VIDEO: A close look at the pipe organ and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

The Second Vatican Council said that the pipe organ had pride of place among all the instruments used in church for sacred music.  The pipe organ is the “king of instruments”.

Here is a super-geeky close examination of the massive pipe organs in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, certainly one of the grandest churches in these USA.

Firstly, the close look at the pipes and mechanisms of these organs is pretty amazing. You can learn a lot about how they work from this video.

However, a super benefit of the video is the view of the church. You see the interior of the magnificent basilica from angles that you couldn’t possibly arrive at on your own. Even if you know the church well, this video will still delight.

Check it out.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. brasscow says:

    Bob Heil (ham radio Bob) used to do organ work in St Louis. Wonder if he ever worked on this one.

  2. W0BPH says:

    Growing up in StL, I have a lot of connections to that Cathedral, including my confirmation! Thank you for sharing these great videos! I have always wondered what everything would look like from the gallery level.

  3. jaykay says:

    That was a really informative video, and WHAT a tremendous instrument. I watched it right through, having a bit of a weakness for that sort of thing! And WHAT a stupendous Basilica! I had no idea! In a way, it reminded me of an illustration they used to have (maybe still there?) at the rear of Westminster Cathedral, showing what it should look like if and when the money is ever raised to complete it per the original design.

  4. PostCatholic says:

    There are many musicians here who know: how is this pretty Cathedral for organ acoustics? I’ve been in several that were outstanding and several that were dreadful.

  5. teomatteo says:

    Wonderful. thank you Father Z. Made me wonder about playing bells clarions. Is there that arrangement at the cathedral or no. Where would one get trained to play bells?

  6. Elizabeth R says:

    PostCatholic, I sang in the choir at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for several years (before Covid). While I’m not an organist, what I heard from Horst and Ben was that the acoustics are wonderful IF you know how to use that long reverberation.

  7. Simon_GNR says:

    That organ sounds great to me, but I’m no expert. I love his playing of the Widor Toccata at the end. Not too fast, a mistake many show-off organists make.

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