A Nollet organ for the Benedictine Abbey of Eibingen. Organ building at the Rhein-Nahe-Eck around 1724
Jean Nollet (1681–1735) founded a family of three generations of organ builders who were mainly active in the area around Trier and Luxembourg. His organ building style reflects that of the organ builders of northern France.
It was in 1724, not long after Nollet’s sister-in-law entered the convent at Eibingen, that a contract was signed for the delivery to the convent of a 15 stop Nollet organ. Subsequent to the convent being closed in 1814, the Nollet organ was transported to the Rochus chapel above Bingen. The chapel burned down in 1889.
The former abbey church became the parish church for Eibingen. Today there is an instrument (II/25) from the Klais company (Bonn) from 1964 in this church. In 1895, the newly built Rochus chapel received an organ (II/20) from the Schlimbach company from Würzburg.
In the contract of 1724, only the two reed voices, Vox Humana and Vox Angelica, are mentioned; both were still special features of organ building in the Middle Rhine area at that time. The Rheingau on the right bank of the Rhine and the area on the left bank of the lower Nahe on the opposite side belonged to the archbishopric of Mainz. It was here that the Vox Humana only slowly began to establish itself.
The Vox Angelica 2' can only be found in the later instruments built by the family Stumm of Rhaunen-Sulzbach in the Hunsrück. The instruments of the Mainz organ builders Joh. Jakob Dahm, Johann Ignaz Will and Johannes Kohlhaas were likewise lacking in reed registers. This is also characteristic of the organs of Joh. Friedrich Macrander (Frankfurt am Main) and those of Jakob Irrlacher and Valentin Marquard (Bad Kreuznach).
[Acta Organologica 37, 2022, 9-46]
The Richborn positive in Ruchow. History – Restoration
Hamburg organ builder Jochim Richborn is known to have built four positive organs. The instrument found in the Ruchow Evangelical Church has, within its case, the year 1684 inscribed, making it (based on the most recent research) the second-oldest organ in Mecklenburg. Prior to its current location, this organ could be found in the castle chapel in Bützow and was used there by the local Reformed community.
In 1795 the Dobbertin master organ builder Heinrich Schmidt (1748–1797) purchased this positive for the community in Ruchow. In 1796, Schmidt began work on renovating and modifying the instrument, including integrating the positive into, and expanded the organ case, increasing the disposition from five to seven registers and adding a new wind supply. It was during this conversion that the following original parts were removed: keyboard, bellows system, doors as well as other parts of the organ case.
The restoration and rebuilding of the Ruchow organ took place during the years 2014 and 2015; the goal being to faithfully restore the instrument as close as possible to its original state. The external appearance of the instrument including the parts made by Schmidt has largely been preserved (Organ builder Reinalt Klein, Lübeck).
The original elements of the older positive employed by Richborn were removed and, together with additions provided by Jehmlich Organ builders of Dresden, used to restore the positive organ to its original form, which was then placed in its current location in the chancel of the church in Ruchow.
[Acta Organologica 37, 2022, 47-86]
The Organ Builder Christoph Treutmann
Christoph Treutmann I (1673/74-1757) of Magdeburg was a master organ builder. For many years, both Treutmann and Matthäus Hartmann (1680–1738), worked together, later becoming journeyman master craftsmen under Arp Schnitger (1648–1719). Both Treutmann and Hartmann opened their own workshops in Magdeburg around 1710.
Treutmann's students included the Berlin master Joachim Wagner (1690–1749), Leopold Christian Schmaltz (1717–1771) and Christian Braun (~ 1711–1793), who thereafter established their own workshops. Treutmann’s son, Christoph Treutmann II (~ 1710–1781) also studied organ building under his father and later himself provided said instruction to his own student, Adam Heinrich Rietz [Ritze] (1728–1784). Treutmann I’s grandson, Christoph III Treutmann (~ 1755 – after 1814), carried on his family’s organ building tradition in their Magdeburg workshop.
Research conducted to-date has revealed that Treutmann I built twelve instruments with two manuals and two instruments having three manuals. One of latter, a three-manual instrument built from 1734–37, remains one of the largest preserved Baroque organs in Germany and can be today found in the Grauhof monastery church near Goslar (III/P/42/Glockenspiel). Treutmann also built six single-manual instruments as well as a number of existing organ conversions and extensions. Treutmann I worked well into old age, and it is certain that this list of his instruments is not yet complete.
Interestingly, the surviving instrument in Grauhof makes it clear that the sound ideas of the oldest Treutmann laid the groundwork for the transition from the ‘slim’ and colorful sound ideal of Schnitger to the stronger and broader personal style of Wagner.
[Acta Organologica 37, 2022, 87-160]
Stein Johannes Kolnes / Jürgen Magiera
The organ console builder Josef Mühlbauer
Josef Alois Mühlbauer (1905–1995) worked from 1927 until 1933 at the Ludwig Eisenschmid factory, a Munich-based company specializing in the construction of organ components. In order to escape the National Socialist government in Germany, Mühlbauer moved in 1933 to Oslo, Norway, where he was employed to construct consoles by the organ building company Jørgensen.
From the start of his employment with Jørgensen, Mühlbauer built primarily pneumatic consoles. However, in 1935 he built the first electric console for the organ of the Evangelical church in Oslo-Frogner. Starting in 1938 organs were also built using the so-called ‘unit system’, the result being that consoles became more complicated. Jørgensen's largest instrument using this approach was the four-manual organ for Ålesund which was built in 1942 but not installed there until 1945. Throughout his time there, Mühlbauer was considered a most welcome addition to the Jørgensen workshop, especially because he was always focused on implementing design improvements whereby it no longer became necessary for Jørgensen to order expensive imports.
Mühlbauer’s application for naturalization as a Norwegian citizen was rejected in May 1938, yet he still went on to marry a Norwegian woman in September of that same year. The subsequent German occupation of Norway (1940) meant that, as a German citizen, Mühlbauer was forced in 1943 to leave the Jørgensen company and report for German military duty in Lüneburg.
Because he was found unfit for combat, Mühlbauer was first employed as an interpreter in a German POW camp for Norwegian officers and later in 1944 was transferred to the Bergen Fortress Command as an orderly. After the end of the war, on May 30, 1945, and still under German military command, Mühlbauer was arrested by both the German field gendarmerie (as a deserter) and the Norwegian police (as a traitor) and taken to a Norwegian prison. It was approximately one year later in July 1946 that, after a great deal of effort on his behalf by various parties, Mühlbauer was released and received a residence permit, which had to be renewed annually in order that he be permitted to once again work.
At the turn of the New Year in 1950, Mühlbauer was finally granted Norwegian citizenship. However, it was not long thereafter (in 1951) that Mühlbauer became seriously ill. He took on lighter work and during the 1970s was placed in a nursing home with his wife. Mühlbauer’s employer, the Jørgensen company, later ceased operations in 1983.
The second part of this article provides a description of the Jørgensen company consoles built during the period of Mühlbauer’s employment. Components including couplers, contact devices and combinations are discussed in detail and compared with the systems of Steinmeyer and other Central European companies. The narrative is accompanied by numerous photos.
[Acta Organologica 37, 2022, 161-206]
Matthias Reichling / Alfred Reichling
The Requisitioning of organ front pipes in Austria-Hungary during the First World War
Soon after the beginning of the war in the summer of 1914, a shortage of raw materials developed both in Germany and in the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, including many metals such as copper and tin. As early as 1916 church bells and objects made of tin had to be handed over, and it was not long before plans were made to requisition organ pipes too. First in Hungary and then in Austria, consultations began about suitable procedures for doing so. Initially the larger front pipes (those over 2 feet long) were to be removed, together with large interior pipes (over 4 feet long), though only from organs with more than eight stops. Eventually it was decided to restrict the requirement to front pipes only, but all organs were included. An ‘Organisation of Austrian Organbuilders’ was set up under the leadership of Otto Rieger and Franz Josef Swoboda, which divided the Austrian region between the various organbuilders; the Hungarian region was likewise divided up. The heritage authority agreed with the ministry of culture that organs of special historic and artistic value would be exempt. On 29th October 1917 the relevant legislation was published simultaneously in Austria and Hungary. Removal of pipes was to begin on 15th November 1917.
From the start there were many objections to this programme of removal. Above all, church musicians complained that the organs would become unplayable and church music would suffer for many years. In addition, rather than preserving the old, ‘useless’ organs, they much preferred to keep the modern, ‘artistically useful’ ones.
The heritage authority, which was responsible for exemption on historic grounds, decreed that only organs earlier than 1800 would be exempt. The same condition applied if the front pipes were newer but the case would be damaged by their removal. Because there was no inventory of the organs, the clergy were to be given questionnaires to complete with details of each instrument. However, these were not issued in all areas and have only been partially preserved. Assessment of the musical value was entrusted to the diocesan advisers, most of whom were clergy; they mainly proposed newer organs for exemption, to the disapproval of the organ builders, resulting in a partial reduction in the number of exemptions.
Removal began in Austria on 19th November; in Hungary not until February 1918. The organbuilders carried out the removals in the districts allocated to them: they recorded the scales, pushed the pipes inside each other several at a time, bent and compressed them and packed them into boxes. The owners then had to send them by rail to the ministry’s collection point in Vienna. There the consignment was checked and payment authorised.
Some clergy were reluctant to part with the organ pipes; some parishioners even manhandled the organbuilders and obstructed the removal. In some cases the pipes had disappeared by the time the organbuilders arrived; they were reported as stolen, but reappeared after the war, having only been hidden. Conversely, in some places the pipes were removed even though the organ was exempt, because the organbuilders were informed too late.
From the start there were some reservations on the use of zinc replacement pipes, even though the organbuilders recommended them as a valid substitute. Since zinc was anyway in short supply, such pipes were only provided for a few of the organs during the war.
Pipes were similarly removed in 1918 in the occupied areas of Italy, with interior pipes being included.
The total amount of tin recovered was smaller than had at first been hoped. In the Austrian region only about half the organs lost their front pipes. However, many organs were damaged or destroyed in the front-line areas of Italy and Russia during the fighting. The whole campaign resulted in great cultural loss. In addition, many organs that had retained their front pipes were replaced by new instruments after the war.
[Acta Organologica 37, 2022, 207-467]