All the magnificence of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague awaits to be complemented by one of the largest and most impressive organs in all of Europe. Thanks to the hard work carried out by one of the most prestigious experts, Barcelona has witnessed the construction of the organ that will decorate with his notes on the next Saint Vitus day.
The presence of organs in churches has been real for many centuries. Small or large, these musical instruments have accompanied church choirs with their melodious and deep notes during liturgical, ceremonial and festive activities. Therefore, the care and detail in its construction and tuning is something that organ builders demand the maximum concentration and dedication.
Filling a place with pleasant sonority goes beyond the mere style of the facade of an instrument, and an organist knows it. His confidence in his organ makes him excel with every note he is capable of producing with it, and this is exactly what is expected to happen with whoever has the opportunity to play the amazing organ created especially for the Cathedral of San Vito.
An imposing cathedral
This cathedral will add with this amazing new musical instrument one more striking aspect to its attractiveness as a tourist place. The Czech Republic proudly displays one of the most magnificent Gothic architecture in Prague, which has also been, for more than seven centuries, the chosen place for coronations, wedding celebrations and even funerals. Located inside the Prague Castle, it still preserves its Golden Gate that leaves those who see its Venetian mosaics astonished.
And if you climb its tower of more than one hundred meters, you will get really special views of Prague. Now, inside the cathedral, the tombs of kings like the good king Wenceslas IV or the crown jewels will not be the only attractions. They are joined by one of the largest organs in Europe with 5,700 pipes, some of which reach 10 meters in height.
Both the crystal and the tin-lead alloy of its tubes will be the protagonists of an instrument of innovative craftsmanship and technology that will seek to fit within the imposing Gothic art of the cathedral. Everything seems to be ready so that when Saint Vitus Day is celebrated in June the honors of the celebration can be resonated and played with his new organ.
An energetic and poetic sound
For this cathedral of so much history and splendor, not just anyone could take on the important challenge of filling this space with an organ of considerable dimensions. Therefore, one of the most important projects was launched to the world through an international competition that was won and assumed by the renowned expert Gerhard Grenzing. In the words of this great organ builder, his entire team would achieve an instrument commensurate with the size and beauty of the cathedral to fill it with notes that convey energetic and poetic sounds.
The 106 records it will produce have much to do with the romanticism of its fellow Czech and German organs. In addition to glass and metal, the support on which the tubes are located is made of wood. Also, a diversity of fabrics is observed as part of the material that a whole group of expert craftsmen has used to assemble the complex mechanism. This shows parts that fit with perfect precision in the exact place.
A german organ builder
German by birth, but living in Barcelona for many years, Gerhard Grenzing chose El Papiol as the center for his workshop. Organ manufacturing and repair have been his passion and craft for many, many years. From a very young age, he began and developed a fascination for Iberian instruments, so what would take a couple of months to get to know them became the decision to choose Spain as his center. She has been the witness of how the most versatile and reliable instruments for organists around the world were born from her hands.
After participation in a first project, a long list of restoration and organ creation throughout Spain has the Grenzing mark. The Basilicas de la Merced and San Miguel, the Royal Palace, cathedrals, auditoriums and convents are among those who have seen Gerhard’s dedication and interest in ensuring that music continues to be performed in these venues with instruments of true quality.
Already being in his seventies, the trust in this organ specialist is still valid and full and this is demonstrated by his restorations and new creations in different parts of the world. Spain, Germany, France, Colombia, Mexico and even Japan in its Niigata auditorium, just to name a few, are countries that know the quality of both the craftsmanship and the technicality of this outstanding character.
All set in El Papiol
October and November 2019 were important months in the final phase of supervision and testing of this long-awaited body. Grenzing’s workshop at El Papiol opened its doors in October to receive a delegation of more than 100 people from Prague and led by its Archbishop Dominik Duka, the Czech Consul and Ambassador. In addition, the organist himself of the Cathedral of San Vito accompanied them, having the opportunity to play and give his approval.
In November and as part of the announcement of the completion of the instrument, the best organ in Europe has been played for testing by other organists from Spain and France. These musicians gave free concerts to a large number of people who enjoyed and endorsed having heard and witnessed the quality of a spectacular work. The list of sponsors can only be at ease with comments and approvals.
So everything is ready at El Papiol to be remembered in history as the place where, in a period of almost two years, one of the most impressive organs in the world was built, tested, disassembled and shipped to the Czech Republic.