This book is a selection of more than 330 photographs of the churches and pipe organs of the region of central Europe that at one time was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prior to World War I, Austria, Hungary, and what are now the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with parts of Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Hapsburg family ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1814-1918. During this period many significant composers flourished in the region. Their legacy continues today in many of the major cities where they lived and worked.
Beginning in Budapest and proceeding to Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague, we document some of the magnificent places of worship and organs that reflect the desire to glorify God with their best available musical and artistic talent. We focus on the pipe organ, the pre-eminent sacred instrument since the Middle Ages. The compositions of many great composers were produced for these instruments in their church settings. We document these Sacred Spaces to gain an aesthetic appreciation of the role they played in the composers' creative work.
After a period of neglect and war damage, there is a resurgence of appreciation, energy, and funding to restore some of the historically, architecturally, and aesthetically significant places and their instruments. Many have been restored with sensitivity to historical authenticity–most important for the pipe organs and their acoustical settings. In addition, impressive new structures and pipe organs have been created that carry on the musical traditions of these regions.