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organ 180

June 2017

3 manuals
58 speaking stops

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St Giles'




Rieger Orgelbau, 1992

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OrganFest 2016 in Edinburgh opened with a celebrity recital on the Rieger organ of St Giles' Cathedral given by Professor Ullrich Bรถhme (right) of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach was Kappellmeister.

The organ replaced a previous instrument of 1940 by Willis III. The Pedal Open Wood 16ft and Bombarde 32ft were retained, together with the bottom seven pipes of the Double Open Wood 32ft that form the bass of the Untersatz 32ft.   Otherwise, the organ is entirely new and has mechanical key and stop action. The louvered top of the central pipe tower contains a chromatic ring of 37 Whitechapel bells.  

The cathedral choir comprises 30 adult singers drawn from a wide variety of walks of life from within the city and further afield.  They sing at civic and national occasions in addition to the regular two Sunday choral services.  The present Master of the Music is Michael Harris.

Often referred to as the Mother Church of world Presbyterianism, the origins of St Giles' date back to 1124; but the oldest parts of the present building, inlcuding the nave and chancel, date from the 14th century after (according to tradition) the original church was burned down by an invading English army.  Alternatively named as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is situated on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Take a quick video tour of the cathedral.

You can listen to an audio recording of this organ as June 17's Music of the Month.

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