The Lombard organs (or Piedmontese in Fontan) found in the five churches of the Roya Valley, were built or restored for these churches in the nineteenth century. Fontan’s and Breil’s, eighteenth century organs, are more or less reconditioned reuses. The ensemble is a rich movable and artistic heritage. They were restored during the 1970s – 1980s under the leadership of organists Sant and Saorgin. Along with the other organs of the Savoyard Royal Route, the Bevera and the Vermenagna, they host an international organ festival every summer.
The Collegiate Church Saint-Martin’s organ was ordered to the Lingiardi brothers, organ builders in Pavia, in 1847, and delivered in 1849.
The case and the tribune were made by the cabinetmaker Giovanni Battista Tosello of Limone, living in La Brigue, according to Luigi Lingiardi drawings on the case.
The decorations of the panels of the guardrail of the tribune, Baroque style carved, painted and gilded, represent musical instruments.
Two columns frame the case with composite capitals supporting a cornice basket handle highlighted by a “curtain of theater” in painted wood. On each side, balconies with railings conceal the bass drum and its accessories. The five original bellows are in the side chests.
Unfortunately, in 1925 and especially in 1957, this organ underwent profound transformations, which made it lose its Italian character.
A restoration by Yves Cabourdin, in 1987, has fortunately allowed finding its original characteristic style, relying on the original documents and the analysis of contemporary Lingiardi instruments.
The keyboard, which is not original, is short octave; the “a leggio” pedals have a real extension of the 12 chromatic notes. As for the phonic disposition, it includes a very developed ripieno, and a large amount of concert games.
La Brigue’s organ is the largest in the Roya Valley.