EUROPA 2014 - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

EUROPA 2014 - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS  

The “Europa” issue for this year is dedicated to musical instruments. Their extraordinary richness is a clear sign of human ability and creativity. In the Catholic Church music has always played an important role, especially in religious functions. The importance of this theme emerged during the work of the Second Vatican Council which in one of its documents notes that the most appropriate musical instrument for sacred use is the pipe organ. The musical instrument can add “a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things”, both in accompanying music which is sung or music performed on its own. The Philatelic Office will dedicate its postage stamp issue to this beautiful musical instrument. In particular, one of the two values will feature the Biagi organ in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and the other the organ in use in St. Peter’s Basilica. The first one made by Luca Biagi (1548-1608) is a true masterpiece of art and technique. The decoration is made by Giovan Battista Montano, who carried out the design by Giacomo Della Porta on sculpted and painted wood. The work is composed of three sections, divided by columns with spiral designs. The central section is the largest and the ones on either side are identical. All three sections feature a tripartite design of their own and above each is a statute: on the left, the Archangel Gabriel; in the center, God the Father blessing; on the right, the Virgin Mary. The second organ is found in the Choir Chapel on the left side of the nave in front of another older pipe organ. It was built by the Tamburini company in 1974 in the empty space created by the relocation of the choir gallery, and it is used for all the solemn ceremonies in the Vatican Basilica, especially those celebrated by the Pope.