How To Build And Enjoy A Really Big Organ

Sorry for the lame-joke headline, but ever since I took pipe-organ lessons as a kid, and played the organ in church, I’ve been subject to such sophomoric remarks and why the hell shouldn’t I inflict them on you? Anyway, I had these silly thoughts while reading about the new pipe organ for the Great Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic. The instrument stands 36 feet high and weighs about 28 tons, with 6,138 pipes and tens of thousands of pieces. Operated both mechanically and electronically, it is as complicated as a small airplane. The instrument is the creation of Austria’s Wendelin Eberle (pictured) and his firm Rieger Orgelbau, based in Schwarzach, in the country’s far west. Mr. Eberle, Rieger’s owner and managing director, works on the design of each organ and supervises a staff of 58. “I’m the mastermind,” he says. I’ll bet.

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