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Ancient organ still making music in Sion

The sound of the world's oldest working organ will be heard once again in Sion during the next eight weeks at a series of festival concerts starting this weekend.

Constructed between 1390 and 1430, the organ in the city’s medieval Valère basilica was in regular use until the 19th century, but suffered years of neglect until 1954, when it was restored.

Guest soloists from Switzerland and abroad will be playing period music of their own choice every Saturday until August 26 in the basilica.

The repertoire is somewhat limited by minor eccentricities of the old organ. For example, its 45 keys are unable to cope with all the variations possible on a more modern instrument.

But despite these limitations, Sion’s International Ancient Organ and Period Music Festival has grown in popularity since it was first held in 1959, and the organisers have never had problems attracting soloists with an international reputation.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR