The Massive Ruffatti Organ At St. Mary’s In San Francisco: It Will Rock Your World!

September 9, 2009 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook The Massive Ruffatti Organ At St. Mary’s In San Francisco: It Will Rock Your World!on Twitter

I just so happened to be in San Francisco this weekend. I had booked the trip as a small vacation, not realizing that it was the same weekend as PAX, but it looks like things worked out with the swine flu hitting the event and all.

Well, as my wife and I walked the long distance to Japantown (I do a lot of walking in SF because I’m too cheap to pay for a cab), we passed the visually impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary and Gough, which stands as a giant tower surrounded by a parking lot that’s sprawled out around it beneath ground level. A pretty impressive sight from the outside, and even more so inside, where a giant chandelier hangs down from the incredibly high ceiling and a giant “organ island” sprouts from the floor. Yes, an organ island, as you can see in the picture. You should all know how much I love this instrument by now, so you can imagine how excited I was.

Turns out we were in luck because the following day John Hirten would be performing a free concert featuring Mendelssohn and Bach classics. We made our back the next day to hear Hirten speak a bit about the pieces before playing through the three pieces for 45 minutes straight. It was an absolutely amazing performance, and the organ sounded absolutely stunning.

It was seriously one of the coolest performances I’ve ever attended. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in San Francisco on a Sunday, as they have performances on most Sundays. While I said it’s free, they do suggest a $5 donation, but it’s definitely worth the minimal price to hear such an amazing instrument. In the meantime, check out the St. Mary’s Cathedral’s music website where they have a schedule of their upcoming performances.

Are you with me in thinking this organ looks absolutely gnarly? Are you interested in checking it out next time you’re in town?

Also feel free to hit the jump for some of our photos of the organ and the inside of the cathedral.

[Main view of the cathedral from the back]

[A side view of the Ruffatti Organ]

[The control room!]

[The ceiling… oh so high!]

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