It's a Pipe Dream

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), February 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

It's a Pipe Dream


Byline: Kathryn Williams Reporter kathryn.williams@walesonline.co.uk

IT'S been six years since the organ at Llandaff Cathedral played its last note before a lightning strike ended its life.

But PS1.5m of fundraising later, Llandaff Cathedral now has one of the finest organs in Europe and it's celebrating with a free recital by one of Wales' most distinguished musicians on St David's Day.

Huw Tregelles Williams will perform music by J S Bach, Alexandre Guilmant, William Mathias and Karl Jenkins on the instrument - which boasts 4,870 pipes spread over four manuals and pedals.

The previous organ originated from 1900, and in 1937 it was completely rebuilt for PS1,600.

But the benefits were short-lived when a German landmine devastated the building - and the organ - in 1941.

The cost of rebuilding the cathedral was substantial and when it came to the organ, the War Damage Commission and Board of Trade refused to finance a new instrument, so it underwent a "make do and mend" restoration.

For decades its condition was in decline. Then, following a lightning strike in 2007, it was rendered unusable.

The cathedral had to use a digital organ while it launched an appeal to raise the funds to buy a completely new instrument.

And the result is the largest commissioned for a British cathedral since one was built for Coventry Cathedral - bombed like Llandaff during World War Two - in 1962 and is one of the finest in Europe. …

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