Europe´s biggest organ - Cathedral Organ of Saint Steven in Passau
Is it now the largest organ, the largest catholic church organ or the largest cathedral organ in the world that you find in Passau‘s St. Steven‘s Cathedral?
All these definitions once did apply to the organ from the time of its construction in the year 1928 until today. Passau‘s Cathedral organ is now considered the largest catholic church organ in the world and Europe´s biggest organ with its 17.974 pipes and 233 stops. It is nowadays the official number five in the listing of the worldwide largest pipe organs. The organ of the Cathedral of St. Steven is outstandingly unique and truly a technical marvel, with its 17.974 pipes, its 233 ringing registers and its five carillons that could all be played from one console.
The organ consists of five separate parts – the great organ above the main entrance, the epistle and the gospel organ on the western gallery of the aisle, the choir organ at the altar and the echo organ in the attic behind the „Holy Spirit Hole“ in the ceiling in the middle of the nave. The organ‘s muted tones reach the interior through that hole in the ceiling. The largest pipe is more than 11 meters long and weighs 306 kilos. Its deepest tone is almost inaudible with a frequency of 16 Hz. The smallest pipes are 6 mm and their tones are almost to piercingly high for our hearing with a frequency of 16 000 Hz. More than 120 km cable had to be laid in the attic to connect the five organ parts.
The baroque case of the great organ is from the year 1731, the cases of the epistle and the gospel organ are from 1715. Based on the construction of Steinmeier in the years 1924 to 1928, today‘s organ has been restored from 1978 to 1981 by the organ company Eisenbarth that does still maintain it today.
Organ concerts are played at noon (from 12 to 12.30 - duration ca. 30 minutes) from May to October every day except Sundays and holidays. Furthermore are there organ concerts every Thursday (apart from holidays) at 7.30 p.m. (duration ca. 45 – 60 minutes) and at noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Advent and on all weekdays between Christmas and New Year‘s Eve.