Vienna’s great organ is back after 30 years

Vienna’s great organ is back after 30 years


norman lebrecht

September 07, 2020

The great organ in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is about to return to service after 30 years’ silence.

Last played in 1991, the organ – installed in 1956 to replace its bombed-out predecessor – was painstakingly restored over the past three years in a small workshop under Government supervision. It is not clear why it was left idel for so long.

It will be reconsecrated by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn next month and played by organists Konstantin Reymaier and Ernst Wally.





  • Hugh Kerr says:

    I’ll go and visit it next weekend when I’m in Vienna for the opening of Vienna Opera including Domingo in Boccanegra!

  • Allen says:

    “under Government supervision without anyone offering an explanation of why it took so long.”

    Perhaps you’ve answered your own question.

  • John Borstlap says:

    My fly on the wall tells me that it took so long because the pipes looked so much the same.

    Again and again they got the bombardon 8′ (which transposes upwards) mixed-up with the mastodont 16′, and the protestant 8′ with the cantor 4′ (which transposes downwards). The flutes 3′ and 5′ fell out of the window during carnival 2004 and mixture stops got entangled because one of the restaurers was a woman with a long hairdo. Also they mislaid the wooden case and finally decided to do without it, thinking that nobody would notice. (But I can see it being absent clearly from the picture.)

  • Omar Goddknowe says:

    Under government supervision that would explain why it took 30 years

  • Konstantin Reymaier says:

    Unfortunately the content of the central paragraph is incorrect. In 2017 the cathedral commissioned Rieger with a rebuild which reused a lot of old pipework. A detailed documentation about the whole project was published by Schnell&Steiner.

    Please correct the information
    Many thanks, Konstantin Reymaier

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Wonderful. I’ve enjoyed the playing of Ernst Wally during Mass at Stephansdom during 2011. He really brought the house down after each service!! And now the old organ will benefit from his virtuosity!! Great news.

  • Anon says:

    Brief outline in English…

    According to this it wasn’t government inaction, it was the fact that the first modern organ was poorly designed, and its temporary replacement was good enough. Interesting that the 19th century instrument was by Walker – presumably therefore English in build and possibly style?

  • Edgar Self says:

    Is it tuned to A= 444 like the Vienna Philharmonic, who cannot use the organ in their hall because it’s tuned to a lower pitch? DGG had to dub in a distant organ for Karajan’s “Also sprach Zarathustra” used in “2001 Space Age”.