The refurbished Cathedral of St. Paul pipe organs come to life

Crew members from Geoff’s Woodworking in Richmond, Calf. assemble the wood casements that will surround the refurbished organ pipes at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

As you may have heard on MPR’s Morning Edition, there was a standing room only crowd inside the Cathedral of St. Paul Thursday night at the inaugural recital for the Cathedral’s two refurbished pipe organs.

Over the last three years, those organs were taken completely apart and cleaned, the leather windchests were replaced and more than 1,000 pipes were added. The Cathedral Heritage Foundation raised $3.4 million dollars to pay for the restoration.

Oliver Latry, one of the world’s leading organists, traveled to St. Paul from Paris to try out the instruments for the first time. He began the recital with Alexandre Guilmant’s Final (from Sonata No. 1). Listen here:

  1. Listen Oliver Latry plays Alexandre Guilmant’s Final

    Oct, 25, 2013

A few interesting facts about the organs:

• There are 5,566 pipes between the two organs
• The lowest pitch is produced by a pipe that is 32 feet long
• The new wood casework around the pipes is based on designs by the Cathedral’s original architect, Emmanuel Masqueray

MPR News reporter Dan Olson visited the Cathedral when the new consoles were being installed. An excerpt from his report (listen to the rest here):

Master Carver Ian Aggrell and his team in a Richmond, Calif., workshop, carved the 15,000 pounds of wood casements.

“All of this, every inch of it, is new. I expect it to be around for hundreds of years. There’s no reason why it won’t be,” he said.