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The organ at St. Stephens Cathedral
The first mention of an organ at St. Stephen's dates back to 1334. In 1513 the organ was resited with the addition of a magnificent organ case created by master craftsman Anton Pilgram.
In 1507 master craftsman Burchhard Tischlinger from Bolzano created the "large" organ on the Füchsel baldachin next to the sacristy, the Cathedral's best-known organ.
As the influence of the Baroque took hold at the Cathedral,a ten-register choir organ by Imperial organ builder Ferdinand Römer was installed above the old choir stalls in 1701, followed by the large 32-register Römer organ in the western loft in 1720.
In 1797 the two oldest organs were removed to be replaced with a large, 41-register organ which was installed in the western loft.
In 1886 Friedrich Walcker created his famous 90-register Giant Organ (named after the Giants' Gate entrance below the western loft) behind the frontage of the Römer organ. The instrument was lost in the fire at the Cathedral in 1945. Its little sister, the valuable Walcker organ can still be heard at Vienna's Votivkirche.
After the fire in 1945 Vienna organ builder Johann Michael Kauffmann created an electric choir organ from1948-1952. He also created another organ on the western loft with funds raised from donations. This large organ comprised 4 manuals, 125 registers and around 10,000 pipes. At the time of construction the organ was one of the last to be built with electronic con-valve chests . The organ façade is one of the most remarkable examples of an exposed pipe façade in the world. The instrument was decommissioned once the new Cathedral organ was completed.
The liturgical constitution of the Second Vatican Council deemed sacred music a "necessary and integrated element" of mass, according it a new status. This also had implications for St. Stephen's Cathedral. In 1991 a new Cathedral organ was installed in the south (right-hand) aisle close to the crossing. The new instrument created by Vorarlberg organ builder Rieger has 55 registers and four manuals. This modern universal organ consists of a Baroque positive with swell function, and a romantic Schwellwerk and Hauptwerk. The mixture comprises the Solowerk with Trompete, Clairon and Cornett.