Gerhard Aumüller / Friedhelm Brusniak

Organ performance of the 'Te Deum' with kettledrums and trumpets and the organs of the 17th and 18th century in the Hesse-Westphalia region
The ‘Kassel Te Deum’ of 1771

The song book published by Johannes Becker at Kassel in 1771 contains a German version of the Te Deum ("Herr Gott Dich loben wir") which has prompted us to give a brief survey on the musical practice of the Te deum in the neighbouring Westphalian monasteries of Marienmünster, Neuenheerse and Corvey as well as the Hessian residential town of Kassel. More detailed information is given on the musical practice of the Te Deum in the Benedictine monastery of Corvey (near Höxter) and its prestigious organ finished in 1685 by Andreas Schneider. The sculptural work of its case presents the musical instruments used for the Te Deum, such as kettledrums and trumpets. At Kassel, the Hessian capital during the 18th century, performances of the Te Deum have been recorded using different forms of instrumentation, including the organ. The German Te Deum, written by the court organist Johannes Becker, in his hymn book dated 1771, consists in a particular setting for organ with interludia played softly (‘piano’) by kettledrums and trumpets in an echo-like manner. It shows, how the limited modulatory possibilities of drums and trumpets have been utilized to strengthen the harmonic structure at the end of each line and to simultaneously reach the splendour of a “solenne festive music”.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 427-446]


Alexander Fiseisky

The History of the Organ and Organ Music in Estonia

The first documented reference to organs in Estonian territories dates from 1329. Some years later (1341) an organist working for a church in Tallinn is mentioned. After the great fire which almost completely destroyed Tallinn (1433), a new organ was built in St. Nicholas’ church by the organ builder Albrecht; it was later rebuilt in 1489, by Hermann Stüwe from Wismar. Most of the organ builders working in Estonia during this period came from the Hanseatic cities of North Germany. During the 15th and 16th century positive organs became fashionable among the wealthier nobility, citizens, and town officials. With the spread of Protestantism, the Tallinn churches of St. Nicholas and St. Olai became the focus of cultural life. Lutheran hymns, accompanied by the organ, became the musical basis of the liturgy.

From the end of the 17th century lessons at schools were increasingly held in the mother tongue. The country parish churches established the post of sacristan (Küster in German, köster in Estonian), one of whose duties was to instruct young people in reading and writing, in prayers, and in singing hymns. Important among organ builders working in Estonia at this time were Johannes Pauli from Riga, the Swede Andres Bruse, and above all Christopher Meinecke from Lübeck. The most famous organ builder in the Baltics in the 18th century was Heinrich Andreas Contius. Between 1764 and 1771 he built a new organ in St. Olai Tallinn (III/P/60). Contius' son in law, Johann Andreas Stein in 1805 installed an organ in the church of Kihelkonna on the island Saaremaa. This instrument, with a case in the late rococo style, is the oldest church organ in Estonia still preserved.

Among the foremost musicians in Estonia in the 17th century was Johann Valentin Meder. Notable contributions to the development of the art of the organ in Estonia were also made by Erasmus Pogatz, Christopher Asmes, and representatives of the Busbetzky musical dynasty. Amongst composers particularly active in Estonia in the first half of the 19th century was Johann Friedrich de La Trobe and his son-in-law Woldemar von Bock.

In 1827 Eduard Philipp Körber published his Little Estonian Hymnal in the Tartu Dialect. These collections of hymns were complemented by tutorial books in the Estonian language. One of the first books of this kind was Instruction on How Singing People, and Whoever Else Wishes, Can Learn to Bring Forth Songs from the Written Notes, in Order to Play Them on the House Organ and to Sing Themselves, as Well as Together with TheirPupils, published in 1841 by the Saxon Johann August Hagen. In addition to the theoretical works the large number of chamber organs built by self-taught enthusiasts appeared. As a rule most of these instruments had only wooden pipes. Organs of a larger scale were built by Carl Tanton.

Gustav Normann (1825–1893), a very productive organ builder, was the founder of the ‘organ building school’ in Northern Estonia. His successors were the father and son Gustav and August Terkmann (1885–1940), who used pneumatic and electropneumatic action in his instruments. The German companies also were active in Estonia, above all E. F. Walcker & Cie., W. Sauer, E. Ch. Lemke, Guido Knauf, Ernst Kessler, Wilhelm Müllverstedt, and the brothers Schwalbenberg. Of great interest is the activity of another Estonian organ building dynasty, that of the three brothers Tannil, Juhan, and Jakob Kriisa.

The importance of the organ in Estonian music is underlined by the fact that almost all significant Estonian composers – Johannes Kappel, Konstantin Türnpu, Miina Härma, Rudolf Tobias, Artur Kapp, Mihkel Lüdig, August Topman, Mart Saar, and Peeter Süda – were organists. All of them were graduates of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire.

In the 1940s the work of the most important representative of the Tartu school of composers, Heino Eller, reached its climax. The decades following gave rise to a new generation of Estonian composers who were influenced by 20th century Western European music: Veljo Tormis, Eino Tamberg, Arvo Pärt, and others. The tradition of organ-playing in Estonia manifested itself above all in the work of Hugo Lepnurms and his best pupils Rolf Uusväli, Andreas Uibo, and Urmas Taniloo.

The tradition of organ building is continued by Hardo Kriisa (* 1940), a representative of the third generation of the famous organ dynasty.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 11-32]


Andreas Hahn

The Gottfried Silbermann organ in the Evangelical Church at Nassau (Erzgebirge)

In 1745 the contract was signed between Gottfried Silbermann of Freyberg and the congregation of Nassau for the building of an organ with 19 stops and two manuals at a price of 740 Talers. The completed organ was inspected on 4 August 1748. In 1960 a Pedal coupler was added; in other respects the instrument has undergone no alterations. A thorough technical restoration was carried out in 1998, in the course of which the wind chests were lifted from their positions for the first time. Of the 1110 pipes (including 27 dumb pipes in the façade), 1084 pipes (97.66 %) survive in their original condition. 26 metal pipes were reconstructed. Both wedge bellows were repaired and linked with a wind trunk, so that they are now both fed with wind from a new electric blower. The wind pressure had been lowered several times, and eventually measured only 65mm on a water gauge; after tests it was raised to 85mm. No traces of the original temperament could be found, so a "well-tempered" tuning was adopted, which gives two pure quints (c sharp /g sharp and e flat / b flat) and no pronounced Wolf quint. Nine quints have a beat frequency of -1.7 Hz, and the remaining quint g#/eb beats at –1.2 Hz. The pitch at a° of the Octava 4ft is 469 Hz at 15 °C; it corresponds to the "Chorton" tuning which was customary at that time. In order to protect the delicate pipework, tuning slides of nickel silver and stainless steel were fitted. The work was carried out by the firm of Jehmlich, Dresden.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 83-108]


Max Reinhard Jaehn

A West German Organ Historian in East Germany

In the era of a divided Germany (1949–1990), it was extremely difficult for West German citizens to travel or do any type of work in East Germany. After the Basic Treaty of 1973 it became easier to cross the border and the travel itineraries, while limited, included the possibility of access to archives. As a native of Mecklenburg I was able in the course of a decade to do research on many of the organs in the region. The efforts to accomplish this work under these unusual conditions and to resolve the many day to day challenges will be described herein. The experiences documented are glimpses of the unique, at times grotesque conditions of an entire country which existed for decades, is now a piece of history and the memories of which are slowly fading away.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 373-386]


Max Reinhard Jaehn

Making an Inventory of Historical Organs in Mecklenburg in 1926:
Comments on Erwin Zillinger und Hans Henny Jahnn

In the first half of 1926, the diocesan authorities in Schwerin completed a survey of extant organs in the region built before the year 1800. This material is preserved in its entirety and has served as an important source for research since 1933/34 (Walter Haacke). The initiator of the survey was Erwin Zillinger who nevertheless did not take part in the work nor did he perform any kind of evaluation. From the summer of 1926 on (Organ Conference in Freiburg i. Br.) the collection of information on historical organs was in full swing throughout all of Germany.

Previously unknown was the role of Hans Henny Jahnn as a researcher of historical organs in Mecklenburg. His repeated efforts in this area do not stand up to scrutiny when compared with the substantive quantity of available archival materials and other documents. Likewise Jahnn’s writings on the organ at Bützow, which had impressed him so in his youth, have shown themselves to be prone to errors and untrustworthy.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 387-434]


Martin Kares

Splendid 1937 Steinmeyer restored

In Karlsruhe one of the few churches which survived World War II is the Markuskirche built in 1935 by the architect Prof. Otto Bartning. He designed also the organ, which he made to fit it in the structural system he based the architecture of the church on. This made the 37-stop instrument built by G. F. Steinmeyer in Oettingen 14,30 m wide but only 1,10 m deep, showing two swell-boxes in the façade, besides pipes from Principal 16´ and 8´, and the Posaune.

The musical content was drawn out by organ-consultant Dr. Walter Leib, Heidelberg. It is striking, how well the combination of a high-romantic basis with neobaroque additions works. The foundation stops in combination with octave-couplers and the swell-boxes allow well blending and colourful crescendo effects from pp to ff for the music of the late 19th and early 20th century, the high mixtures, aliquots, and reeds in the swell-divisions transfer them to two early-baroque positive-divisions which communicate perfectly with the Great.

The organ is very well accepted after its restoration, and it is to be wished that more quality instruments of this period are understood and preserved.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 231-236]


Christhard Kirchner

The Middle German Organbuilder Christoph Junge

Christoph Junge was born in Schlesien (date not known), but grew up in Schweinitz (near Wittenberg) and died in March 1687 in Erfurt. Up to 1673 he apprenticed by Christian Förner in Weissenfels, and worked in that capacity on the construction of the organ in the Augustusberg chapel there. By Förner Junge learned his essential principles of organbuilding: One-fold bellows, a new kind of Springladen, full-length reeds, Posaune (Pedal) with wooden boots. These characteristics are also found in Junge’s own instruments. Those which are provably from his hands are: 1) Klosterkirche in Doberlug, 1674–75 (II/17); 2) Stadtkirche in Merseburg, 1676 (II/16); 3) Stadtkirche St. Trinitatis in Sondershausen, 1679–81 (II/28; Prospect still exists); 4) Schlosskapelle in Sondershausen, 1682–83 (II/20); 5) Stadtkirche in Weimar, 1683-84 (II/25); 6) Cathedral St. Marien in Erfurt, 1684–87 (II/28); 7) Kaufmannskirche in Erfurt, 1685-88 (II/25). The latter two organs were completed after Junge’s death, respectively, by his master apprentices David Merker and Johann Albrecht.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 267-308]


John Maidment

German Organs and Organbuilding in Australia

From around 1850 onwards, pipe organs were constructed in Australia by German immigrants and from 1861 numerous instruments were exported from German organbuilders, some major firms such as E. F.Walcker, but many lesser firms, for example R. A. Randebrock, Gebr. Walter and Albert Moser. The instruments built in Australia by Johann Carl August Kruger, Johann Wilhelm Wolff, Daniel Heinrich Lemke and Ernst Ladegast retained distinctive Germanic characteristics in overall style, appearance and sound while the imported instruments may have influenced some local organbuilders. This article examines the builders and instruments built by German organbuilders in Australia and the imports that arrived over a period of 140 years up to the completion of the large Klais instrument in Brisbane.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 33-82]


Hans Musch

An organ built during a paradigm shift.
On the evolution of the Maria-Hilf organ in Freiburg (1935)

In 1929, the parish priest, Reverend Karl Hausch, succeeded in having a new parish church built in the rapidly growing suburb of Ober-Wiehre in the east of Freiburg. The neo-Baroque Maria-Hilf church reflected Reverend Hausch's enthusiasm for the Baroque style. When planning for a new organ began in 1934, his vision was that it would fill the church with Baroque sounds. He sought advisors and experts for this tonal concept, which was extremely unusual for the period. This set the scene for conflicts between proponents of a traditional, late Romantic tonal ideal, represented particularly by the responsible Organ Supervisor for the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Carl Schweitzer, and experts with great faith in modern progress. These were guided by the early Baroque concept of the "Praetorius Organ", which had been built in 1921 for the Musicological Institute of the University of Freiburg. In doing so, they overlooked the fact that Reverend Hausch was envisaging a Baroque style from the middle of the 18th century. The most important objective was considered to be the "correct" specification of stops, followed by appropriate pipe scaling and voicing according to the newest principles. Ernst Kaller was requested to prepare the stop list. He had studied for four years in Leipzig with Karl Straube and then became an organ teacher at the City Conservatorium of Music in Freiburg. It was self-evident that a chair organ should be mounted in the gallery balustrade, this being a pet idea of the early German Organ Revival. Embarrassingly, the theoreticians completely forgot that a chair organ needs front pipes. Just at the last moment, this was obtained by replacing Blockflöte 4' by Italienisch Principal 4' from the Brustwerk. P. Winfred Ellerhorst OSB from Weingarten Monastery in Upper Swabia was entrusted with scaling and voicing the pipes. He provided the pipe scale tables and sat at the organ during the voicing process, presuming to give his personal comments to the experienced master organ builder, Otto Mönch, and missing the mark by far: the organ voicing was too soft for the large church building. Otto Mönch, as the master organ builder, was surprised and injured to receive an invoice from Ellerhorst for pipe scaling and “directing the voicing”. Despite its weaknesses, the Maria-Hilf organ was praised proudly by the theoreticians in 1935 as the first organ in a Catholic church in Freiburg to be built according to the principles of the German organ reformation movement. It was hoped that it would act as a prototype for the entire Archdiocese of Freiburg. The official Organ Supervisor, Carl Schweitzer, who had effectively been bypassed during the whole process, finally expressed a profound truth: the organ builder has his own experience in tonal design. He should not be degraded to just carrying out instructions. Instead, his expertise should be respected.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 257-266]


Paul Peeters

A construction history of the former organ of the Eusebius Church in Arnhem, The Netherlands, built between 1768 and 1770 by the brothers Johann Michael and Johann Christoph Wagner from Schmiedefeld near Suhl.

The legendary Wagner organ of the Eusebius Church in Arnhem was destroyed in the battle of Arnhem in September of 1944. The occasion for this article was the discovery of a folder with archival documents dating from 1768 and 1769, which were compiled into a chronicle describing the first year of this instruments’ construction. This chronicle communicates important details about the building process: data about the workshop, the sand casting, and the production process (for example, the first things to be made were the façade pipes), but provides also extensive information about the materials that were used, especially the problems one had in finding the appropriate wood for the instrument. The chronicle is preceded by a short overview of the history of the organ until 1944. Apart from the probable original specification, other aspects like the Carillon stop in the Oberwerk are discussed, and a special slider chest construction, invented by the Wagner brothers, is presented, although the organ in Arnhem was never equipped with this type of slider chest.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 109-158]


Johannes Reichel

The Organ builder Johann Peter Penick

Johann Peter Penick was born 6 July 1666 in Untermaßfeld (Thüringen) and was first as apprentice by organbuilder Severin Holbeck active. After Holbecks death in March, 1700 founded Penick a shop in Zwickau, and applied for citizenship. As organ builder he left traces up until 1724, his death date is unknown. His first work was the completion of Holbeck’s unfinished organs in the castle-church in Gotha, and the Moritz church in Zwickau. Following new organs by him are known: 1702 (Schneeberg-)Neustädtel; 1703 Glauchau, St. Georgen; 1707 Penig; 1710 Bitterfeld; 1711 (Hohenstein-)Ernstthal; 1715 Nenkersdorf; 1715 Zeulenroda; 1716 Neukirchen(-Wyhra); 1719 Hof a. d. Saale (rebuild), 1719 (Gera-)Thränitz; 1720 Kürbitz; 1721 Marlesreuth.

Only the prospects of his organs in Kürbitz, Nenkersdorf and Marlesreuth are preserved. His style, so far it is today identifiable, shows Thuringian influence.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 309-330]


Horst Sandner

The Klais organ in the Fritzlar Dom (1929).
The Restoration

The former Collegiate church in Fritzlar – today usually termed the Dom – received its essential form between the 11th and 14th centuries. Romanic vaults comprise the Weststructure. From the uppermost vault hangs still the baroque prospect of a predecessor instrument from the 2nd half of the 18th century, probably from Johannes Schlottmann.

Hans Klais built a new 45 stop organ in 1929, with 3 Manuals and Pedal, cone chests, but electric traction for keys and registers. So large an organ could not fit into one of the west vaults; Klais divided the organ. Manual I and II stand in the middle zone – the “Kaiser-Loge” –, the III Manual (Swell) is placed above, behind the baroque casework. The pedal speaks from both levels, obviously to encourage mixing of the tone of all parts in the room.

In 1994 the instrument was restored by Hans Gerd Klais. All was still original save for the swell engines. Without changes to the original console, a modern combination action was integrated into the existing electrical system of the organ.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 199-230]


Albrecht Schneider / Richard von Busch / Dorothea Schröder / Lüder Schmidt

On the documentation of the sound of historical organs

The documentation of historical organs (many of which are now regarded and protected as monuments) should always include the sound radiated from the pipes of each stop. Documentation of sound seems of importance particularly in regard of such outstanding organs which have undergone several restorations within the 20th century. Since, as a rule, restorations involve actions which might led to changes in structural characteristics of pipes, wind-chests as well as to manipulations of other parts which can be of influence on the actual sound of an organ, a thorough documentation of the sounds produced by pipes before and after restoration seems necessary to allow comparison.

Sound recordings of pipes of each stop before and after restoration should be obtained in professional quality. These recordings should be stored in an archive with appropriate care, and may be analyzed by means of digital signal processing to determine sound characteristics before and after restoration.

In the article at hand, we first discuss aspects of sound recording and documentation, and then present a number of analyses made of sounds recorded of the historical organ of Altenbruch (1498–1730; near Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony, Germany) before and after the last restoration (completed in 2004). By these examples, change as well as continuity in regard of sound characteristics is elaborated.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 405-426]


Karl Schütz

The organ of the Minoriten Church “Maria Schnee” in Vienna

The organ in the “Italian national church” of Vienna was built in 1786 by Franz Xaver Christoph, using pipes, windchests and console of the predecessor organ, built in 1673.

In 1815, Friedrich Deutschmann divided the Great mixture into Mixtur and Cymbal.

In 1826, Jacob Deutschmann replaced the silent wooden prospect pipes with Pedal pipes of tin, provided the pedal with a new 3-rank cornet, replaced the positiv Super-octav 1' by an 8' Salicional, and tuned the instrument 1/4 tone higher. This Salicional was at an undetermined later point replaced by zinc pipes.

In 1839, Jacob Deutschmann replaced the original bellows with a magazine bellows with wind pump, and tuned the organ 3/8 tone still higher.

In 1847, Franz Ullmann raised the organ 1/8 tone still higher, 3/4 tone above original.

In 1917 the prospect pipes were requisitioned for war use, and were first replaced in 1935 – by zinc substitutes – by Ferdinand Molzer.

In 1972 came a partial restoration by Arnulf Klebel. The prospect was fitted partly again with tin pipes, the missing Cornet (Pedal) was replaced by a new Octavbass 4'.

The organ – presently unplayable – belongs to the historically most important in Vienna and a complete restoration is planned.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 159-178]


Achim Seip / Volker Keller

The liberal main synagogue in Mannheim and its organs

In the year 1855, the newly erected liberal main synagogue in Mannheim was outfitted with an organ by Eberhard Friedrich Walcker. It was not only the first synagogue organ in Baden, but was among the very first in Germany. This instrument had 22 registers, distributed on 2 Manuals and Pedal, with mechanical cone-chests.

In 1899 the firm extended the instrument to three manuals, Pedal, and 31 registers and and provided pneumatic action. In the "Crystalnight", 10. November, 1938, Synagogue and organ were destroyed by Nazi attacks.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 179-192]


Gerhard Spallek

Desperate times and the survival of a famous firm: W. Sauer Organbuilder after the second world war

The workspace of the firm W. Sauer in Frankfurt/Oder was siezed by the Soviet military after the end of WW II and used as a de-lausing-center. Gradually everything wooden – from organ parts to flooring – went to keep the fire under the hot water burning. As the writer’s father, Anton Spallek, hoped in 1946 to restart organbuilding together with a few colleagues, nothing was left. With great pains, under the most primitive conditions, they put together from used parts and material a little instrument (9 registers) for a church in Berlin- Charlottenburg. Very slowly things went forward, in 1957 a large organ (IV/ 80) was built to plans of Hans Henny Jahnn for the DDR Radio in east Berlin. The organ builder had to deal with most difficult economic circumstances since after 1957 the firm was nationalised and operated (as VEB) under political watch dogs. After the Wende, the firm fell into the hands of its earlier owner, Walcker, who moved operations 1994 to Müllrose. When, however, the Walcker firm collapsed, so did the satellite Sauer. Thanks to the initiative of four workers in the firm, a new “W. Sauer, Organbuilder GmbH” could again be started in Frankfurt/Oder.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 359-372]


Franz-Josef Vogt

The Organ Builder Ludwig Hünd

Amongst the organ builders in the Rhine area, Ludwig Hünd (1812–1899) in Linz am Rhein belongs with those who have regional significance. It is likely that he was trained in a Westphalian firm. Afterwards he worked for Bätz in Utrecht (Netherlands), Laudenbach in Dülmen and finally for Engelbert Maass and his successor Franz Wilhelm Sonreck in Cologne. He established his own workshop around 1850 in Linz. As he had no offspring, his apprentice Johann Stockhausen helped to carry forward the work of the firm, as a partner from 1873 and independently from 1879/80 onwards.

Hünd was active almost exclusively in the Middle Rhein region, where a few of his instruments are still in existence. In the technical aspects and dispositions of his organs, he followed the somewhat conservative tendencies of the contemporary Catholic organ builders, whereby he forged a middle path between Maass and Sonreck. He was never successful in obtaining a contract to build for a Protestant congregation.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 331-358]


Bert Wisgerhof

The Sauer Organ of the"Julianakerk" in Veenendaal

Two organs made an especially powerful impression on the writer in his youth: The organ of the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk ("Julianakerk") in Veenendaal, where his father was the pastor, and the radio broadcast organ of the "Nederlandse Christelijke Radio Vereniging" in Hilversum. The Veenendaal organ was built in 1928 with two manuals and 24 stops + 3 transmissions on the Pedal by the firm W. Sauer in Frankfurt an der Oder. Unfortunately, this instrument suffered at one time an ill-fated alteration so thoroughgoing as to leave its original Romantic sound existing today only in the memories of the writer. The so-called "Sweelinck-Orgel" by Hilversum (Marcussen & Søn, Aaabenraa, 1953, II/16), by which the writer became familiar with the sound style of the 1950’s, serves since 2000 as the choir organ at the Nicolaïkerk in Utrecht.

[Acta Organologica 29, 2006, 193-198]