The Woodland Crematorium Organs

Photo: Mattias Ek

The Chapels of Faith, Hope and the Holy Cross each have a unique, Functionalist-inspired organ. They were in use until the late 1980s when they were replaced by a digital system. The plan is to restore the organs.

The pipe organ was invented in the days of the Roman empire, around 250 BCE. In the Middle Ages organs were necessary components of churches and cathedrals. In Protestant tradition, the organ had a central role in church services and in the 17th century, an organ adapted for psalm music was developed to accompany choir song. In Sweden, organ building was further developed in the 19th century by Per Larsson Åkerman and Carl Johan Lund among others.

The Crematorium’s organs

The Crematorium’s three organs were designed by Asplund in collaboration with Professor Oskar Lindberg and built by Åkerman & Lunds Nya Orgelfabriks AB.

The organs were placed in full view, asymmetrical to the protruding iron beams with hanging supports. They were a major decorative detail in the chapel rooms.

The unusual modern style lacks a covering façade. The mechanical parts are all visible: wind trunks (supplying air to the pipes), bellows, air ducts and organ pipes. The sound is electrically and magnetically amplified from a console and transmitted pneumatically to the pipes, giving the sound its special character.

The air ducts and bellows are elegantly tooled in hickory.

When no one was left who could service the organs they were replaced by Allen system organs with a digital console and loudspeakers hidden in the organs.

The original organs are to be made functional again. Their unique tone will enrich the experience of the space in the way that Gunnar Asplund intended.

The Woodland Cemetery 100 years

Skogskyrkogården, The Woodland Cemetery, celebrates its 100th anniversary with a new outdoor exhibition. September 19—November 1, 2020. Free admission.