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Vienna St. Stephen's Cathedral

- with Konstantin Reymaier

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Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Vienna, Domkirche St. Stephan, Rieger organ © Karin Seidl
It is not so long ago that the monumental organ prospect on the west gallery of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna did not produce a single note. In 1991, with the construction of the new choir organ by Rieger, the large Kauffmann organ – which had been built in 1960 – was decommissioned due to its poor condition. It was not until 2020 that the technical rebuilding was completed by the Rieger company, using all the historic stops as well as the listed facade. Therefore, with 130 stops over five manuals and pedal today, the organ more than lives up to its nickname “Riesenorgel” (= “giant organ”), even though this name does not refer at all to the size of the instrument, but rather to its location above the so-called “Riesentor” (= “giant gate”), the entrance portal of the cathedral.
The Viennese call their cathedral “Steffl” for short. Its roof, decorated with coloured tiles, is unique with its striking zigzag pattern and the coats of arms of the emperor, the city and the republic. Visible from afar is the 136-metre-high south tower, a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Due to the long construction period since the 13th century, Romanesque and Gothic features with additions from later times combine at St. Stephen’s Cathedral to form an imposing place of worship. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and many other Viennese composers have visited it, if not performed in it. In its richly decorated interior, the “Steffl” therefore preserves the heritage of Vienna as a city of music.
Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Austria, Wiener Stephansdom © Bernhard Luck
Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral – with Konstantin Reymaier
Konstantin Reymair © Nelo Ruber
Konstantin Reymaier likes to show himself in photos at lofty heights in front of or above the roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Since 2016, he has been Vienna’s cathedral organist , making one of the most powerful church organs in Europe sound. Reymaier spent several years as a church musician in Oxford and Cambridge and as a visiting professor for organ and improvisation in Graz. After that, he entered the Viennese seminary and has been a Catholic priest since 2009. As head of the Department for Church Music of the Archdiocese of Vienna, he is not only familiar with organs of all kinds, but also with the appropriate repertoire. In his view, both the priestly activity of the spiritual counsellor, as well as that of the musician requires one thing above all: Attentive listening!

Vienna St. Stephen's Cathedral

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