Collection for huge new St. Vitus Cathedral organ close to target
For centuries, Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral, a symbol of Czech statehood, lacked a suitable pipe organ whose sound would fill its monumental space. Now, nearly 700 years after construction began, the cathedral is set to get a huge new organ. More than 74 million crowns have already been raised in a public collection to build the instrument.
Štěpán Svoboda is an organologist from the Prague Archdiocese.
“We have dozens of thousands small sponsors, who donated symbolic amounts of several hundred or more, and they still continue to contribute. We appreciate every donation, because it becomes part of the instrument that belongs to all of us.”
The newly built organ, with over 8,000 pipes, will become one of the largest in Europe. It will be installed in the neo-Gothic organ-loft from 1929, located above the main entrance. The instrument is being built by renowned organ-maker Gerhard Grenzing from El Papiol in Spain, who won a public tender announced two years ago. To date, his company has made around 5,000 pipes.
The author of the design is Slovak car-designer Peter Olah, who found inspiration in Panská Skála, a basalt hill in North Bohemia near the town of Kamenický Šenov, which resembles an organ pipe.
Štěpán Svoboda again:
“The connection of organ pipes and crystal glass is quite unusual and it will make the design really unique. But its sound will also be unique, because just as the sound of every language is different, so is the sound of different instruments. Although the St Vitus organ will be suited to our Czech ears, it is still being made abroad, so its sound will be quite special.”
The new organ will be heard for the first time on the eve of Czech Statehood Day, October 27, 2019, while still in the factory in Spain. In January 2020, the instrument will be transported to the Czech Republic, where it will be played at St. Vitus cathedral for the first time in the spring of 2020.