Let’s finish the construction of the St. Vitus Cathedral, the symbol of the Czech Republic.

The New Organ Play video Adopt a pipe

News / Records from the Chronicle

26/11/2018

Koncert pro svatovítské varhany po týdnu

Již je to více jak týden od v pořadí druhého Koncertu pro svatovítské varhany. Setkali jsme se s pozitivními ohlasy ze všech stran. Jsme rádi, že si spousta nových mecenášů vybrala jako možnost podpory svatovítských varhan Adopci píšťal. Přinášíme Vám statistiku k průběhu sbírky po tomto benefičním koncertu.

21/11/2018

Píšťala jako vánoční dárek

Děkujeme všem mecenášům svatovítských varhan, kteří si adoptovali jednu z 6500 píšťal. Každý mecenáš od nás jako poděkování obdrží krabičku se symbolickou píšťalou a certifikátem. Jsme si vědomi, že právě v nadcházejícím Adventu připravuje mnoho ze štědrých mecenášů svou píšťalu jako jedinečný dar pro někoho ze svých blízkých.  Prosíme však o pochopení, že z kapacitních důvodů jsme schopni do Vánoc vypravit a garantovat expedici jen těch píšťal, které budou adoptovány a zaplaceny do neděle 9. 12. 2018. Velmi proto prosíme, pokud zvažujete adopci píšťaly jako vánoční dárek, adoptujte si ji co nejdříve.

15/11/2018

Svatovítské varhany dostanou světově unikátní podobu

Design nástroje navrhlo studio ŠKODA Design

Dílna předního varhanáře Gerharda Grenzinga zatím hlásí tři pětiny vyrobených píšťal nových svatovítských varhan. Ty nyní získaly i jedinečnou uměleckou podobu. O vzhled nástroje se postará designérský tým společnosti ŠKODA AUTO, která je jedním z generálních partnerů celého projektu.

13/11/2018

Program benefičního Koncertu pro svatovítské varhany

Už v pátek 16. 11. proběhne ve svatovítské katedrále benefiční Koncert pro svatovítské varhany, na kterém bude oficiálně představena prvotní tvář varhan a budeme moci slyšet i jejich zvuk. Zveme Vás ke sledování tohoto koncertu živě na ČT2 ve 20.00 hod.

The New Instrument

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

An Organ for the Cathedral

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.

The New Instrument

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 builder of the new organ

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.

Let’s finish the work of our ancestors. Let’s finish the building of the St. Vitus Cathedral, the symbol of the Czech Republic. The cathedral is missing a dignified voice. Support the building of its organ.
The St. Vitus Organ

Sponsorship / Support

90%

To this day, we’ve successfully raised: 71,635,483 CZK

Thank you!

The Old Organ

The Current Organ
HISTORY OF PIPE ORGANS IN THE CATHEDRAL
WHAT IS THE PIPE ORGAN

The Fund

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

 

Contact:
ICLic. Mgr. Ondřej Pavek
Chairman of the Managing Board of the St. Vitus Organ Fund
e-mail: pavek@svatovitskevarhany.com
phone: + 420 603 235 606

František Falta
Coordinator of the Organ for the Cathedral project
e-mail: Frantisek.Falta@apha.cz
phone: +420 733 164 063

 

Members of the Managing Board:
ICLic. Mgr. Ondřej Pávek
Prof. JUDr. Jan Kříž
JUDr. Pavel Müller    
Ing. Robert Kolář    
Ing. Arch. Marek Štěpán

 

Members of the Supervisory Board:
ThLic. Ing. Zdenek Wasserbauer, Th.D.
Mgr. Vojtěch Mátl
Mgr. Milan Badal
Prof. RNDr. Miroslav Vlček DrSc.
Ing. MgA. Pavel Farský

Contacts

Media inquiries:
Hedvika Čepelová
Project press agent
e-mail: hedvika.cepelova@amic.cz
telefon: +420 731 072 634

Contact for others parties involved in the Organ for the Cathedral project:
Vojtěch Mátl
Vice-chairman of the Supervisory Board
e-mail: vojtech.matl@apha.cz
telefon: +420 737 215 326

Jakub Skřejpek
Bohemian Heritage Fund
e-mail: skrejpek@bohemianheritage.cz

WHAT IS THE PIPE ORGAN

The organ is the largest and most complicated of all musical instrument, which more than other instrument, is capable of arousing powerful emotions. The old chronicles enthuse about the sound that is similar ‘to thunder, the shimmer of the zither and the magic of a carillon’. Because of its size and also its origins, the organ is often called the ‘king of instruments’. Until the mid-18th century, it was considered to be the most complex instrument ever to have been invented and constructed by mankind.
The organ has evolved over thousands of years and in Europe, that is, in Christian culture, and has a very long tradition as a liturgical, in some regions even as a concert instrument. One of the most renowned pinnacles in its development was during the Baroque period which was inspired by many great musicians and composers – Johann Sebastian Bach, to name one of many. Since that time, it has evolved further to become the largest and most versatile musical instrument of all.
 
The organ is both a musical instrument and a work of art. Apart from talent, to create a successful organ, the builder is required to have a wide understanding of many, different and specialized skills. These skills range from knowing how to process different kinds of wood, work with ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as tin, lead, bismuth, copper, zinc. He must understand how to utilize materials derived from animals, such as different types of leather, parchment, glue, bone, ivory, as well as substances from the world of plants, for example, paper. Moreover, the organ builder must also have a sound grasp of the physical sciences such as mathematics, physics and acoustics.
A grand organ is composed of thousands of different parts and for their perfect function it is necessary to align all these disparate elements into one functional whole.

The organ is composed of the organ case and the organ mechanism.

The Organ Case

The organ case is what we see when we look at an ‘organ’. The mechanism of the organ, bar a few exceptions, is hidden within this organ case.

The organ case has several functions. First, to protect the mechanism, especially the organ pipes, contained within the case, from dust contamination or even falling plaster. Secondly, the case exists to prevent entry by unauthorized persons into the organ mechanism. Thirdly, the case limits the damaging effects of the sun’s rays on the surface of the pipes and other sensitive parts of the mechanism. The organ builder must choose the most advantageous placement of the organ case, or as in some examples, the distribution of the instrument into several cases, in order to achieve the best direction and distribution of the sound of the organ. Last but not least, the organ case fulfills an aesthetic function and as the dominant feature of the western choir, acts as a counterweight to the main altar in the eastern section of the church. The organ case can be and often is richly decorated with carvings and statues.

The Organ Mechanism

The organ mechanism consists of several parts:
- the console
- the wind-chest
- the action
- the bellows and the air distribution system
- the pipes

The console is the part of the organ from which the organist controls the instrument. In this he is aided by one or more keyboards, similar to those in a piano, called manuals, on which he plays with his hands. Apart from this there is a keyboard, with a similar layout but understandably of a larger size, which is played by the feet and called a Pedalboard. Also there is a whole series of stops, levers, buttons and switches and other devices which must be controlled by the organist. The latter serve for the setting of various registers with the aim of changing the tonal quality and power of the sound and also as aids to allow fast and easy changes of the sound of the instrument.

The console can be a part of the organ case – the organist then plays with his back to the main altar and the audience, or it can be in close proximity to the organ case as an independent console. Less frequently, the console can be located in a distant place or sometimes the organ can have two consoles with one located at a distance to the mechanism.

 

The most important part of the organ, which distributes the air to each of the pipes according to the intention of the organist, is called the wind-chest. The wind-chest is the heart of the organ. Even the smallest organ has to have one wind-chest, but a major organ can have up to ten in number. The wind-chest looks like a wide, long, but shallow box, on the upper surface of which stand the pipes. Inside the chest is a complicated mechanism of partitions, sliders, air valves and ducts, which distributes the air to the individual pipes according to the ‘command’ of the organist.

The commands of the organist are transmitted from the console to the wind-chest, by pressing the keys or engaging the various control devices on the console, by the ‘action’ (or mechanism) of the organ. The action converts the intention of the organist to the valve that opens or closes the air supply to the pipes.

Air to the individual pipes is supplied by the air system. It consists of a source of air (or wind). Most often the air pump drives the air into the bellows where the air is collected and stored at a regulated pressure. Then it is distributed to the wind-chests and on to the individual pipes and other devices.

The pipes are the source of sound from the organ. The pipes are tubes made from either metal or wood, rarely also of other materials such as forms of paper, glass, concrete or plastic. Apart from just the material used in its construction, pipes can be classified by other criteria, for example, by the way the type of sound is produced. Each pipe emits one tone. Whereas a small organ may have just a few dozen pipes, a large organ can boast several thousand. The height of the pitch emitted by a pipe is determined by its length. The pipes which produce the lowest pitch can have a length of up to 20 meters; in contrast, those pipes with a very high pitch will only be a few millimeters long.

The pipes in an organ are arranged into so called ‘registers’ (or stops). A register is a row of pipes from the biggest to the smallest, which emit a tone from the lowest to the highest pitch of the same strength, tonal quality and character. The balance of the sound of the organ depends not only on the proper selection of strength and tonal color for pipes in one register but also how the selection of a combination of registers melds with each other. This balance also depends on the type of the pipes (flue and reed), as well as the material from which the pipes are produced and on the mutual relationships with the many other parts of the settings and parameters. This is where the experience and art of the organ builder decides whether the sound of that instrument arouses in us positive, negative or even no emotions.

This is the secret to the uniqueness and superb quality of each instrument.