Skončila postní doba a křesťanský svět vstoupil Květnou nedělí do Svatého týdne Velikonoc. Přinášíme přehled bohoslužeb, které se během velikonočních svátků uskuteční v katedrále. Srdečně Vás zveme k účasti na slavení nejvýznamnějších křesťanských svátků do katedrály sv. Víta. Bohoslužby budou přístupné veřejnosti.
Již před časem nás oslovil jeden z našich vážených mecenášů s prosbou o adopci jedné z velkých píšťal. Její věnování směřuje obranným, bezpečnostním a záchranným složkám našeho státu. Součástí tohoto daru byla i prosba o předání symbolické píšťaly a osobního dopisu do rukou arm. gen. Aleše Opaty, náčelníka Generálního štábu AČR.
Milí mecenáši a všichni příznivci projektu stavby svatovítských varhan, než usedneme se svými blízkými ke štědrovečerní večeři a oslavíme nový rok, chtěli bychom zrekapitulovat události a vývoj výstavby svatovítských varhan za uplynulých 12 měsíců.
V katedrále proběhla další statická měření a komplikované projekční práce na kůru. Hledala se kompromisní řešení pro statiky, správce katedrály a další zainteresované autority. Podařilo se nám letos doladit konečnou podobu designu varhan, který bude přijatelný pro zástupce památkové péče.
Velmi děkujeme našim mecenášům, kteří i letos adoptovali píšťaly varhan ve výši převyšující 3,5 mil. Kč.
Mohlo by se zdát, že se svatovítské varhany blíží do svého finále a částečně tomu tak i je. Varhany stojí prakticky ve finálním stavu ve španělské dílně. Čeká je ještě několik konstrukčních úprav.
It would be difficult to find a structure in our country, which could be the equal of the cathedral of St. Vitus. It is a spiritual institution that shapes our relationship with the Creator. It is the first basilica in the country. Moreover, while it may be seen as a visual textbook of Christianity, at the same time it is at the crossroads of our history, where decisions were made about historical outcomes in our land. It is one of the greatest works of art in our country, which in a minute space, concentrates many artistic stages in many contexts. The cathedral is a visual witness to past events and helped to shape our own identity. It is also, however, a living organism, which evolved over half a millennium and even today is still not complete.
It is hard to imagine Prague today without the silhouette of the cathedral. And yet, this silhouette actually looked quite different until recent times. Half of the building (the nave) was missing and was not completed till 1929. The Metropolitan Church is such monumental work, that it will probably never be absolutely completed. Nevertheless, something very significant is missing to this day because, at the completion of construction, there were insufficient funds to install a new organ in the western choir loft of the cathedral. Several attempts have been made; all have been unsuccessful. Finally, today we have a new opportunity. It is up to us to in a time of peace and freedom to fulfill the legacy of our predecessors, in particular, that of the father of the nation, Charles IV and to ‘complete’ the cathedral.
The organ, because of its magnificence, is called the ‘king of instruments’. But is not the instrument of earthly kings for the organ speaks in the voice of God that sometimes gently whispers and infuses our soul with peaceful joy and at other times roars and thunders, sending shivers up our spine. The beauty of the organ lies in the fact that in spite of its monumentality it fulfills the word of Him who did not come to be served, but to serve. Anyone who listens to the music of the organ, is taught humility. It leads one to the art of listening and of harmonizing one’s relationship with his neighbor through singing and prayer. The organ leads us to a more genuine relationship not only with God, but also with our neighbor. For this reason, we want to work together to contribute to the glory of God, to the renown of St. Vitus Cathedral and to the further evolution of the famous musical traditions of our nation.
Dominik Duka OP, Cardinal Archbishop of Prague
The idea of the building of a new organ never disappeared completely: it repeatedly re-emerged, only to be postponed to more favourable times as a result of adverse society-wide events of the war years and also due to the post-war conditions.
A new instrument may be regarded as a testimony to the capabilities, experience and knowledge of the present generation as well as acting as a legacy to future generations.
The organ building company of Gerhard Grenzing is one of the most experienced companies in this field: it has successfully completed 220 restoration and building projects across continents.
After the project of a grand organ fell through when there were hardly 8 months left until the consecration of the temple planned for May 1929, architect Hilbert suggested the building of a “temporary” instrument with two manuals and 35 registers for the lower Wohlmut’s choir-loft. It was supposed to have been built by Josef Melzer whose “Czechness” wasn’t disputed by anyone.
Even after the instrument was extended by five registers already during the building, it was pointed out that such a small instrument would be in an acoustic shadow under the low vault and there were reasonable concerns that the project would end in disgrace. The cathedral chapter was well-aware of this and in spring 1929, it eventually agreed to provide extra funds to increase the number of manuals by one. It also permitted for the console to be built in such a manner as to enable future extensions of the instrument.
Since the time of the consecration of the St. Vitus Cathedral in 1369 all the way to the present day, tones of more than ten instruments have sounded under the cathedral’s vault.
It wasn’t only the “grand” organ that served for the accompaniment of Sunday Masses, celebrations and significant events, but smaller instruments for everyday use were also used.
Of some of these instruments we know only that they used to stand in the cathedral and perhaps also who acquired them. Other instruments are not only indelibly ingrained in the history of the cathedral, but they became known around the whole world for their size and monumentality.
The pipe organ is the largest and most complex musical instrument, which arouses big emotions more than any other instrument. Old records of chroniclers speak with great excitement about the sound which “resembles the peals of thunder, the quivers of a zither and the charm of the chimes”. For its size, but also its origin, it tends to be called a “royal” instrument. Up until the mid-18th century, it was considered the most complex machine that the man has ever conceived and built.
The organ went through thousand-years of development and it has a very long tradition in the European, that is, the Christian tradition, as a liturgical and in some regions also a concert instrument. Up to the present day, it saw one of its significant high points in Baroque. Inspired by many great artists and composers – let us mention Johann Sebastian Bach for all – the organ has progressed all the way to the largest musical instrument that is also extremely versatile.
The St. Vitus Organ Fund was established in accordance with Act No. 227/1997 Sb. by its registration into the fund registry administered by the Municipal Court in Prague, file ref. N 1123, on 19 March 2014.
The registration number of the fund is 02794471.
The bank account of the fund is 2109930876/2700.
Registered office: Hradčanské náměstí 56/16, 119 02 Prague 1 – Hradčany
Purpose of the fund: acquisition of a new representative organ for the St. Vitus Cathedral
Coordinator of the Organ for the Cathedral project
phone: +420 733 164 063
Members of the Managing Board:
Members of the Supervisory Board:
Project press agent
telefon: +420 734 335 438
Contact for others parties involved in the Organ for the Cathedral project:
Vice-chairman of the Supervisory Board
telefon: +420 737 215 326
Bohemian Heritage Fund
In the mid-19th century, with the rise of Czech national consciousness, the ongoing desire to complete the building of the cathedral culminated with the foundation of an ‘Association for the Completion of the Cathedral’. The chief aim of this association was to fulfill the dreams of previous generations by completing the building program, which had dragged on for over five hundred years. The intention was to complete the cathedral by 1929 in time to celebrate the millennial anniversary of the death of St. Wenceslas. Plans were also made to install a new, representative, grand organ in the basilica. From the start of the twentieth century, grandiose plans were formulated for the construction of the instrument; the organ was meant to be the chief ornament of the basilica and perhaps the largest cathedral grand organ in the world. These great expectations, however, could not be fulfilled because the costly extension to the basilica and its refurbishment exhausted the financial resources of the builders. After long discussions, therefore, it was decided to install a more modest, provisional grand organ and to entrust to future generations the task of installing a more representative instrument. Consequently, the provisional organ was built in 1932 by the organ building firm Josef Meltzer of Kutna Hora. The idea of building a new grand organ, however, never ceased and repeatedly re-emerged only to be shelved as a result of adverse socio-political circumstances, years of war and because of postwar conditions. Ultimately plans were postponed until more favorable times.
At present the provisional organ, dating from 1932, is used in the St. Vitus Cathedral for the accompaniment of liturgies, for concerts and for festive occasions. This organ is located in a very constricted space on the lower level of the so-called Wohlmut choir loft in the north transept of the cathedral. Because of its location, the sound of the organ does not carry adequately through the entire space of the basilica. On the upper floor of the same choir loft is the case of a former Baroque organ, whose mechanism unfortunately disappeared in the early decades of the twentieth century. The area of the western choir above the main entrance to the cathedral, which was intended for a grand organ, has remained empty for almost a century.