The history of the Organ at Membre sur Semois Belgium

L'histoire l'orgue de Membre sur Semois Belgique,

In 1992 some of the music loving souls of the 200 inhabitant counting village of Membre sur Semois, situated in one of the beautifull valleys of the Ardennes mountains in the French speaking part of Belgium, la Wallonie, started to think about an organ in their church. They soon started an assosiation: "Les Amis de l'Orgue de Membre" In 1994 they had all the funds and sponsors together to get the building of their organ started. The result is a unique instrument worth a visit.

The organ of Membre has been built by Georg Westenfelder from Luxembourg in 1994 to 1997. It has been built using the classical Italian organ-building views and practices from the spirit of the renaissance. This results in a single manual organ with only 12 "jeux", = stops, and a fine 'Ripieno' sound and mostly open type of pipes based on the Principale (Montre) 8'. It includes also a guinine "Voce Umana" 8' like most old Italian organs have. Of course mr.Westenfelder did not oversee that in Belgium the local music is very popular and played very much and consequently he added some stopped "jeux" like the Bourdon 8' to complete a versitile organ that is small but magnificent in sound. Belgian as wel as Italian composers sound very well on this instrument but one can play also many works of Bach and other composers. As all Italian organs it has a good fundament in the sound because of the use of the 8' and 16' stops like the Montre 8', Bourdon 8' and Bourdon 16, that last is also coupled to the pedal. The organ is placed in the middle of the church leaving a little space between the side-wall and the organ case, so letting out the sound of the wooden pipes of the Bourdon placed in the back of the organ case.

The neo-gothic case completes the total image of the organ and the instrument miraculously combines with the nice church building of Membre as you can see on this websites pictures. 

If you are visiting Membre, then do not forget the organ, or even better: attend to an organ-concert and you will be amazed by the beauty of the sound of this remarkable instrument!





The label on the case together with the electric switch of the windmotor.



Belgian organist Bernard Foccroulle at the organ of Membre, introducing the music played at his concert of 19-09-2004.


Back of the organ: view at the oak Bourdon 16'

Text and photos: Hans Hilberink.

Hans Hilberink - 25-05-2004/15-06-2016.