Szombathely is the 10th largest city in Hungary, 80,000 inhabitans. It is the administrative centre of Vas county in the west of the country, located near the border with Austria.
Szombathely is the oldest recorded city in Hungary. It was founded by the Romans in 45 AD as Savaria (Colonia Claudia Savariensum or Claudius' Colony of Savarians) and was the capital of the Pannonia Superior province of the Roman Empire. Szombathely is known as the birthplace of Saint Martin of Tours, the Duke of Armbrust, and Rudolf Virág, Leopold Bloom's father in James Joyce's Ulysses.
The cathedral of Szombathely was built between 1791 and 1814 in baroque-classical style. It is one of the largest churches in Transdanubia. Construction of a two manual, 40 stop late-baroque organ was started in 1808 by the Viennese master Ignaz Kober. Kober died in 1813, so the organ was completed in 1814 by Gaspar Dorner. In 1867 Nandor Peppert added a further 10 registers, changing the character to romantic.
On March 4, 1945, American bombing razed Szombathely to the ground. The cathedral was heavily damaged. The 150-year-old Kober organ was destroyed and only some baroque sculptures decorating the case could be saved from the rubble. The communist regime did not allow the organ to be rebuilt, so for more than 50 years a six-register positive organ served the liturgy.
In 1999 the new three manual, 54 register organ was built by the Aquincum organ factory. The organ was designed by Áment Lukács OSB and its case incorporates the rescued carvings. As well as new pipes the organ included the best ranks from the redundant 1915 G F Steinmeyer and Cie (Ottingen) organ of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Augsburg, procuding the modern organ that allows not only baroque but also German and French romantic works to be performed convincingly.
The following friends helped me to make and publish the sample set (in alphabetical order): Dominique Dantand, Gérard Lefranc, Nagy István, Enrico Sandrini and Adrian Wheal. If something's done well, it's thanks to them. Thank you for their work.