Travel Shot: The “spooky” organ of St. Pierre Cathedral

One of my favourite instruments is the church organ, and I never miss an opportunity to listen to a performance. It is not just the organ’s music, but also the mechanics of the instrument that intrigues and fascinates me. The grandness of the organ never fails to thrill and always sends a delicious shiver down my spine. No visit to a church or a cathedral is complete without me checking out the “resident” organ.

When I checked out the organ at the Cathédrale St. Pierre at Geneve or St. Pierre’s Cathedral at Geneva, Switzerland, a shiver did go down my spine, but for entirely different reasons !

The “spooky” looking organ in the St.Pierre Cathedral at Geneva

The organ had a most unusual design—imposing and spooky at the same time. Set in a Cathedral with a romanesque exterior (complete with a neo-classical façade), and a gothic spire and interiors, the setting was quite dramatic considering the Cathedral’s history.

It’s austere, whitewashed interiors hide colourful and intricate murals and its unadorned, bare walls are mute spectators to the Catholic cleansing that occurred during the Reformation and the subsequent change of the St. Pierre from a Catholic to a Protestant place of worship. Only the stained glass windows were left untouched. As for the organ, it was deemed too grand and unsuitable for Protestantism. According to the Cathedral’s website, ” The history of the organ of the Cathedral is linked to that of the place, but it is also a reflection of the history of music”.

The St.Pierre Cathedral’s organ was designed by Zurich Metzler and Danish Andersen, and installed in 1965 to “to address the return to authentic performances of baroque and classical works”. The bloody and violent history of the Reformation and Protestantism and the organ design do make for an interesting combination.

I can’t attest to the quality of sound or music of the organ as I did not get an opportunity to hear a performance. But I can definitely attest for its spookiness and my echoing steps in the deep, cavernous, austere and practically empty interiors of the St.Pierre Cathedral only added to the entire effect.

18 thoughts on “Travel Shot: The “spooky” organ of St. Pierre Cathedral

  1. It is spooky and I love church organs – for the mechanics involved and I like their sound too 🙂

    You’ve traveled so much, oh I go green with envy when i read your accounts and look at the pictures.

    Keep doing it so armchair travelers like me can enjoy the experience via you.

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    1. I’m so happy you liked it. Don’t be jealous that I have travelled so much, I have miles and miles to go… As as for armchair travellers, I’l be pleased to oblige 🙂

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    1. Welcome here and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have been to quite a few churches myself, but have never seen one like this organ. I haven’t attended an organ music festival, but did attend a organ playing competition at the Marylebone church in London.

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    1. Thank you very much, fellow armchair traveller 🙂 I missed hearing the organ music as I arrived after the Sunday service was over. I have been told that it is a magnificent piece and there is an annual organ music festival held ever year at the St.Pierre Cathedral. I hope to visit the place once again, but then there are so many places more to see and so many places that I want to visit that I wonder if this lifetime will be enough !

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