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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Go back to day 2

Go on to day 4


View Austria Day 03 in a larger map
 
The Steigenberger Hotel on the outskirts of Krems among the wine terraces.

The Steigenberger Hotel on the outskirts of Krems among the wine terraces.

We climbed (and climbed) up to the Piarist's Church for the first of six organs on today's itinerary.

We climbed (and climbed) up to the Piarist’s Church for the first of six organs on today’s itinerary.

The 1875 Capeck organ in the Piarist's church.

The 1875 Capeck organ in the Piarist’s church.

Back down the hill to the Krems Parish Church.

Back down the hill to the Krems Parish Church.

the 1986 Hradetzky organ in the Parish Church in Krems.

the 1986 Hradetzky organ in the Parish Church in Krems.

Boarding the MS Austria in Krems for our river cruise through the Wachau Valley.

Boarding the MS Austria in Krems for our river cruise through the Wachau Valley.

The blue tower of the Monastery church in Durnstein and the castles ruins on the hill above.

The blue tower of the Monastery church in Dürnstein and the castles ruins on the hill above.

More castle ruins among the vineyards along the banks of the Danube River.

More castle ruins among the vineyards along the banks of the Danube River.

The facade of the monastery church at Stift Melk.

The facade of the monastery church at Stift Melk.

The ornate details, paintings and gold highlights in the nave at Melk.

The ornate details, paintings and gold highlights in the nave at Melk.

The historic organ case containing the 1976 Hradretzky masterpiece at Melk.

The historic organ case containing the 1976 Hradretzky masterpiece at Melk.

Father Bruno provided a friendly demonstration of the various stops of the organ.

Father Bruno provided a friendly demonstration of the various stops of the organ.

The contemporary organ case (and organ) at the Parish Church in Matzleinsdorf Bei Melk.

The contemporary organ case (and organ) at the Parish Church in Matzleinsdorf Bei Melk.

The 2002 Woehl organ at the Parish Church in Linz containing many older pipes that were present in the instrument that Bruckner played while he was organist here.

The 2002 Woehl organ at the Parish Church in Linz containing many older pipes that were present in the instrument that Bruckner played while he was organist here.

Our last stop of the day is visit to hear the 70 stop Marcussen organ built in 1968. Our tour group is dwarfed while seated in the mammoth Linz Neuer Dom (Linz New Cathedral) completed in 1924.

Our last stop of the day is visit to hear the 70 stop Marcussen organ built in 1968. Our tour group is dwarfed while seated in the mammoth Linz Neuer Dom (Linz New Cathedral) completed in 1924.

Pipedreams Tour 2009

Day 3 - May 08
Krems – Melk – Matzleinsdorf Bei Melk – Linz

  • Today’s Venues, Instruments & Players
    Krems Stadtpfarrkirche (Hradetzky 1986, III-P/40)
    Krems Piaristenkirche (Capek 1875, II-P/18)
       – Ronald Peter, organist
    Stift Melk (Hradetzky 1976, III-P/45)
       –Father Bruno, organist
    Matzleinsdorf Bei Melk (Pieringer 2006, II-P/12)
       –Wolfgang Krogert, organist
    Linz Stadtpfarrkirche (Woehl 2002, III-P/37)
       –organist to be announced
    Linz Neuer Dom (Marcussen 1968, IV-P/70)
       –Wolfgang Kreuzhuber, organist

 

Friday - a perfect sunny spring day with an earlier start at 8 a.m. takes us into Krems proper (our hotel was on the outskirts, overlooking wine terraces). First a scramble up cobbled lanes to the Piarist’s Church, where the 1875 Capeck organ, recently restored by the Swiss firm of Kuhn, beguiled with its sweet romantic warmth, though not lacking either brilliance or clarity. Then a tumble down the hill to the city Parish Church. The large, eclectic Hradetzky organ, three times as large as the Capek, was impressive for its bold variety, but lacked charm. In both cases, the resident organist, Ronald Peter (who dashes between churches to cover Sunday services) was our musician.

 

Next we boarded a river cruiser for the three-hour trip up river to Melk. Being on the water, coasting through verdant, scenic wine country, several evocative castle ruins, and two of the churches we’d visited the previous day…seen from a different perspective…proved both soothing and exhilarating. The monastery at Melk, the largest and most opulent in Austria, is famous for its library, its winery, and its magnificent worship space, ripe with ornate decorative details, paintings, gold highlights, and an historic organ case into which Gregor Hradetzky built his masterpiece in 1976. Father Bruno, who has played here since the sixth grade, provided a brief yet friendly demonstration of the various stops. Our departure was delayed somewhat by a forgotten photographer’s bag left back in the church, but we managed to keep mostly on schedule as we drove to Matzleinsdorf bei Melk nearby.

 

Here, the parishioners decided to expand their little church, but in an unusual way. The addition to their original Baroque building is in a kind of Bauhaus modern style, and to keep with that theme they commissioned the Pieringer organ shop to build a very contemporary instrument to a visual design of architect Michael Kitzinger. It looks like a large rectangular birchwood box, with a few tone openings at the top but otherwise very little representation of organ pipes. Inside this case are 12 ranks of beautifully voiced organ, played from a comfortable console on the side, making a full and colorful impact in the room. The quality of workmanship was exemplary, and again we were charmed by the builder himself, who was present for the demonstration by Wolfgang Kogert.

 

Another hour’s drive through the rolling countryside brought us into Linz, a populous, industrial city where we first visited the large Parish Church. The instrument here, with at least half of its pipe from the 19th century (played by Bruckner, who served here as organist for more than a dozen years), is a new construction by Woehl of Germany. Dark and powerful, it does present a thoughtful player with many beautiful opportunities.

 

Quickly we continued to our hotel, a Marriott Courtyard…contemporary, classy and comfortable, for a delicious meal of cream soup (a kind of spinach-and-garlic), chicken breast with gravy and vegetables, and chocolate cake with whipped cream, which fortified us for the last (6th!) organ of the day, the magnificent 1968 Marcussen with 70 stops at the ‘new’ cathedral, a neo-gothic mammoth completed in 1924. Wolfgang Kreuzhuber, who has served here for nearly 30 years, plays us an intense Bach Fantasy and then an improvised demonstration of all the stops, imaginative and beguiling in his virtuosity. In the darkened room, the sounds were particularly magical…though even the bright of day this organ qualifies as a masterpiece.

 

And now to sleep…

 

Go back to day 2

Go on to day 4