The 18th Century Positivo Organ Restored to its Former Glory

The 18th Century Positivo Organ Restored

To celebrate the restoration of the 18th century Positivo Organ at Our Lady of Victories church, Valletta, Din l-Art Ħelwa along with the Eden Leisure Group whose financial support allowed for such restoration, presented an organ and vocal recital in the evening of December 5th in Valletta.

The historic instrument is made up of 271 pipes and it disappeared from the public eye while being kept in storage for safe keeping by the Valletta Regeneration Committee when this had been organising the early restoration of the church of Our Lady of Victories.

Brought back to the church when it was entrusted in guardianship to DLĦ by the government in November 2011, the organ is a simple one-manual instrument rare in Malta today.

Painstakingly restored by Mr. Robert Buhagiar, when played the organ still projects the original timbre and pitch intended for it in the 18th century. Its own original antique carved wooden cabinet was also discovered in the church by DLĦ together with its ‘finto’ pair, and painstaking restoration of both revealed original gilt and paint in the Sicilian decorative style below layers of grey overcoat.

On Tuesday night, Our Lady of Victories church was full to the brim with people wanting to experience the newly restored 18C positivo organ. Organist Hugo Agius Muscat, who has personally followed the history of this organ for several decades, played the organ during the inaugural recital, accompanied in parts by baritone Joseph Lia. The musical programme, chosen specially for an organ of this pitch and age by Agius Muscat, contained excerpts from Corelli, Bach, Zipoli, Durante, Oxinagas, Caccini, and Maltese composers Grech, Galea and Azzopardi.

Caption From left to right: Robert Buhagiar, Ian De Cesare, Kate De Cesare, Simon De Cesare, Dr Hugo Agius Muscat