That’s how I would classify the spectacular organs and churches we visited today, especially the Jesuitenkirche in Solothurn, Switzerland. The building itself is extremely tall inside with huge portraits accentuating the height of the building. The organ was built in 1794 and has remained largely the same, without alteration. It was restored in 1953 by Orgelbau Metzler.

The organist has to climb many, many steps in order to get up to, and get down from the console. I guess you don’t want to forget anything going either up or down to avoid climbing all those steps! Here is a short video I took on the way down.

Our first stop today was at the French church in Bern. It was the site of a Dominican monastery which serves the French-speaking people in the area—nowadays they are getting many French-speaking refugees from Africa.

There has been an organ here from the 13th century which underwent many changes. However in 1991 a completely new organ was installed by the Orgelbau Goll, four manuals and pedal with mechanical key action and electric stop action.

The organist of the church gave a short recital of Louis Marchand, J. S. Bach, Josef Rheinberger and Jehan Alain. What was unique was that he listed the registration (organ stops) of each piece in the printed program.

I am really, really sorry that I did not get a chance to play it, because those who were fortunate to play it said it was an absolute dream instrument. I would love to come back to Switzerland just to play this fabulous instrument.

Our second stop was at a former monastery at Bellelay, which was deconsecrated in 1797 when French troops occupied the buildings. The church was restored in 1956 but is no longer used for religious services. There were actually three organs in the nave, with two reproductions of historic organs: a copy of a 1721 Josef Bossert organ by Orgelbau Kuhn in 2009 and a 2014 choir organ in the style of Bossart also by Orgelbau Kuhn.

I played a chorale partita by Georg Boehm but had to leave out some of the bass notes because of the short octave at the bottom of the keyboard.

There was also a cute little organ in the gallery.