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      Naxxar Parish Church     
Santucci 1775, Bergomi 1899, R.Buhagiar 2001
facade view

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In 1775, Sicilian organbuilder Santucci completed a one manual organ for the parish church of Naxxar. After many repairs by various organbuilders the organ was rebuilt in 1899 by Giuseppe Bergomi of Brescia, Italy. Bergomi reconstructed everything anew except for the pipework – he reused part of the Santucci pipework. Unfortunately Bergomi did not seem to give much care to the tonal aspect of the organ which was very lacking in quality. He mixed principal with flute ranks in order to complete ranks and introduced pipework of very low quality – even in the façade which he jumbled up in order to transform the lowest octave from the old original ‘short octave’ to the more modern ‘normal octave’.

The restoration conducted by Robert Buhagiar in 2000-2001 consisted in the restoration of all the organ parts like bellows, chests, mechanical action etc as installed by Bergomi in 1899. The tonal work however was partly restoration and partly a rebuild since the Bergomi rebuild niether gave a tonal identity to the organ nor conserved the Santucci tonal scheme and characteristics. The aim, therefore, was to rediscover the original 18th century Sicilian voice of the organ from the remaining Santucci pipework. All the pipes were carefully analysed in order to recompose as much as possible some Santucci ranks. This was partly successful – ranks like, Principale 8’, Ottava 4’, half of the XV 2’, XIX, Flutta 8’ soprani and Flauto 4’ soprani were recomposed though some new pipes had to be introduced due to various missing pipes. Buhagiar also built some completely new ranks like the Nazardo and Subbasso 16’, and reconstructed the Italian ripieno up till the 29th rank according to the breaks of the XIX which was an original Santucci rank.

This restoration, both functional and tonal, was carried out in full respect of the original material available. The tonal changes implemented actually complement the original nucleus of the Sicilian pipework. The result is an organ which while conserving its 1899 North Italian structure has been redirected to its original 1775 Sicilian voice.

Part of the restoration was the reorganization of the façade pipework. Since the case had been designed for a short octave organ, when Bergomi introduced the normal full octave he had to introduce four pipes in the lowest octave of the Principal 8’ (in the façade). Unfortunately he shifted the pipes to fit the new ones creating a very ugly solution. Therefore, after some study it was decided to return the 3 middle sections to the original 1775 layout whilst neatly rearranging the 2 side tower sections to introduce the new pipes which complete the lowest octave.

This restoration was highly acclaimed by Maltese and foreign organists.

Stoplist after the restoration :
Left Column Right Column 
Voce Umana 8’ (soprani)
Flutta Reale 8’ (soprani)
Flauto in Ottava (soprani)
Flauto in XII (soprani)
Cornetta 1 3/5 (soprani)
Principal 8’ Bassi (façade)
Principale 8’ Soprani
Principale 8’ 2do
Ottava 4’ Bassi
Ottava 4’ Soprani
XV Bassi
XV Soprani
Contrabasso 16’ (stopped)
Basso 8’
Rinforzi 4’

Accessories :
Terza Mano (octave coupler)
Ripieno Foot Lever (inserts all the Right column stops)

Keyboard : 53 notes (C1toE53) breaks at B24-C25
Pedal : 17 notes ‘a leggio’ (C1toE17)
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