SINCE 2005, two brothers from Poprad, Ján and Gabriel Bies, have been manufacturing church pipe organs. But through the years, the Bies brothers lacked the skills to craft the pewter-based pipes so essential to creating the proper resonance to pipe organs. Since the brothers were dissatisfied with the quality of the organ pipes bought from other countries, they looked for another way to solve this problem. Now, after years of study and research, the brothers are at last able to turn out pipe organs completely manufactured in their own workshop.
The saga of how this came about is a study in old-fashioned persistence.
In the beginning, Gabriel Bies told TASR he tried to learn the craft himself. But it soon became clear that the skills required could not be mastered overnight. So in 2007 the brothers decided to dispatch their nephew Stanislav Rusnák, not yet 20, to the Czech Republic, where he spent four years learning the trade under the tutelage of an 82-year-old craftsman named Jan Kubát in Kutná Hora, in the Czech Republic.
The young graduate Rusnák explained to TASR that the sound of a pipe organ depends on several factors, including the thickness and diameter of the pipe as well as air pressure. He said patience is the most important personal characteristic in making superior organ pipes.
In the past eight years the Bies Workshop (Dielňa Bies) has produced dozens of organs. Currently a team of seven people is completing an organ for a church in Sabinov. Producing one mid-sized organ takes six to nine months.
The largest organ that the firm has made thus far is in the Košice Martyrs’ Church. St Giles Church in Poprad also owns a Bies organ but the pipes of these two organs were manufactured outside Slovakia.
The first organ with 100-percent Slovak materials was finished last autumn and is housed in the church of St Catherine of Alexandria in Matejovce nad Hornádom.