08 Nov 2016

High note for Cathedral pipe organ


MEDIA RELEASE – Tuesday November 8, 2016


A unique French-Canadian pipe organ will be played in the southern hemisphere for the first time this Sunday (November 13) at a commissioning Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Adelaide.

The instrument was built in 1927 by renowned organ builders the Casavant Brothers for the St Jean de la Croix Church in Montreal, Canada.

The pipe organ was removed when the Montreal church closed in the early 2000s and was brought to Australia by Melbourne organ specialist Mr Ian Wakeley on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Consisting of just under 3500 pipes and weighing 16 tonnes, the pipe organ was installed in the refurbished loft of the Cathedral with locally-made timber casework  enhancing the historic interior of the building.

The instrument has been described as “exceptional” with a sound never before heard in Australia.

Mr John Maidment OAM, from the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, said it would be a “wonderful complement to the other organs in Australia”.

“It is the only example of an organ of this kind built on the American continent in the inter-war years to come to Australia,” Mr Maidment said.

The organ will be blessed by Archbishop Philip Wilson and will be played for the first time by Dr Joshua van Konkelenberg.

Dr Konkelenberg, who studied at the Royal College of Music in London and is principal organist at St Peter’s Cathedral, will also play the instrument at the launch recital on Tuesday November 15.

He described the instrument as “superb”, with “distinct yet complimentary French sounds".

"It has real power and character, and will make a fine concert and litugical instrument," he said.

The restoration and installation of the Casavant Freres pipe organ was funded by individuals and groups in the Catholic community through the Cathedral Restoration Appeal, a partnership with the National Trust South Australia.

WHAT: Blessing of the 1927 Casavant Freres pipe organ
WHERE: St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
WHEN: 11am Sunday November 13

 Pipe organ..pdf

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