Music has always played an incredibly important role for the Duomo di Milano: for instance, the first reference to the use of the organ within the Cathedral dates back to 1395, when Maestro Monti da Prato played on occasion of the festival of San Giovanni Battista and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul. Furthermore, in the same year, the construction of a new instrument was approved, probably the first of many organs created specifically for the metropolitan church.
The organ currently in use was designed and installed in the 1930s, when it was decided that the two in existence at the time, dating back to the renovation of 1905, would be replaced by one new monumental one.
This was a major project, which began in 1937 and was completed the following year, the complexity of which required the collaboration of two separate renowned organ builders: Mascioni from Cuneo, who had already worked for the Cathedral in the past, overseeing the cleaning and maintenance of the old organs, and Tamburini from Crema.
The instrument was and still is one of the largest in Europe, made up of seven organ bodies, 180 registers, 15,200 pipes, and a single politastiera (multi-manual organ).
The grandeur and importance of the project, which was included in the renovations of the presbytery, required the construction of an incredibly accurate wood mock-up that faithfully reproduced every part of the organ.
The prototype, depicted in this print preserved in the photo library within the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo's Archives, was presented by architect Adolfo Zacchi to the chapter of the Fabbrica del Duomo and to Cardinal Schuster, garnering enthusiastic approval.The restoration of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano's Archives was inaugurated this past 30 May before local and national authorities. Currently the renovated rooms and spaces can be visited during the hours in which the archive is open for consultation, Tuesday through Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm.