Concert on the occasion of restoration of the organ in the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Concert on the occasion of restoration of the organ in the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Minister of Culture Sc. D. Nina Obuljen Koržinek attended on Friday, 30 November 2018 the concert on the occasion of restoration of the organ in the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

The organ in the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Zagreb Upper Town is a great value of Croatian and European cultural heritage, and so the end of their extensive and complete restoration was marked by a solemn concert given by prominent and multiple award winner, leading French organist Thomas Ospital. The concert was held as part of the programme of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Welcoming the audience, the Minister pointed out that historical instruments of unique musical and artistic value are part of inalienable national cultural heritage, and that on a wide range of different historical-stylistic periods they speak in a special way about the material and spiritual good of a nation. With a comprehensive restoration and therefore revitalization, they now produce a quality sound acoustically successfully adapted to the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, while the artistic integrity of the instrument is complemented by a unique church wood carving inventory of lavish stucco of a strong artistic impression.

The Minister stressed the importance of the moment of organ take over, as it contributes to the preservation of historical values of the Croatian organ fundus and its continuous protection, which in the European Year of Cultural Heritage, strengthens awareness of our national treasure. Extensive and complete restoration is in itself a significant contribution to the development of contemporary creative dynamics and performing arts in general. Through great commitment of the Ministry of Culture the protection of the organ, such as the one in the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, in a particular way puts the Republic of Croatia among European organ centres.

A welcome address was given by reverend Vladimir Magić, rector of the academic church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the great support of the Ministry of Culture and to all those who have been involved in the restoration, while  associate professor art. Ante Knešaurek presented the dispositions of the restored organ.

Organ master Anton Škrabl, in whose master workshop in Rogaška Slatina over 360 organs have been restored, said that due to improper remaking, a lot of effort was needed to restore the organ into it initial state. "We have restored all the original parts and replaced the missing parts with new ones, and expanded it for a few missing registers. So, the organ will be able to fulfil its mission“ he said.

Playing on the organ was leading French organ player Thomas Ospital, as of 2015 at the position of organist of the famous parish church Saint-Eustache in Paris and youngest professor in the history of the Conservatoire de Paris. Since 2016 he has been a resident organist at the French radio in Auditorium Radio France.

He played the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdi, Robert Schuman, Franz Liszt and his improvisations of Croatian tunes.

The organ was made around 1830 by Slovene builder Peter Rumpl from Kamnik, redone by F. Heferer in 1891, while its casing probably originates around 1760. Over the past 200 years, the organ underwent major changes, some of which carried out unprofessionally, and time has taken its toll damaging important parts of the organ. (Hina/Ministry of Culture)