Data concerning the identity of the man who built the organ of Santa María del Alacazar and San Andrés de Baeza in 1790 is anything but clear.
He is known to have come from the area around Jaén. And, a close examination of this instrument leads us to believe that he might have been related in some way to the master builder Fernando Antonio de Madrid and even, perhaps, to the De la Redonda family- organ builers who originally came from Cuenca.
Lucas de la Redonda Ceballos worked as an organ builder at the Cathedral in Jaén. He was in charge of keeping the organ there in good repair, an instrument built by Fernando Antonio de Madrid in 1789. In the Baeza instrument, the movements and mechanisms for the knee lever, the introducing pedals and the larger reed stops appear to be directly influenced by the Jaén instrument whose immediate predecessors were the organs Julián de la Orden built in 1783 for the Cathedral Church in Málaga. An odd fact is that the papers we found lining the pipes and the wind ducts in the de Baeza organ are part of a manuscript copy (perhaps a rough copy) of a work entitled Cartas instructivas sobre los órganos (Informative or instructive letters about organs) published by the organ builder Fernando Antonio de Madrid in 1790 in Jaén. In this text, De Madrid translates a number of passages from Dom Bedos de Celles´ LArt du facteur dorgues which first appeared in Paris between 1766-1778.
The builder in de Baeza apprenticed under very competent builders and learned his trade well; a glance at his pipework and a few other technical aspects would convince anyone of that. But, this instrument also has a number of rather crudely finished details which are surprising, especially in the windchest and a few parts of the action. Also odd is that, despite the fact that this instrument dates from a later period, it physical appearance is very traditional. We can see this in the absence of newer, more popular type stops, except for the Oboe. Also striking is the limited manual compass--only 45 notes with a short octave. Be that as it may, it is, nevertheless, the best preserved historical instrument in the province of Jaén. Unfortunately, the events of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) wiped out what was truly a rich heritage of 17th, 18th and 19th century historical organs in this province.
The underlying idea behind the restoration is to return this instrument to its original state by reconstructing the missing pipework and reconstructing the bellows.