Vicissitudes of three restored Robustelly organs, part 1 by Cees van der Poel

by Cees van der Poel | Het ORGEL | Year 103 | (2007) | Issue 3

Cees van der Poel Vicissitudes of three restored Robustelly organs, part 1
Het ORGEL 103 (2007), nr. 3, 4-19 [summary]

Eckelrade Photo: Jan Smelik

Guillaume Robustelly (1718/25 – 1793) learned the craft of organ building from the Le Picard family. After this dynasty had ceased its activities, Robustelly was the most important representative of the school of Liège. The organs that he built in Eupen (1760), Averbode (1772), Vreren (1785) and Hoogcruts (not precisely datable) are now located in Roermond, Helmond, Minnertsga and Eckelrade, respectively. The instruments in Eckelrade, Minnertsga and Roermond were restored in the past seven years, and are treated in this article. (The instrument in Roermond will be discussed in part 2.)

The organ in the St.-Bartholomeuskerk in Eckelrade dates from the last quarter of the 18th century. It stood formerly in the cloister of Hoogcruts (near Noorbeek in southern Limburg). In 1803 the instrument was moved to the parish church of ‘s-Gravenvoeren. From there it was moved to the church of St.-Joannes de Doper in Limmel in 1868. In 1870 it arrived in Eckelrade. The instrument underwent drastic alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. There were restoration plans since the 1980s, but they were only carried out in 2003-4 by Verschueren Orgelbouw B.V. of Heythuysen. The organ was as far as possible returned to its original state.

In 1785 Robustelly built an organ for the St. Medardus church in Vreren (near Tongeren). In 1874 this instrument was altered and sold to the reformed congregation in Welsrijp (Friesland). In 1955 it was moved to the Meinardskerk in Minnertsga (Friesland). Flentrop Orgelbouw B.V. of Zaandam carried out a restoration in two phases, in 1987 and 2001. The mechanical layout and some registers from the 19th century were maintained, as was the 20th-century independent pedal. Some Robustelly elements that had disappeared were reconstructed.


Minnertsga Photos: Cees van der Poel