As work begins on the ambitious 18 month project to re-pitch all 5286 pipes of its magnificent Hill organ, Peterborough Cathedral is inviting viewers to follow the story in a series of short videos called “Pipewatch”.
The first in the series, released this week, takes a tour amongst the pipes with Director of Music, Steven Grahl. He describes the dazzling array of pipes inside the instrument, and leads a journey around the workings of the organ. He also shows viewers one set of 16 foot Pedal Pipes and, further west in the Cathedral, the 32 foot Open Wood pipes which are so tall that they have to lie horizontally along the floor above the choir stalls and nave.
Also interviewed in the video is Grammy Award winning international choral conductor David Hill, who was Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral when the organ there was re-pitched during the 1980s.
The work is being carried out by specialist organ builders, Harrison and Harrison of Durham. Most of the pipes will be removed to their workshop and one of the videos in the series will visit the workshop and interview some of the highly skilled craftspeople involved.
The Very Rev Charles Taylor, Dean of Peterborough Cathedral, said: “Much of the painstaking work on the re-pitch will go on either above eye level in the Cathedral or off site at Harrisons’ workshop in Durham, so we wanted to give people the opportunity to see something of the extraordinary skill involved and also to share our enthusiasm for the project.
“Once the organ is at standard concert pitch we will be able to use it with orchestras and brass bands, and to train the young people who become choristers to sing at the same pitch as the music they hear elsewhere. These things, combined with the proposed Cathedral and Community Music School in the Precincts, mean sharing our resources and enabling more people in the city of Peterborough and beyond to take part in excellent music.”
Whilst the organ is being worked on an electronic instrument will be used so that worship and events at the Cathedral can continue uninterrupted as far as possible.
To view the videos, visit http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/pipewatch.aspx