For discussion about the D-minor Toccata BWV 565
The "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" is without doubt the most well-known organ work by Johann Sebastian Bach. While not his most important composition, it fascinates players and listeners alike time after time with its lively and varied character. The young Mendelssohn was excited about this work. The claim that it originates from the hand of another composer can be rejected. Unfortunately, a Bach signature is missing. The source copy, made by the young organist Johannes Ringk (1717-1778), probably dates back to a copy from the circle of Bach. A great many musical examples reveal the unique compositional features of this extraordinary work.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 401-429]
Max Reinhard Jaehn
Clarity about Richard Wagner’s “Rheingold” Organ
In 1876 at the festival premiere of „Der Ring des Nibelungen“ in Bayreuth Richard Wagner wanted to reinforce the deep sonority of the double basses with a pipe organ in the orchestral prelude for „Das Rheingold“. A harmonium (Estay, 1876) was initially acquired and proved to be unsuccessful, as did a subsequently delivered small organ with Subbass 16' (Johann Wolf, 1876). It was after the conversion to using only four single pipes (E flat) with a deep pitch that the desired effect was achieved.
The organ in the Bayreuth orchestra pit has been lost, but in an opera organ in Schwerin an 1888 copy of the four Bayreuth pipes (Friedrich III Friese 1883 u. 1888; Friedrich A. Mehmel, 1886) was found and they are still in use today. In addition to the technical knowledge provided by this organ it offers the possibility to reconstruct the differentiated use of organ sounds in the performance of the „Rheingold“ prelude, after the instructions by Wagner have been incorporated into the musical score of new editions.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 201-220]
A Hitherto Unknown Rebuilding Project by Joachim Wagner: Köslin, 1739.
New Findings about the Organ Builder Daniel Tamm
1. A file found in the state archives of Stettin revealed a previously unknown project of the Berlin organ builder Joachim Wagner (1690-1749) for the reconstruction of the organ in St. Mary’s at Köslin in Pomerania (now Koszalin, PL) This instrument was built from 1603–06 by Paul Lüdemann and rebuilt in 1690 by Aron Thun. Wagner wanted to expand the tonal range, build new wind chests and change the stop list (III/P/42). However, the congregation could not afford the required 1,100 thalers. As a result, only the worst defects ended up being repaired by Wagner's apprentice Daniel Tamm.
2. The same source also contains documents about the little-known organ builder Daniel Tamm (1711–1755). He wanted to rebuild the organ of Köslin at a cheaper price than Wagner. This did not happen, but there are also certificates from 1744 on Tamm's previous activities. These show:
In 1741, Tamm worked as an apprentice of Caspar Sperling on the reconstruction of the organ at St. Jakobi in Rostock.
Towards the end of 1741 he installed an instrument of Arp Schnitger in Deyelsdorf which had previously served as a house organ for the senior pastor at St. Jacobi in Hamburg.
In the spring of 1742 in Ribnitz Tamm repaired the organs of the city church and the monastery church.
Later followed repairs in Pyritz (Parish Church St. Marien und Hospital Church Heilig-Geist) and Stolp (palace chapel). In 1750 Tamm built a new two-manual organ for St. Jakobi in Drossen.
Tamm died in 1755. His pupil Werner Gottlieb Christoph Kegel took over the workshop in Frankfurt on the Oder.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 57-86]
Stein Johannes Kolnes
Between sacred folk song and northern European organ culture: The accompaniment of the choir by the organ during the 18th and 19th centuries in Norway
The introduction of the hymnbook of the Orthodox Lutheran Thomas Kingos in 1699 led to the flourishing of sacred folk song in Norway. There was, during the eighteenth century, a difference to be found between the singing of hymns in the countryside where the congregation was often lead by poorly trained precentors, and singing in the larger cities where there was a cantor along with a student choir and an organist.
It was during the 18th century that parishes located in rural eastern Norway began to develop their own organ culture employing small organs played on keyboards located behind the instruments. In the coastal and especially mountain towns, both the overall music as well as organ cultures became more aligned with those of the continental role models. Local organ building traditions gradually disappeared, and P. A. Albrechtsen (an apprentice of the Danish organ builder Marcussen) who emigrated to Norway in 1835, founded a new tradition. In the 1870s, the mechanical Kegellade [cone chest] found its way into the organ building. Nevertheless, it was not until the early 20th century that an organ or a harmonium could be found in all Norwegian churches.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 87-116]
Organ history of the city Alzey
It was during the 18th century that the Protestant church of St. Nicholas in Alzey (Rhineland-Palatinate) received an organ built by Johann Michael Stumm (1683-1747). It remained in the church until 1929 by which time both the organ and the church itself had fallen into very poor condition. Subsequent to the restoration and reopening of the church in 1934, a small organ by Heinrich Bechstein (1895) was installed as an interim instrument. It was later replaced in 1956 by an organ of Gebr. Oberlinger, which, in turn, was replaced in 1997 by the Beckerath organ (1967; III/P/41) from the monastery Knechsteden. In 2002, the Nikolaikirche also received a chest organ built by Andreas M. Ott. (I/5). In the "Kleinen Kirche" in 1736, Joh. Michael Stumm installed an organ (II/P/19), which was rebuilt in 1881-82 by Carl Landolt. Further modifications to the instrument continued to be made until its full restoration by Förster & Nicolaus in the years 1989-98.
Joh. Michael Stumm also built an organ for the Catholic parish church of St. Joseph (1743; II/P/20). The original case from 1743 was used by Michael Körfer in 1918 when he installed a new pneumatic action organ (II/P/18). In 1967 the church received a new organ by Emanuel II Kemper (II/P/20) employing electro-pneumatic action. This was followed in 2006 by a new instrument (II/P/21) by Martin Vier incorporating extensions and "Wechselschleifen".
An organ built in 1908 by Heinrich Bechstein can be found in the chapel of the "Rheinhessen-Fachklinik" (II/P/7).
The synagogue, which was consecrated in 1854, also had an organ about which unfortunately nothing else is known. It, along with the synagogue, was destroyed during the night between the 9th and 10th of November 1938.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 9-56]
Alfred Reichling / Matthias Reichling
The Requisition of Organ Front Pipes in Germany during the First World War
Already in December 1914 it became clear that the idea of a "short war" for Germany had been a mere dream. The initial forward assault, once stopped, soon gave way to trench warfare in the West. This led only to minor changes along the front, but the longer it went on the stronger the effects – enormous losses of people and war materials and at the same time the devastation of many places and entire regions. Soon, a shortage of raw materials for the war effort was noticeable, so that the home front was increasingly called upon for donations, which were especially meant to counteract the lack of copper and tin.
Finally, on January 10, 1917, a decree was issued for the expropriation of organ front pipes to extract pure tin, and two months later the bells were taken from the church towers to extract copper and tin from them. These actions were prepared, down to bureaucratic details, by the Prussian Ministry of War with its subordinate bodies as early as 1916; in regard to technical questions inquiries were made with some organ builders.
The churches first had to report the number of organ front pipes and their estimated weight. They were then given a date by which the pipes were to be delivered to a collection point. Compensation was paid for the metal delivered. The removal of the pipes was to be done by organ builders who had to make a sketch of the organ front and record the pipe lengths in order to be able to install matching replacement pipes later. The Association of Master Organ Builders of Germany negotiated the details with the Ministry of War. The whole process was supposed to be finished by July 31, 1917. Many churches tried to postpone the delivery as long as possible, so that the removal took longer than planned.
Historically or artistically valuable pipes would be exempted from confiscation. The cultural heritage authorities of the individual states were mostly consulted for the appraisal. There were differences among their assessments, so that, for example, in Bavaria a lot more organs were exempted than in Prussia. After the yield of tin turned out to be smaller than expected, in 1918 all previously exempted organs were to be reevaluated according to uniform, stricter criteria. However, this dragged on until the fall, so fortunately not many more pipes were removed before the end of the war. As a result, some original front pipes have been preserved to this day, especially in Bavaria in many Baroque organs.
Many churches had hoped to get replacement pipes made with zinc during the war. But once zinc also became scarce, this happened in only a few cases.
Organ pipes were also confiscated in the occupied areas of France and Poland; in France it was mostly all metal pipes, not just the front pipes, that were removed. In occupied Belgium, the removal was planned, but was – with few exceptions - not carried out for political reasons. The victory, which was hoped for until the end, did not happen, and ultimately everything led only to a huge loss of valuable cultural assets.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 221-400]
The Cologne organ workshop of Wilhelm Schaeben
In addition to the Cologne-based organ building workshops of Engelbert Maaß (1781-1850), Franz Wilhelm Sonreck (1822-1900) and Ernst Seifert senior (1855-1928), who worked nationwide during the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, there were also many smaller establishments which primarily provided both the tuning and repairs. On occasion they also maintained and repaired larger instruments.
In Cologne the company of Wilhelm Schaeben senior (1833-1903), an apprentice of Sonreck, and his son Wilhelm junior (1873-1915?) belonged to the latter group. The archive of the company could not be preserved due to its destruction during the Second World War.
The company Schaeben also built new organs. Their business remained active during the period of transition from mechanical to pneumatic action, which brought with it considerable difficulties.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 165-200]
The Kalscheuer Organ Builders in Nörvenich
The workshop of Kalscheuer Bros. in Nörvenich was one of the smaller firms of the Rhineland in the 19th century. Their work comprised mostly smaller new organs and numerous reconstructions. Their main area of activity was near Nörvenich, between Cologne und Aachen. The head of the workshop was Jakob Kalscheuer (1822–1883). His brother and partner Heinrich Kalscheuer is rarely mentioned in archival materials.
The firm provided inexpensive smaller instruments for parishes lacking in financial resources. Often, existing material was reused. The design of these organs was based on Kalscheuer’s so-called "Doublettensystem", a wind chest transmission by which the quiet stops were also playable on a second manual. The stop list often corresponded to that of a larger one-manual organ. These transmissions were built in two variants. The more complicated version makes it possible to use the stops independently of each other on both manuals, the simpler and more common variant allows a stop to be played on both manuals as soon as it is pulled. The resulting rapid change between piano and forte met the requirements for the Catholic practice of organ playing at that time. The surviving instruments show a largely conservative architectural style which is similar to that of other 19th century Rhenish organ builders. The organs of the Kalscheuers – which can still be seen today – are simply but solidly constructed and intended primarily to accompany congregational singing.
[Acta Organologica 36, 2019, 117-164]