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The organ of Riga Dom Cathedral

E.F.Walcker & Co, 124/IV/P, 1884, op.413

Click here for a concert schedule in Riga Dom.

Stately and majestically the towers of the city of Riga stretch up into the skies reflecting in waters of the Daugava river. Among others, weighty and solid stands the tower of the Riga Dom Cathedral, having outlived centuries.

The curved arches have been echoing the sound of the organ already since the 16th century or, perhaps, even earlier. The masters of Riga have changed, the clergy at the Riga Dom have changed, and the language and traditions of services have changed. And only the organ has not changed its fundamental nature, be that in a quiet prayer, strong belief or in joyful exultation, its voices have always been echoing eternity.

The first Riga Dom organ worthy of notice was built in 1601. The organ facade designed by the organ builder Jacob Raab now makes the central part of the facade of the existing organ. In the course of development the prospect has been extended together with the extension of the instrument. The prospect we set our eyes on today was admired also by public and guests of Riga having gathered for the consecration of teh new Dom organ and first concerts in 1884. Riga had obtained an instrument, with good reason prouding itself upon to this very day - an organ built by the famous German organ building company E.F.Walcker & Co, being the greatest and most modern in Europe at that time. Although he has never been here, Franz Liszt knew this instrument pretty well; he wrote a chorale "Nun danket alle Gott" to the event of dedication of the organ.

Playing the Riga Dom organ, finding common with the lines of black&white keys of the four manuals and with the pedal keyboard, or discovering the neccessary and most appropriate stop combinations to each passage of a composition - that is a superb and wonderful experience to every organist. Because there are not so many romantic instruments of that kind remained elsewhere in Europe, having retained their original and unique sound. A good organ lends wings to the performer, but a good performer together with the sound of the organ lends wings to us - the listeners. A good performer inspires our imagination, our feelings and spirit. A number of world-famous organists have been performing at the Riga Dome organ: M.Duruflé, E.Gigout and J.J.Grünenwald (France), F.Peeters and J.Sluise (Sluys?) (Belgium), N.Rostorn and J.Dalton (England), A.Webbersinke and H.Kollum (Germany), L.Roizman (Russia), H.Lepnurm (Estonia), E.Kooiman (Netherlands) and many others. Also A.Guilmant has been here on 1884.

The prospect shows just a small part of the 6768 organ pipes. The rest, of different size and different shape, cannot be seen but can be heard. Grouped in 124 stops, and arranged in rows on wind-chest the pipes create the rich colour palette of the romantic organ. The timbral colours of that singing rainbow are most different - bright and softened, tender and harsh, silvery and velvety.

Such very complicated instrument certainly needs appropriate daily care being ensured for years by invisible gnomes - the Riga Dom organ experts. In 1962 teh organ underwent thorough repairs performed by the German company Hermann Eule, but in 1984 the renovation of the organ, supervised by the Dutch organ building company Flentrop Orgelbow B.V. - Zaandamm was completed, giving back its historical shape and tune, and mentioned at the same time the centenary of that marvelous instrument.

Click on any image to view enlarged version

Riga Dom Cathedral
Riga Dom Cathedral

Cathedral inside
Interior of the Cathedral

Organ facade
Facade of the organ

Main console
Main console

Main console - another view
Main console - another view

Second console that controls 4th manual and swellpedal
Second console that controls 4th manual and swellpedal (remember, it's mechanical instrument!)

Opened view of <em>Physharmonika 8'</em> stop
Opened view of Physharmonika 8' stop - it is reed voice without resonators

 

Specification:

E.F.Walcker & Co, Ludwigsburg
Opus 413, 1883.
I Manual ( C - f3)	    II Manual		      III Manual	
			  
41 Principal         16	    84 Geigenprincipal  16     62 Salicional       16
40 Flauto major      16	    85 Bourdon          16     63 Liebl.Gedeckt    16
39 Viola di Gamba    16	    86 Principal         8     64 Geigenprincipal   8
51 Octav              8	    87 Fugara            8     65 Viola damour      8
50 Hohlflöte          8	    88 Spitzflöte        8     66 Wienerfloete      8
49 Viola di Gambe     8	    89 Rohrflöte         8     67 Gedeckt           8
48 Doppelfloete       8	    90 Concertfloete     8     68 Salicional        8
47 Gemshorn           8	    91 Liebl.Gedeckt     8     70 Harmonika         8
46 Quintatön          8	    92 Viola di Alta     8     52 Bourdon decho     8
45 Bourdon            8	    93 Dolce             8     69 Bifra           8&4
44 Dulcian            8	    99 Principal         4     76 Geigenprincipal   4
56 Quinte         5 1/3	   100 Fugara            4     77 Spitzfloete       4
31 Octav              4	   101 Salicet           4     71 Traversfloete     4
30 Gemshorn           4	   102 Flauto dolce      4     72 Dolce             4
29 Gamba              4	    80 Quinte        2 2/3     78 Piccolo           2
28 Hohlflöte          4	   103 Superoctav        2     79 Mixtur 2 2/3,4 fach
27 Rohrflöte          4	   104 Waldflöte         2     74 Basson            8
55 Terz           3 1/5	    81 Terz          1 1/3     75 Clarinette        8
54 Quinte         2 2/3	               (rep.ab c3)     73 Vox humana        8
53 Octav              2	    94 Sexquialtera 2 2/3,     42 Tremolo Vox humana  
26 Superoctav         1                     2 fach      
57 Sexquialtera  5 1/3,	    82 Mixtur 2 2/3,4 fach       (Bifra = 67+72)
                 2 fach	    83 Cornett   8, 5 fach
59 Cornett    8, 5 fach	                   (ab g0)  
                (ab c0)	    95 Aeolodicon       16
60 Mixtur     4, 6 fach	    96 Ophycleide        8
58 Scharff  1 1/3,4fach	    97 Fagott & Oboë     8
38 Contrafagott      16	    98 Oboë              4
37 Tuba mirabilis     8	    43 Tremolo Oboë      8
36 Trompete harmon.   8	           (97 + Tremolo)    
35 Coranglais         8    
34 Euphon             8	     (Sexquialtera=80+81)
33 Clairon            4
32 Cornettino         2
                            Pedal (C - d1)             Schwellpedalregistern 
   (Sexquialtera=56+55)                                (Im Schwellwerk auf    
                           116 Principalbaß     32      der unteren Empore)
                           117 Octavbaß         16
IV Manual - Schwellwerk    118 Violonbaß        16     25 Violon           16 
(auf der unteren Empore)   119 Kontraviolonbaß  16     24 Bourdon 	   16
                           120 Subbaß           16     13 Violon	    8
10 Quintatön         16    121 Floetenbaß       16     14 Dolceflöte	    8
 9 Floetenprincipal   8    122 Gedecktbaß       16     12 Viola 	    4
 6 Melodica           8    123 Quintbaß     10 2/3     11 Flautino	    2
 5 Flüte d'amour           105 Octavbaß          8     23 Serpent	   16
        traversiere   8    106 Hohlflötenbaß     8     22 Bassethorn 	    8
 4 Bourdon doux       8    107 Gedecktbaß        8
 3 Aeoline            8    108 Violoncello       8
20 Voix céleste       8    124 Terzbaß       6 2/5     Koppeln (Druckknöpfen)
 8 Unda maris         8    113 Octavbaß          4     
21 Viola Tremolo      8    114 Hohlflöte         4     II/I     III/I     IV/I
 7 Piffaro        8 & 2    115 Octav             2     
19 Floetenprincipal   4    125 Sexquialtera 10 2/3,    II,III,IV/I
18 Gedecktfloete      4                     2 fach
17 Vox angelica       4    126 Mixtur  5 1/3, 5 f.     III/II   IV/II
16 Salicet            2     61 Grand Bourdon    32 
15 Harmonia aetheria           (kombiniert) 5 fach     I/P  II/P  III/P  IV/P 
         2 2/3,  3 fach    109 Bombardon        32 
 2 Trompete           8    110 Posaunenbaß      16     I-IV/P
 1 Physharmonika      8    111 Trompete          8
                           112 Cornobaßo         4     P/I ("noli me tangere")
  (Unda maris = 5+6
   Viola Tremolo = 3+20    (Sexquialtera = 123+124,
   Piffaro = 4+16)          Grand Bourdon = 
                             =116+105+113+123+124)

Thanks to organist Talivaldis Deksnis for the stoplist.