Riga Cathedral organ is considered to be one of the world's most valuable historic organs. It was built in 1883- 1884 by a famous German organ building company E. F. Walcker & Co.Riga Cathedral organ in an early 20th century drawing
Riga Cathedral organ has 124 stops, 4 manuals and pedals, 6718 pipes of different size and material that are placed on 26 wind chests. The pipes are made of different woods: pine, fir, maple, oak, beech, and pear, as well as of different metal alloys, like tin and lead alloys of varying proportions. Pipes also vary as to their size - the longest being about 10 m and the shortest only 13 mm long.
The organ has two consoles that are located in two galleries. The big console in the upper gallery has four manuals. On both sides of the manuals there are stop shutters.Console
The small console is in the lower gallery and its keyboard duplicates the fourth manual of the big console.
Riga Cathedral organ represents top quality both in its technical and artistic performance and rightly belongs to the highest organ building achievements dating to the period of late Romanticism. It also belongs to the most valuable historic organs in the world and its worth and significance can be measured in several dimensions.
The quality of its technical and artistic performance is rated among the highest. The organ is one of the greatest achievements in the art of organ building characteristic of late Romanticism. Compared to other most valuable instruments dating to different epochs, like Silbermann's Organ in Freiberg Dom or Schnitger's Organ in Jacobikirche, Hamburg, Riga Cathedral Organ can definitely be placed among the most outstanding instruments.
Listening to the magnificence and beauty of Riga Cathedral Organ with its excellent acoustic qualities is an incredible and unsurpassed experience. It touches and thrills all the listeners and leaves a truly lasting impression on everybody. It keeps inviting to Riga music lovers from all over the world.
Riga Cathedral organ is an outstanding monument of music history. It has been closely linked with the most prominent Latvian organ players and composers in the last 120 years and has influenced the development of organ music in Latvia more than any other instrument. Ferenz List, one of the most outstanding musicians of the 19th century, composed a special piece dedicated to the organ Nun danket alle Gott.
All the organ players who have ever performed on this exceptional instrument have not only acknowledged the unique opportunity, but have also immersed into mastering the extraordinary qualities of the organ so that they can convey the beauty, variety and stylistic uniqueness of its sound further to listeners.
Riga Cathedral organ has been repeatedly transformed, reconstructed and restored.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the lower gallery was dismantled and the pipes located there were reinstalled at the very top of the organ.
In 1962 Riga Cathedral was altered into a concert hall and the company Hermann Eule made new pipes for the organ to replace the missing pipes lost in WW II. However, the newly-made pipes differed from the original ones in size, as well as in some elements of the design.
From 1981 to 1984, a Dutch company Flentrop -Orgelbouw b.v. Zaandam performed a full reconstruction and renovation of the instrument restoring Riga Cathedral organ to its original layout on two galleries.