Another stop on our Austrian holiday was the city of Kufstein. Our hosts told us that we couldn’t miss the noon performance of one of the largest open-air pipe organs in the world. Only too happy to follow their recommendation, we all hopped into the car and made our way to Kufstein. Hurrying up a short hill to the base of Kufstein fortress where the organ recital was, we soon found that we needed to pay a small admittance fee to attend the noon performance. Not having quite enough money in our pockets, our host ran back to the car to fetch a bit more cash, returning just in time for the performance.
Now let me tell you – this performance was no ordinary organ recital. Like I said, this is the largest open-air organ in the world, the so-called “Heldenorgel”(Hero’s Organ). It features 4,307 pipes as well as 4 registers. The organ is played daily at noon, in memory of soldiers killed in World War I and II and can be heard throughout the entire city. In fact, it is said that the sound of the organ can be heard within an eight mile radius.
The recital pieces were beautiful but what I found especially moving was the final piece – the same piece played every day in memory of those fallen soldiers. Reflecting on those who’ve given their lives to protect their homelands while this piece was played, knowing it is played every day, brought tears to my eyes.
We also took the time to tour Tratzberg Castle in Jenbach as well as a couple of churches during our day trip.