The Organ

Marian Alojz Mayer: Martin Šaško and his school of organbuilders

Marian Alojz Mayer: Martin Šaško and his school of organbuilders.
ISBN 80-88884-47-0
No price

Little has been published about organs in Slovakia and, until Dr Mayer wrote this book in 2003, there was even less on Slovak organ builders. Šaško senior built his first organ in 1834 and was still active 50 years later, dying in 1893 at the age of 85. Not only did he build almost 100 new organs, but he trained several apprentices who later set up on their own. Among these were his son, Martin, his grandson, Gustav Adolf Molnár, and three others – Samuel Wagner, Matej Vavro and (probably the most productive of them all) Vincent Možný. Dr Mayer examines these builders’ work in great detail - contracts, actions, pipework, scales, materials, winding systems, casework, locations etc. He also notes how far these men were influenced by changing tonal taste in the latter part of the 19th century.

This is a fascinating and well-researched account of Slovakia’s leading 19th century organ builder and his pupils. It is of course written in Slovak with only a short resumé in both German and English but the high-quality photographs of casework and stop knobs plus detailed diagrams make this A4 size production of just over 200 pages a worthwhile acquisition for those of us interested in organ building development outside of the British Isles. The book is incredibly cheap – 410 Slovak crowns which, at the present rate of exchange, equates to about Ł7.50.