octave is called “scavezza” (short), typical for these organs.

A beautiful feature of this organ is the fact that it has been left almost unaltered from its original construction, thus no one pipe had to be rebuilt, except the Trombone of the pedal board, stolen during the World War II and a few broken pipes of the Tromboncini.

The church archives only show small interventions until the siginificant restoration in 1992, carried out by Alfredo Piccinelli, the famous Italian organ builder and a specialist of Callido organs. Being a specialist in organ building but not very much considering rules of the musical canons, all organs “touched” by him were set to equal temperament. Today we know by research, that Callido never used equal temperament but very often a Tartini-Vallotti like tuning, so we decided to set back the virtual organ to this most adequate Italian historic tuning.

The splendid Ripieno gives to the organ luminosity and clarity, though the measures of the fonds, especially the Italian Principale 8’ are very large. The beauty and mildness of its sounds is due to the very low wind pressure, about only 42 mm (!) water column, as found in Italian historic organs.

During the restoration the organ case and its colour was completely changed for exigency of visibility. Now again the Boara Polesine’s Callido organ gives the visitor the mystery of its sounds, its solemnity and its vivid colour (Text by Paolo Osti).

The church room has wet acoustics of about 4.5 seconds of reverberation.

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Recording technique

The organ was recorded in May/June 2004 with 44 kHz, 24 bit, multi-channel for Hauptwerk 1


I would like to thank the rectory and parish of St. Zenone, Boara Polesine, for enabling and supporting this project.
Special thanks to Paolo Osti, Rovigo, for setting up all the contacts, translations and local help and to Padre Don Tristano for his patience.