V prosinci 2020 proběhlo v katedrále měření, které na objednávku Nadačního fondu Svatovítské varhany provedla společnost INSET s.r.o.
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Milí mecenáši a přátelé našeho společného projektu stavby svatovítských varhan.Děkujeme za Vaši srdečnou přízeň během tohoto roku, který před nás kladl nové výzvy. I přes nepříznivou situaci se daří na svatovítských varhanách provádět práce vedoucí k zajištění západní kruchty. Věříme, že nový rok 2021 přinese nové příležitosti a zdárné dokončení stavby varhan.
Vydavatelství a nakladatelství Českého rozhlasu vyhlašuje výsledky skladatelské soutěže o původní českou skladbu pro nové varhany katedrály sv. Víta, Václava a Vojtěcha, kterou pořádá společně s Nadačním fondem Svatovítské varhany a nadačním fondem Bohemian Heritage Fund.
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
Although at first glance the assignment of constructing a new organ seems straight forward, the building of such a representative instrument is a challenging task for those involved, as it is to be the representative instrument in the most notable basilica in the Czech lands. At the same time, however, this task is an exciting challenge that arises once every 150 or 200 years. 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 exceptional and distinct impact of an organ on an individual, is given not only by its location in the space of the church but also by its effect on a person’s senses. We see the external shape and decoration of the organ case, we hear the sound of the organ pipes and we feel the interaction of the space of the basilica and the instrument. Supportive and balanced synergies of all the senses allow one to perceive the beauty of the sound of the organ and the music produced by it.
The artistic concept of the new cathedral instrument was born from considerations and discussions with both Czech and foreign experts over many aspects of the new instrument. The project was inspired by the tradition of the St. Vitus organ, but also by the living, continuously developing art of organ improvisation that was handed down to the current generation by great personalities of the Czech organ music of the 20th century. The new St. Vitus organ should be a source of inspiration not only for the development of this legacy but also should act as a stimulus for contemporary interpretations of music from the organ repertoire.
To achieve this concept, the most appropriate instrument was considered to be a symphonic instrument inspired by the French style. The new grand organ by its size will reflect the majestic space of the cathedral. Much more important than the total number of registers and number of pipes, however, is the importance of the integrity of the overall design, the artistic quality of the individual registers and the design of the organ case. Keeping the size of the basilica in mind, the organ will have at least three manuals, certainly more than sixty registers and more than five thousand pipes.
Parting from more common practice, the concept of the organ design has not been given strict parameters. This is so that in the creation of the organ as a unique work of art, the artistic inspiration and ideas of the organ builder – from whom are expected great originality in ideas, an inspiring sound and a unique design for an organ case - will not be constrained and limited.
The instrument will be installed under the rose window in the western choir loft, which from the time of its construction, has been empty. This appropriate location will allow the organ sound to fill the entire interior of the basilica. Moreover, the organ will be a welcome addition to the empty area above the main entrance to the cathedral.
It is hoped that the instrument will reflect the latest expertise and knowledge in the construction of large organs in a cathedral space. The current options, particularly in the areas of technology and electronics, provide previously unavailable solutions in the construction and management of the organ. Even more importantly, over and above these technological possibilities with which we hope to enhance the instrument, we would like to emphasize the importance of durability and reliability which we consider more important than the use of untested, ultra-modern technologies and findings.