IT is the grandest, and almost certainly the largest, musical instrument in Yorkshire and the fact that it is, for the first time in a century, being stripped down and made new is a matter for rejoicing.
In an age of manufactured, electronic sounds, the majestic, hand-crafted organ within York Minster is a reminder of the craftsmanship of a bygone age. Happily, the skills endure, and there remains a tangible link to the past: the firm undertaking the work was also on hand in 1918 to add the instrument’s grandest stop, the Tuba Mirabilis.
Those pipes are among the 5,403 that are being removed and transported, over the course of weeks, for retuning. It will take 18 months to complete the work, and in the meantime, a borrowed grand piano and two portable organs will have to do.
Organ music has been at the heart of worship in York for a millennium and the work now being undertaken will ensure that it remains so for centuries to come.