Earlier I wrote about my first visit to Viscount HQ in almost 18 months. I left Mondaino and Viscount behind early in the morning after a brief farewell with the staff.
After a few miles I left Emilia Romana behind and was back in Tuscany on the winding hill route toward the town of Sansepolcro. I stopped the car just at the top of the hill to take in the magnificent view westward toward Arezzo and just a little closer Sansepolcro.
The town of Sansepolcro
According to tradition the founding of Sansepolcro came about through two 9th-century pilgrims to the Holy Land Arcanus and Giles, who returned to the region and built a chapel dedicated to Saint Leonard whose ruins now lie underneath the current Cathedral—where they established a monastic way of life.
The first historical mentions of Sansepolcro date to 1012, referring to the construction of the monastery, around which a commune began to develop due to it being declared a market town by the Emperor Conrad II.
Due to its central location on the local trade routes, in the 13th century control of the town was contested and seized by various forces of the region.
During World War II the town was saved from destruction by the efforts of Tony Clarke, a British officer who halted the Allied artillery attack in order to save Piero della Francesca’s fresco Resurection.
The Sansepolcro Cathedral and Pipe Organ
After a short cappuccino break I wandered off to find the Cathedral and was rewarded with my first pipe organ of this trip.
I am sure like me you form a clear expectation of the sound of an instrument from the moment you see it. There is the inevitability that a large case means a big sound but organs are much like books and we all know you should not judge a book by its cover.
Sadly but as usual all the organs on this short trip were silent so I can not enlighten you as to how they sounded.
The cathedral organ is split into two cases either side of the choir and has an unusually large number of pipes on show albeit not a very inspiring show that looks to me like two complete ranks on both sides.
You will see the console below the south side pipes so the organist will get a really good impression of the sound. I made some personal Facebook posts of my visit noting that I had heard nothing on this visit and was delighted to get a message for the Cathedral Organist inviting me back to play. I think that’s a new social media first for me.
Two more Church visits in Sansepolcro
I then moved onto the much smaller church of San Francesco where again the organ, this one much smaller is split into two cases of similar display pipework.
Not here or in the Cathedral do we see the much more glamorous and showy organ case so often found in Italian churches. You will have to wait for my account of Arezzo for one of those.
Finally before setting of for lunch at Arezzo I called into the Santuario di Santa Maria Madre della Grazia where resides a small instrument on a gallery above the west door.
Sunlight streaming in made this difficult to photograph but I hope you get an impression in the photo here. As I have said in a blog some years back, size does not matter if you get the pipes in the right place in a church. I am sure, small though this instrument is from its lofty position at the back of this church, it can make its presence felt throughout the building.
And so back to the car, lunch and Arezzo just 20 minutes away beckoned.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.