The Organ

The organs of the Storkyrkan, Stockholm

Stockholm's Storkyrkan ("big church" or cathedral) can be found on the island of Gamla Stan, near the Royal Palace and the old town. It feels small by cathedral standards, possibly because it is built of warm red brick with no clerestory over the nave. It has two pipe organs, both by Marcussen & Son of Denmark.

Picture of Storkyrkan


Stor Orgel

Picture of the 1796 case of the main organ The main organ sits above the West doorway, on a wide balcony that stretches into the aisles. The case is ornately decorated and gilded, dating from Olof Schwan's 1796 instrument. That instrument, itself a replacement, was romanticised in the 19th century, before being almost completely replaced again in 1960 by Marcussen's four manual organ. The Svllverk has a few stops from the earlier instrument, but the overall character of this 53 stop, 78 rank instrument is unmistakeably twentieth century neo-classical.

The action, key and stop, is all mechanical, and the few couplers are activated by toe pedals. There are no playing aids whatsoever, so playing the organ requires not only some strength when all couplers are engaged, but also a registrant for any non-trivial works. Perhaps surprisingly, the Svllverk almost beats the Huvudverk for volume, and adds a distinctive extra something to full organ. The organ also has a number of good quiet effects. Yes, the Ryggpositiv Gedackt has a lot of chiff, and the Brstverk is of questionable use (particularly the Klockcymbel, which is best used to deter bats from roosting in the organ), but this is a distinctive and versatile instrument aging rather better than many of its contemporaries. There is simply nothing to go wrong - no experimental action or materials, no composition system to fail - indeed, probably nothing that Olof Schwan would not recognise, apart from the TV monitor.

Manual 1 (Ryggpositiv)
Gedackt 8'
Quintadena 8'
Principal 4'
Koppelfljt 4'
Oktava 2'
Nasat 11/3'
Sesquialtera 2 chor
Scharf 4-5 chor
Krumhorn 8'
Manual II (Huvudverk)
Gedacktpommer 16'
Principal 8'
Rrfljt 8'
Oktava 4'
Spetsfljt 4'
Quinta 22/3'
Oktava 2'
Cornett 3 chor
Mixtur 6-8 chor
Quintcymbel 3 chor
Trumpet 8'
Manual III (Svllverk)
Borduna 16'
Traversfljt 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Oktava 4'
Rrgedackt 4'
Spetsquint 22/3'
Piccola 2'
Ters 13/5'
Mixtur 5 chor
Terscymbel 3 chor
Fagott 16'
Trumpet harmonique 8'
Oboe 8'
Skalmeja 4'
Manual IV (Brstverk)
Gedackt 8'
Rrfljt 4'
Principal 2'
Waldfljt 2'
Blockfljt 1'
Klockcymbel 2 chor
Vox Humana 16'
Pedal Koppel (Coupler pedals)
Untersatz 32'
Principal 16'
Subbas 16'
Oktava 8'
Gedackt 8'
Oktava 4'
Nachthorn 2'
Mixtur 7 chor
Kontrafagott 32'
Basun 16'
Trumpet 8'
Trumpet 4'

Chor Orgel

Picture of 1955 Marcussen single manual choir organ
Gedackt 8', Rrfljt 4', Principal 2', Gedackt-fljt 2', Nasat 11/3', Cymbel 1 chor, Regal 16'

The second organ in the Storkyrkan is a small mobile one manual, from 1955. It is usually situated by the altar at the East end of the church. I didn't hear this organ, but its sound will have given the congregation a taste of what was to come when the great organ was completed. All the stops are divided across its 58 note compass.

Picture of Hkan Martinsson

My thanks go to cathedral organist Hkan Martinsson, pictured at the console of the Stor Orgel.

Alastair Disley