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Poland: Differing Styles In Wroclaw


DaveHarries
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Hi,

 

I have just come back from a long weekend in the lovely Polish city of Wroclaw. The city is packed with nice churches but many date from 1945 or later, at least as far as the interior of them is concerned, because the city was heavily bombed in Wrold War 2. This was my second visit to the city: I had been in the third week of June. The visit this time was to meet my nephew who is 6 weeks old: I hadn't seen him yet as his parents, and hence him as well, live over there. It is undoubtedly one of the nicest cities in Europe, IMO.

 

Here are some organ photos from the city taken during my two visits there.

 

First up is the cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The cathedral was 70-80% destroyed in World War 2 with only the walls left standing. The restoration of the cathedral after the war was meticulous and very thorough. The organ here is, from what I understand, the largest in Poland. I went to the 10:30am service on Sunday 10th August and the sound from the instrument was superb. It should be noted that the pulpit escaped the devastation caused by the bombs in the war.

 

Photo: http://churchorgans.fotopic.net/p52657247.html

 

Not very far from the cathedral is the church of St. Elizabeth. This church is a real mixed bag. The main part of it was wrecked in World War 2 (as was much of the city). But again, instead of the modern "architecture" that has been seen in some English cities, the restoration / rebuilding of the church after the war has been excellently done. I took this picture on the Sunday. I would have taken it before but I forgot my camera. The organist and a trumpet player were practising in advance of a wedding booked for that afternoon. They played Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary" (aka. Prince of Denmark's March) and JS Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring". The combination of the two was superb.

 

Photo: http://churchorgans.fotopic.net/p52657089.html

 

Not far from the apartment where I was staying with my parents is the small University Church. This was founded as a Jesuit church. This church is worth a visit even if organs are not your interest: the cieling is richly decorated, there are 6 side chapels. The church was hit by two bombs in World War 2 but this did not destroy the church and the interior, where restoration wasn't needed, is entirely original.

 

The organ here is the only Wroclaw organ on which I have any information. The original organ was built by I. Mentzel in 1700 when the Jesuits still had the church. It had 1 manual, Pedals and 15 stops. Since the church became part of the University (not sure when that was) the organ was rebuilt by W. Sauer & O. Walcker in 1926 as Opus 1317. It now has 3 manuals, Pedals and 50 speaking stops. There was an organ festival on in the church and a recital was given on Sunday 10th August by Boguslaw Raba (organ) & Bolette Roed (flute). Info on builders taken from the festival programme. Quite a loud instrument.

 

Photo: http://churchorgans.fotopic.net/p52658247.html

 

As an aside, if the paintings tempt anyone to find more photos of the church, I have some at http://davespix.fotopic.net/c1529295.html - go to the second page.

 

For my last organ we go back to the church of St. Elizabeth. The main part of the church, as previously mentioned, was wrecked in World War 2. However the side chapel somehow escaped any form of damage in the bombing and survives intact. The chapel houses a small instrument.

 

Photo: http://churchorgans.fotopic.net/p52657090.html

 

I am guessing that this small organ would be of Italian / German origin and probably dates from about the 1700s.

 

I am hoping that someone out there can give me more info on those organs for which I have no dates or builders: info much appreciated. I would be especially gad for any more info on the small organ at St. Elizabeth's or any ideas as to its origins. In the meantime, enjoy the photos.

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...
First up is the cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The cathedral was 70-80% destroyed in World War 2 with only the walls left standing. The restoration of the cathedral after the war was meticulous and very thorough. The organ here is, from what I understand, the largest in Poland. I went to the 10:30am service on Sunday 10th August and the sound from the instrument was superb. It should be noted that the pulpit escaped the devastation caused by the bombs in the war.

 

I am hoping that someone out there can give me more info on those organs for which I have no dates or builders: info much appreciated. I would be especially gad for any more info on the small organ at St. Elizabeth's or any ideas as to its origins. In the meantime, enjoy the photos.

 

Dave

 

I believe I'm right in saying that some of the pipework from the gigantic Sauer organ in the Jahrhunderthalle in Breslau (as it was then called) found its way into the Cathedral after the war.

 

I have the the commemorative brochure from 1913 (Die Riesenorgel von Breslau) - 5 manuals, 200 speaking stops and 15,000 pipes. It was for the opening of this instrument that Max Reger composed his Introduction, Passacglia & Fugue in E minor Op 127.

 

The Jahrhunderthalle, re-named Hala Stulecia, survived the war but is today presumably organ-less. The 65m wide concrete span of the dome must have been a remarkable feat of engineering for its time. It must be one of the few buildings in which both Adolf Hitler and Pope John-Paul II addressed the faithful.

 

According to Wikipedia (German edition) the Cathedral organ has 150 speaking stops and 13,000 pipes.

 

JS

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I believe I'm right in saying that some of the pipework from the gigantic Sauer organ in the Jahrhunderthalle in Breslau (as it was then called) found its way into the Cathedral after the war.

 

I have the the commemorative brochure from 1913 (Die Riesenorgel von Breslau) - 5 manuals, 200 speaking stops and 15,000 pipes. It was for the opening of this instrument that Max Reger composed his Introduction, Passacglia & Fugue in E minor Op 127.

 

The Jahrhunderthalle, re-named Hala Stulecia, survived the war but is today presumably organ-less. The 65m wide concrete span of the dome must have been a remarkable feat of engineering for its time. It must be one of the few buildings in which both Adolf Hitler and Pope John-Paul II addressed the faithful.

 

According to Wikipedia (German edition) the Cathedral organ has 150 speaking stops and 13,000 pipes.

 

JS

 

Read more about it here.

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Read more about it here.

Just found this useful website which, if you can read Polish, confirms the information as well as providing data on the other organs mentioned in my post. For info on Wroclaw Cathedral: http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=12

 

Or, for the parent site which seems to cover much of Poland: http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php (click on the location you want to look up).

 

I can't see how they squeeze 13,000+ pipes into the space on the balcony in the Cathedral: leads me to think that some pipes are in other parts of the cathedral.

 

Dave

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