HOMEPAGE

Life&Work

 

New pipe organ for St Vitus Cathedral resounds for first time

 
photo:  (Panská Skála, photo: Magdalena Kašubová)
 

The new pipe organ for St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague resounded for the first time on Monday in a workshop near Barcelona, in Spain, where the instrument is being built. The pipe organ was commissioned by the Catholic Church and part of its cost, estimated at 80 million crowns, was raised in a public collection.

 

The man to test the new pipe organ for St Vitus cathedral, a symbol of Czech statehood and home to the Czech crowns jewels, was Josef Kšica, who will be playing the instrument in Prague’s most famous temple. He shared his first impressions with Czech Radio:

“It went really well. It really is a unique instrument. I have to say I am utterly charmed and I cannot wait to play it in the cathedral.”

Mr Kšica only played about a third of the organ’s keys, since its full sound would be too strong for the workshop.

“The pipe organ in Prague is pneumatic, so the sound is slightly delayed. This has a mechanical key action, with four manuals, so it is very accurate. The pedal is also accurate, because it is electric, which helps to sound the bass tones.”

The current provisional organ with its 4,500 pipes, built in 1932 and located in the left wing of the cathedral, is not strong enough to fill the whole church. The newly built organ will have 6, 500 pipes and its sound should fill the whole space of the monumental building.

The renowned Spanish organ-maker Gerhard Grenzing, whose company won a public tender to build the new pipe organ for St. Vitus, says the construction itself was not the most difficult part of the whole process:

“The hardest moment was when we discussed the height of the organ with the monument protection authority. It would have been hard for us to lower the organ, because we know it would be more difficult to make it sound right.”

The new instrument will be installed in the neo-Gothic organ-loft from 1929, located above the main entrance, but only after some adjustments are made, explains Štěpán Svoboda, organologist from the Prague Archdiocese:

“The choir loft needs to be strengthened and the current wooden construction and floor replaced. We also have to bring electricity, because the current supply is insufficient.”

The author of the design of the instrument, Slovak car-designed Peter Oláh, says he found inspiration in Panská Skála, a basalt hill near the North Bohemian town of Kamenický Šenov, which resembles an organ pipe:

“We didn’t want to make a pseudo-historic instrument. We wanted to create an impression that the composition is floating in the air. We regard it as a jewel to crown the cathedral, as a necklace hanging below the rose window.”

The new pipe organ for St Vitus Cathedral will now be disassembled and transported to Prague. It will first resound through the cathedral on June 15 next year, on the Day of St Vitus, the patron saint of Bohemia.

 
 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 15.10.2019
 
 
 

Related articles

 
Life&Work
 
 

Recidivist large-scaled marijuana...

One of the Czech Republic’s best-known earliest promoters of legalising marijuana and promoting its...

 
 
Life&Work
 
 

Museum in Cedar Rapids traces the...

Sitting in a living room during World War II; lying on a bunk in a steam ship on your way to America or...

 
 
Life&Work
 
 

Language exams for foreigners seeking...

Foreigners from non-EU states are obliged to undergo a Czech language exam to secure permanent residency...

 
 
Life&Work
 
 

Veronika Čáslavová: sex trafficking...

According to official data, around ten Czech women fall victim to sex trafficking each year, but the real...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…