España Vaciada How to save a 1904 piano from a town of 40 inhabitants

The emptied Spain gives continuous examples of resilience

España Vaciada How to save a 1904 piano from a town of 40 inhabitants

The emptied Spain gives continuous examples of resilience. In Palencia's Tierra de Campos, the last music goes because they have proposed to save a 1904 French piano from Abarca de Campos, a town of 40 inhabitants where more than 30 concerts are held every year and the per capita income is one organ per every ten inhabitants.

This is the new challenge of the Francis Chapelet Foundation, which has just launched a micro-patronage campaign to be able to acquire and restore a grand piano built in Paris in 1904 by the historic manufacturer Sébastien Érard, with the aim of making it sound in the month of June in the Abarca auditorium.

It is in this town of 40 inhabitants where the French musician, Francis Chapelet, one of the most relevant figures of the European organ of the last fifty years, planted the seed of music. On one of his trips through Spain, he fell in love with the baroque organ in the Abarca church, paid for its rehabilitation and bought a house so he could not stop playing and hearing it.

That was in 1982 and since then Chapelet, who just turned 89 in March, has been living halfway between France and Abarca. Luis Arranz, co-founder with Chapelet of the Foundation that bears the name of the French musician and which has its headquarters and its auditorium in this town in Palencia, tells EFE.

It is not a famous town, although it should be because it can boast of being the town with the highest number of organs per inhabitant, four organs, a harpsichord, a harmonium and a piano for 40 registered residents, -only 20 live habitually-, in addition to an auditorium with capacity for one hundred people where 30 concerts are held a year that often leave it small.

"If we wanted to obtain a Guinness record for the number of organs in relation to the inhabitants of Abarca, we would achieve it," Arranz adds.

To this musical heritage they now want to add a grand piano from the legendary French brand ÉRARD, one of the most significant in the history of music. "It is a disused piano owned by a family from Salamanca that we could not let disappear," explains Luis Arranz.

That is why they have decided to entrust themselves to crowdfunding to add the 10,000 euros needed to acquire and restore this 2.40 meter long piano, with which the Foundation will complete the range of instruments in its Auditorium: the great organ (with two keyboards and pedalboard); an Italian organ from the year 1711 with 8 sets (restored in 1993 by Bartolomeo Formerntelli) that Händel himself played and is the oldest that works in the province of Palencia; a Flamenco harpsichord (restored in 1990) and a Pleyel grand piano made in 1890 on temporary loan from the French organ builder Pascal Quoirin.

"With the incorporation of the Erard grand grand piano, we will have the possibility of expanding the quality and possible instrumental combinations when organizing concerts, and even holding concerts for two pianos", points out Arranz.

"But above all, we will prevent an instrument like this from being lost," adds this Madrid engineer who is a great lover of music in general and of the baroque organ in particular, who has also made Abarca his place in the world, with the Europa Nostra Award for rehabilitation of your house included.

The piano is already in Salamanca in Gonzalo Palenzuela's workshop, which is in charge of its restoration, and in Abarca they have already raised 1,500 euros. "We would like to reach 10,000 euros to pay for the purchase, the restoration and a great concert for its premiere with a disc recording included," says Arranz.

The micro-patronage campaign can be found on the Hispania Nostra page, on the page of the Francis Chapelet Foundation and on its Facebook profiles, as well as on the Friends of the Classics Association, and can be accessed through the https link. ://

"We are going to achieve it," says Arranz convinced. In a few months this piano will form part of the heritage of Abarca de Campos, a town accustomed to having more audiences than inhabitants and that wants to sound more and more thanks to music.

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