Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Jozef Hardoník

[Hardonyi; Jozef, József]

* 1863, place unknown
† 1948, Banská Štiavnica

Initially he was called Jozef Hardoník, later for livelihood reasons he magyarised his name to József Hardonyi. He trained as an organ builder with Sándor Országh in Rákospalota (Hungary). He opened a workshop in Rožňava from where he moved to Radvaň (now a part of Banská Bystrica) in 1894. There he worked until 1944. Then he moved to his son’s in Banská Štiavnica; the son was the choir director there.

Organ builder’s workshop

The workshop came into being in the 1880s in Rožňava. From 1894 it functioned in Radvaň which today is part of Banská Bystrica. A substantial number of the instruments either built or repaired in the 1880s/1890s are identified by nameplates on which the authors are listed as József Hardonyi and József Angster with the residence in Rožňava or Radvaň. The literature about Angster (except for that of O. Gergelyi) does not recall any co-operation with Hardoník and not one of the instruments thus identified appears in the list of Angster’s works. We therefore rather think that this appellation had an advertising purpose since the Angster firm was very well-known in Hungary at that time. But it is also possible that Hardoník bought components necessary for instrument building at Angster’s. At a later period Angster does not appear on the nameplates. Later Hardoník’s son appears as a colleague. In 1909 there were five employees in the workshop; it was thus a fairly large workshop. Michal Révai trained and then worked there for a long time. Hardoník built his last new organ in 1931 but as late as 1940 he sold it to the R. Catholic church in Badín. A substantial part of his production is represented by one manual organs with pedal; he also built even quite small instruments without pedal but rarely. One of his largest works was the two manual organ for the Cathedral in Rožňava (1901) which he built into the František Rosa’s old organ case dated 1777. He also left in place the original prospect pipes. He made new only the soundboards, console and actions. He also rebuilt the two manual organs in the R. Catholic churches of Švedlár (1894) and Brezno. In Švedlár he retained the original slider soundboards. We have no information about the changes in Brezno. He devoted himself also to the rebuilding and repair of other instruments. In some cases he similarly left in place the original slider soundboards (Rimavské Janovce - R. Catholic church, Rožňava – Lutheran church). A substantial number of Hardoník’s organs have cone chests and mechanical actions. The last job in Badín R. Catholic church also has them. Pneumatic actions in his organs are really exceptional; so far we have met them only in the organ for Abovce R. Catholic church. Manual compasses are usually C – f3 chromatic but often also C – c3 chromatic, mostly in the less important locations (Hontianske Tesáre-Šipice – R. Catholic church, Čoltovo - R. Catholic church, Staré Hory – R. Catholic parish church). The key and tonal compasses of the pedal are fairly constant. Pedal keyboards usually have a key compass of C – h0 (24 keys), the tonal compass is generally only C – H (12 notes). The pedals in Rožňava Cathedral and Abovce R. Catholic church alone have the largest compass. In both cases the compass conforms to the then standard C – d1 (27 keys and notes). The majority of the organs are identified on nameplates which are located on the consoles above the manual keyboard.

Text: Marian Alojz Mayer