Saturday, November 28, 2009

Arp Schnitger 1686 Organ Ludgerikirche Norden (Ostfriesland)

pictures courtesy of


III/77 Arp Schnitger organ (1686, 1691/92) of the Ludgerikirche, Norden, Germany, restored by Jurgen Ahrend, 1981-85. The contract for this well-known instrument was signed on February 26, 1686. Following Schnitger's addition of the Oberwerk in 1691/92, the organ became the largest and most important in East Frisia. Incorporating several ranks from the previous 1616 Edo Evers organ, the instrument remains the second-largest surviving by Schnitger.


1686-1688: Construction of a new organ by Arp Schnitger, using pipework of the previous organs by Andreas de Mare (1566/1567) and Edo Evers (1616-1618). Case and tracker action mechanism were completely new.
1691-1692: Schnitger added a fourth work (Oberwerk) to the organ. This work was playable from the third manual of the Brustwerk.
1838: Tuning of the organ in equal temperature.
19th century: Many alterations to the organ. Ranks were replaced, the sound characteristics of the organ changed into what was deemed necessary in those days. The mechanism, however, was not changed.
1917: Removal of the front pipes for the first World War. At this time only half of the ranks were still present.
1929/1930: First restoration (Orgelbewegung) by Furtwängler & Hammer. Christhard Mahrenholz was the adviser. The last two reed-stops were replaced. For the first time other Schnitger-organs were investigated into, to make copies of the ranks that had been removed. The mechanism was exchanged for an electro-pneumatic installation.
1943-1945: Removal of the organ to the monastery of Möllenbeck to save the organ from possible bomb attacks due to the war.
1948: Rebuilding by Paul Ott.
1957-1959: Restoration by Paul Ott. New tracker action mechanism.
1981-1985: Restoration by Jürgen Ahrend to its original (Schnitger) situation

Arp Schnitger Organ Ludgerikirche Norden (Ostfriesland)
Thiemo Janssen

Agnes Luchterhandt and Thiemo Janssen, organists.

Bernard Foccroulle demonstrates the three basic organ ranks: the principals, the flues, and the reeds. The organ shown is in Norden, Germany, and was built in 1688 by Arp Schnitger. It was restored in 1985 by Jürgen Ahrend.

Buxtehude: Toccata in d minor, BuxWV 155. The organist is Bernard Foccroulle, he plays on an Arp Schnitger organ built in 1688 in Norden, Germany (organ restored in 1985 by Jürgen Ahrend).

Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697) Praeludium e-moll (transposé en ré mineur)
Bernard Foccroulle, orgue de la Sankt-Ludgerikirche à Norden

Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697) Praeludium e-moll (transposé en re mineur)
Bernard Foccroulle, orgue Schnitger de St. Ludgeri Kirche à Norden

Franz Tunder (1614-1667) Praeludium in G Bernard Foccroulle at the Arp Schnitger of the Ludgeri Kirche in Norden

149 Buxtehude Ulrik Spang-Hanssen, Schnitger of Ludgeri in Norden, 1/5 comma Mean tone, Chorton high pitch


The organ of the Ludgerikirche (Norden) (1686-1693) was built by Arp Schnitger.It has 46 registers, three manuals and pedals and it is, after the organ in the Jacobi Church in Hamburg, Schnitger's second-largest surviving work in Germany and the largest organ in East Friesland. Historically and musically it is a work of art of international stature.

Building history of 1567 and 1618

The previous organ of the Evangelical-Lutheran Ludgerikirche is from Edo Evers (1618), who used parts from the old pipe organ by Andreas de Mare (1567).The instrument had 18 registers, three manuals and pedal appended. By its placement on the south choir wall behind the present location, it could not be heard in the pulpit.

New build by 1693 Schnitger

Schnitger built in the choir loft, an acoustically favorable space, so that the new organ could develop its sound into the transept and the nave. Unique and visually appealing is the design of a single pedal tower at the southeast Vierungspillar with sound direction into the nave. Schnitger integrated eight old stops of de Mare and Evers in his work. The preserved stops are of special quality.
The new organ has 46 registers, four work divisions on three manual keyboards and pedal.

Alterations in the 18 and 19 Century

In the 18th and 19 century several registers, keyboards and bellows were replaced in the course of repairs and adjustments to the current taste. In 1917, the tin-containing Prinzipal pipes had to be relinquished for military purposes.

Restorations in the 20th

The long phase of restoration in the 20th Century begins in 1927 at the start of the Orgelbewegung with the investigations of Christhard Mahrenholz and Hans Henny Jahnn, and in 1929/30 the company P. Furtwängler & Hammer restored the organ after some of the findings of the time. However, the absent keys of the short octave, and sounds cis3-gis3, were added pneumatically, and a fourth keyboard was installed to be able to play Brust- and Oberpositiv separately. Oberwerk and pedal got a pneumatic action. After removal of the organ (1943) and Reconstruction (1948) Paul Ott introduced changes in 1948 and 1957-1959 through various renovations, but the sound ultimately could not satisfy. Because of the lowered wind pressure even changes were made to the pipe work.

Only through the restoration to historic origin, according to strict standards by Jürgen Ahrend (1981-1985), the old sound is restored to its full glory.
Ahrend reconstructed 25 stops, the keyboards, bellows, wind ducts, check valves, tremulants and part of the mechanics. In particular, his reconstruction of the principals and reed stops is considered as being masterly.

The modified meantone, which specifies a underlying comma 1/5-, leading to great purity of the organ sound without so-called wolf fifth, has since then been applied in other renovations and new building.

The organ of the Ludgerikirche (Norden) (1686-1693) was built by Arp Schnitger. It has 46 registers, three manuals and pedals and it is, after the organ in the Jacobi Church in Hamburg, Schnitger's second-largest surviving work in Germany and the largest organ in East Friesland. Historically and musically it is a work of art of international stature.


1985 (= 1693)

I Rückpositiv CDE–c3

Principal 8′ A
Gedact 8′ E
Octav 4′ S
Rohrfloit 4' S
Octav 2′ E
Waldfloit 2′ S
Ziffloit 1′ S
Sexquialt II E
Tertian II S
Scharff VI A
Dulcian 8′ A

II Hauptwerk CDEFGA–c3

Quintadena 16′ E

Principal 8′ A
Rohrfloit 8′ E
Octav 4' E
Spitzfloit 4′ A
Quinta 3′ A
Nasat 3′ A
Octav 2′ E
Gemshorm 2′ S
Mixtur VI A
Cimbel III A
Trommet 16′ A

III Brustpositiv CDEFGA–c3

Gedact 8′ S[Anm. 1]
Plockfloit 4′ S[Anm. 1]
Principal 2′ A
Quinta 11/2′ S
Scharff IV S
Regal 8′ A

III Oberpositiv CDEFGA–c3

Hollfloit 8′ S[Anm. 1]
Octav 4′ S
Flachfloit 2′ S
Rauschpfeiff II A
Scharff IV-VI A
Trommet 8′ A
Vox humana 8′ A
Schalmey 4′ A

Pedal CD–d1

Principal 16′ A
Octav 8′ E
Octav 4′ A
Rauschpfeiff II A
Mixtur VIII A
Posaun 16′ A
Trommet 8′ A
Trommet 4′ A
Cornet 2′ A

Last Conversion / Restoration 1985
Baroque Period
Organ Landscape Ostfriesland

Number of Registers 46
Number of pipe rows 77
Number of Manuals 3

1. 1. ↑ abc wood.

Orgelbauer: Builder:

E = Edo Evers or older (Andreas de Mare)
S = Arp Schnitger
A = Jürgen Ahrend

* slider coupler III/II.


* Tracker action:
o Tontraktur: Mechanical
o stop action: Mechanical
o Five Valve Trains
* Wind Power supply:
o Windpressure: 71,5 mmWS
o Three bellows with manual action
o pitch: 5/8-Ton on a1 = 440 Hz
o Modified meantone (1/5-Komma)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Harmannus Organ in Rysum 1457 Germany

Organ built in 1457 by Meister Harmannus from Groningen.

The Rysum organ is one of the oldest playable pipe organs in the world. It was originally built in 1457 1457 by Meister Harmannus from Groningen and rebuilt in 1513. After undergoing several other modifications through the years it was restored to its 1513 condition by Jürgen Ahrend and Gerhard Brunzema in 1959.

The organ in the village church was bought from the organ maker Harmannus in Groningen in 1457. The villagers had it transported across the frozen Dollart and paid with a couple of fat cows.
Since then, the instrument has hardly been changed. Most of the work is original, and still fully functional. This makes the Rysum instrument one of the oldest organs in Lower Saxony, other sources say in the whole of Northern Europe. No matter what, the instrument is unique. For concerts and presentations, experts from all over the world come to Rysum.

Harmannus Orgel Rysum von 1457

In Rysum stands the oldest extant playable organ in Germany. Combined, the building phases of 1457 and 1513 resulted in an instrument in the Hanseatic Gothic tradition. As early as the second half of the 15th century, the region around the Dollart bay was home to flourishing organ culture with many organs in monasteries and city churches, as well as smaller village churches. Alone in the small region between the cities of Emden and Norden known as the Krummhörn, there exists evidence for ten Gothic organs. Still possesing its original pipework, the Late Gothic organ in Rysum is the only extant larger instrument on which the significant 15th and 16th century repertoire can be heard.


Manual CDEFGA-g

Praestant 8′
Gedackt 8′
Octave 4′
Octave 2′
Sesquialtera II
Mixtur III-IV
Trompette 8′

Meantone tuning
Slider chest
Wedge bellow

Reconstructed by Ahrend & Brunzema.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Arp Schnitger 1688 organ St. Pankratius-Kirche Hamburg-Neuenfelde.

Neuenfelde organ 34 stops on two manuals and pedal

The church was built in 1682 and that year Arp Schnitger began work on the large two manual and pedal organ, installed in 1688.The 1688 Arp Schnitger organ in Neuenfelde (Hamburg) is important, not only because it is his largest 2 manual instrument, but also because it is in Neuenfelde that Schnitger met his first wife, and became, through marriage, a land owner in Neuenfelde, settled on a farm still known as the "organ builder's farm" and built his most important instruments. Arp Schnitger heard this organ every time he attended services in his home church - indeed his chair still exists next to the chancel. The congregation, in appreciation for the elegant organ Schnitger had built for the church, constructed a personal pew (stall) for him. Schnitger died in 1719. He is buried in the church, and his grave has been identified.

The organ was altered slightly during the 19th century, though these changes were reversed in 1926.The organ was "renovated" in the nineteenth century, restored by Paul Ott in 1937 and restored again by Rudolph von Beckerath in 1950. Paul Ott did further work on the instrument in 1953.
However, a full restoration is now necessary.

Karl-Bernhardin Kropf demonstrates the Arp Schnitger organ at Neuenfelde (Germany).

From October 2000 to June 2007, Karl-Bernhardin Kropf was organist of the lutheran St Pankratius church of Neuenfelde, Hamburg, Germany. The organ there was built by Arp Schnitger in 1683-1688. Schnitger became member of this parish, after he married Gertrud Otte. He lived and worked here from 1705 until his death 1719. The grave of this man, who can be attributed without hesitation to have been the greatest master of organ building in northern Europe, can be found in the church, close to the north entry.
Of his approx. 170 works, only about 30 have survived. The Neuenfelde organ is, with its 34 stops on two manuals and pedal, his largest two manual design. Since the Hamburg-Lübeck Organ Convention of 1925, historic organs have been put into focus again. Neuenfelde, like many other locations in northern Germany, has becoma a place of pilgrimage for organ enthusiasts from all over the world. Since 1952, a regular concert series has been organized, which is now on of the oldest programs of his kind in the Hamburg region.

Buxtehude 139 in Neuenfelde
Karl-Bernhardin Kropf plays on the Arp Schnitger organ at Neuenfelde (Germany).


1683-1688: Construction of the organ by Arp Schnitger.

1750: Jakob Albrecht replaces the Trichter Regal of the Rückpositif for the Krummhorn from of the Oberwerk. In the Oberwerk a new Vox Humana. The temperament of the organ is corrected. ("das ganze Werk in reine Harmonie und Temperatur ... zu korrigieren") according to the contract with Jakob Albrecht

1867: Johann Hinrich Röver replaces the Rückpositif with a Hinterwerk. The windchest and 3 old ranks remained.

1886: Heinrich Röver replaces Mixtur, Cimbel and Vox Humana in Oberwerk and Mixtur and Cornet in the Pedal.

1926: Kemper and H.H. Jahnn undertake reconstruction of the Rückpositif.

1938: Paul Ott: new reeds and mixtures

1951: Repairs to the windchests by Rudolf von Beckerath.

1955: New intonation at a lower wind-pressure by Paul Ott.


(B)=von Beckerath,
(*) For Schnitger


Quintadena 16' (S)
Prinzipal 8'(S)
Rohrflöte 8' (S)
Oktave 4' (S)
Spitzflöte 4' (S)
Nasat 2 2/3' (S)
Oktave 2' (S)
Spielflöte 2' (S)
Rauschpfeife II (S)
Mixtur V-VI (O)
Zimbel III (O)
Trompete 8' 9 (S,O)
Vox Humana 8' (B)


Gedackt 8' (S)
Quintadena 8' (O)
Prinzipal 4' (S)
Blockflöte 4' (S)
Quintflöte 2 2/3' (S)
Oktave 2' (*)
Sifflöte 1 1/3' (*)
Sesquialtera II (*)
Terzian II (O)
Scharf IV-VI (O)
Krummhorn 8' (O)


Prinzipal 16' (S)
Oktave 8' (S)
Oktave 4' (S)
Flöte 4' (S)
Nachthorn 2' (K)
Rauschpfeife II (S,O,K)
Mixtur V (O)
Posaune 16' (O)
Trompete 8' (O)
Cornet 2' (O)


E. Power Biggs  Toccata in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach

  • 2 performances of the Toccata (only) in D minor.
1. Nuenfelde Kirche, Neuenfelde Germany on the 1682, Arp Schnitger organ
(also on this youtube)
2. Heiliggeistkirche, Heidelberg Germany on the 1948 Steinmeyer organ

Monday, November 16, 2009

Organ Hervormde kerk Farmsum 1823 Lohman organ

Inleidend Orgelspel voor de dienst Hervormde kerk Farmsum
Dennis Wubs


the book "History of Groningen" reported that since about 900 a church existed in Farmsum. This would have been founded by Ludger. In the thirteenth century a limestone building is built, which in later years frequently is embellished. From 1415, this church is a Dekenaat church. Late sixteenth century the church has an organ and a carillon. The carillon is lost in 1580 as a troop Groninger soldiers rob six bells (and ten from Appingedam) to hang them in the Martini. In 1664 an itinerant Jesuit describes the building as a "... great proosdijekerck with a high thoorn ...". The tower also served as a beacon for sailors on the Dollard.

The old organ was renovated in 1696 in by Joachim Kaijser (Jever, Germany) and in 1729 a repair and renewal took place by N A Willenbrock from Alkmaar, who looked after the maintenance to 1732. Thereafter, A A Hinsz, F C Schnitger and the Lohman family worked on the organ. In 1828, the instrument is more or less described: it has 17 voices and 6 ancillary stops including drum & Nightingale. The pipes have a high lead content. It probably has the following disposition:


Prestant 8
Holpijp 8
Quintadeen 8
Octaaf 4
Roerfluit 4
Quint 3
Octaaf 2
Fluit 2
Quint 1 1/2
Mixtuur 3-4st


Fluit doux 4
Octaaf 2
Octaaf 1



Man CDEFGA-g2-a2

Ronald IJmker plays the organ of the Reformed Church in Farmsum, Holland

For all the Saints -
R. IJmker

G. Bohm - Vater Unser im Himmelreich
R. IJmker

Air - J.S. Bach
R. IJmker

Psalm 91 - J. Zwart
R. IJmker

Festliche Musik alla Händel (Praise the Lord) - S. Karg Elert
R. IJmker

The Lohman-organ 

Around the construction of the new organ a strange game was played. Both J W Lohman and Timpe were invited to submit plans, not in itself abnormal. But then they had to judge their "opponent’s" plan and that gave a lot of accusations back and forth. In 1823 Lohman eventually built the organ, but to the specifications of Timpe. The instrument had a Hoofdwerk, Rugwerk, and an aangehangen pedaal. An extension with an independent pedal was provided for. Also on the two manuals was taken into account the addition of another rank. In January 1829, the interior of the church was refurbished with a new pulpit and pews, and in October the organ could be taken into use. In 1849, G W Lohman performed a major overhaul.

In 1856 the tower is demolished and replaced by a new, designed by J. Maris. The medieval church was in poor condition and in 1868 Peter van Oeckelen disassembles the organ due to the demolition of the building. A year later, the new church, designed by C. Wind is completed, and can van Oeckelen begin to place the organ again. The Swell is placed in a strange way: behind the iron fence of the organ balcony. They camouflaged to the extent possible "as an old-fashioned” piece of furniture in a new-fashioned building.

soundfile in .mp3-format
(10,8 MB)

Hervormde kerk Farmsum   Klaas Bolt plays:
Toccata and Fugue in C of Johan Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)

In 1870 the organ is back into service. It now has an independent pedal of eight voices and the Vox Humana has been revoiced. During a restoration in 1953 the company Mense Ruiter replaces the Quint 6 of the pedal by a Ruispijp. The major restoration of the instrument in 1976 shows that Quint is still present with the organ maker and is reinstated.

Also added to the disposition are:

Lohman-Cornet from 1810 (New Scheemda) is placed on the Hoofdwerk

Lohman-Flageolet (1816) that was left after the restoration of the organ of the Martini Church in Groningen was placed on the Rugwerk.

In 1994, Mense Ruiter restored the bellows.

The disposition of this organ is:

Bourdon 16
Praestant 8
Viool di Gamba 8
Quintadena 8
Octaaf 4
Roerfluit 4
Quint 3
Octaaf 2
Cornet 3st
Mixtuur 3-4st
Trompet 8 BD
Vox Humana 8

Fluit 16 D
Fluittravers 8 D
Holpijp 8 BD
Praestant 4
Fluit 4
Woudfluit 2
Flageolet 1
Dulciaan 8 BD

Praestant 16
Subbas 16
Violon 8
Holpijp 8
Quint 6
Octaaf 4
Bazuin 16
Trombone 8

Koppeling BD
Afsluiters voor HW, RW & P

Toonhoogte: 1/2 toon boven normaal
Op de sleep waar nu de Cornet staat was oorspronkelijk een "Nagthoorn 2" gedacht.



Psalm 25, Heer ik hef mijn hart en handen: Hervormde kerk Farmsum
Dennis Wubs

T. Faber 1649 Organ Hervormde kerk Zeerijp NL

Orgelspel na de preek: Hervormde kerk Zeerijp
Dennis Wubs

Orgelspel na de preek: Hervormde kerk Zeerijp
Dennis Wubs

Orgelspel na de preek: Hervormde kerk Zeerijp
Dennis Wubs

Psalm 67, God zij ons gunstig en genadig: Hervormde kerk Zeerijp
Dennis Wubs

Gwendolyn Toth plays
Courante Daphne from the Leningrad Manuscript (1646)
on the Faber organ of 1651 in Zeerijp, The Netherlands. July 2008

She uses the unique nightingale stop!


Theodorus  Faber (1600? - 1659) lived and worked most of his life in Groningen. He was candidate theologian, autodidact painter and organ builder.  He was in the Groningen administrative bodies and artistic circles and considered an influential man and also enjoyed regards as national organ builder.

Besides three newly created organs, namely the instruments Zeerijp (1645-51, his first all-new masterpiece), Coevorden (1657-58) and Groningen, Aa-kerk (1654-59), he led a number of repairs and he approved the work of other organ makers.

He also repaired clocks and occasionally painted cartouches like to Zeerijp. He died in 1659, after a lingering illness, while working on the major new organ in the  Aa-kerk in Groningen.  He left it unfinished. In 1667 Jacobus Galtus van Hagerbeer  completed this organ, the then largest work in the  Dutch Republic.

Faber's work is a unique synthesis between the regional Groningen organ style and the North German tradition. The organ builders as the family De Mare, Edo Evers, Anthoni Verbeeck were especially for Faber of major importance. Faber's work was more a summary of previous styles than that it was  focused on innovation.

His instruments would have sounded refined, singing and not penetratingly loud according to the views of the late Renaissance style, The monumental yet graceful Zeerijp organ case is considered to be one of the finest 17th-century organ furniture in the Netherlands.


Hoofdwerk: CDEFA - g" a"
Prestant 8'
Holpype 8'
Octave 4'
Octave 2'
Quinte Fl 3'
Mixtuer 4 - 6 st.
Cimbel 2 st.
Sufflet 1'
Trompett 8'

Rugwerk CDEFGA - g" a"
Prestant 4'
Quintadena 8'
Fluite 4'
Geemshoorn 2'
Super = Octave 2'
Sesquialter 2st.
Vox = Humana 8'

Pedaal CDEFGA - d'
Dooff 8'
Bardon 16'
Bas Bazuyn 16'

Tramblant Rug = Positijff
Omlopende Steerens
Ventyl Hw
Ventyl Rw

Toonhoogte: a' = 465 hz
Stemming: Middentoon
Bouwer: T. Faber
Bouwjaar: 1649

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990) organ in St. Wilhadi (Stade)

St. Wilhadi Stade

Berendt Huß built the organ in St. Wilhadi between 1673 and 1676, with completion in 1678 by his nephew Arp Schnitger. After the Danish bombardment of 1712 destroyed half the organ, Arp Schnitger rebuilt the organ. In 1724 lighting struck the tower and organ (again!) and a new organ was built by Erasmus Bielfeldt of Celle and Bremen, with completion in 1736. The organ remained virtually unchanged until a rebuild in 1875–86 by Johann Hinrich Röver. More alterations were executed in 1937–38 by Paul Ott of Göttingen, including moving the Hinterwerk to a new Rückpositiv case.

Jürgen Ahrend of Leer-Loga completely rebuilt the organ between 1987 and 1990 with the aim of returning the organ to its 1736 condition.

HISTORY  of the Erasmus Bielfeldt organ in St. Wilhadi Stade

1322 First evidence of an organ in St.Wilhadi are handed down to us from the year 1322. No details of the instrument are known. However, we know the name of the builder of the organ Wilhadi: Berthold.  In addition to organs in Verden, Lübeck and Ratzeburg and Stade, the Wilhadi organ from 1322 was the very earliest evidence of the medieval organ building in northern Germany.

1659 In the devastating fire of Stade the organ in St. Wilhadi also becomes a victim of the flames.

1673 Berendt Huss begins with the construction of a new organ. This continous until 1676 under the direction of B. Huss. In 1676 he died and was buried in St. Wilhadi. Arp Schnitger will continue to build and complete the organ to 1678. The disposition of the organ (with 46 stops on 3 manuals and pedal) is still preserved in manuscript in the parish archives Schnitger Basedow (Mecklenburg).

1712 The organ is damaged in the bombing of the Danish in 1712. 1713/14 Schnitger, who has his workshop in 1682 in Hamburg, restores the instrument.
1724 Due to a lightning bolt striking the church tower,  the Schnitger Organ is completely destroyed, so that the tin had to be scraped off the gravestones.

1731 Erasmus Bielfeldt,  organbuilder from Stade, begins construction of a new organ. The work to go to November 1735. In 1736 the organ was opened on January 10.

In the second half of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century, the organ is maintained initially by Georg Wilhelm Wilhelmy and then by his son George William, both of Stade.

1875/76 organ builder Henry Rover (Stade) leads repairs, a disposition revision,  and in 1894 the construction of a swell around the Hinterwerk. These works represent a vital first intervention in the design of the Bielfeldt organ.

1917 The visible tin front pipes are taken for the purposes of the war effort. They will be replaced in 1920 by a new front pipes made of zinc.

1937 Work begins, which corresponded to the time period: The Hinterwerk was converted into a Ruckpositiv.The Ruckpositiv was placed without enclosure in the back of the player on the gallery and this was only the  begining  of other modifications in the years 1961 to 1963, the organ case was incorporated into the railing of the gallery.  The result is not considered to be satisfactory, and from today's point of view, this restoration is a failure.

1990 A restoration by the Orgelbauwerkstatt Jürgen Ahrend (Leer) is completed. This is done on the basis of the great art of the Baroque organ and brings the organ into a technical, and as regards sound, to a state that corresponds to the time of origin. In addition to the Bielfeldt organ in Osterholz-Scharmbeck this is the second instrument by Erasmus Bielfeldt returned  to the old, colorful sonority.

Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707) Praeludium in A BuxWV 151
Ton Koopman at the Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990)
organ in St Wilhadi (Stade)

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Chorale Prelude "Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist" BuxWV 208
Chorale Prelude "Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist" BuxWV 209

Ton Koopman at the Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990)
organ in St. Wilhadi (Stade)

Diderik Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Chorale Prelude "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen" BuxWV 221
Chorale Prelude "Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" BuxWV 222

Ton Koopman at the Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990)
organ in St Wilhadi (Stade)

Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707)
Praeambulum in A minor BuxWV 158

Ton Koopman at the Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990)
organ in St. Wilhadi (Stade)


listen here to the individual sound of each stop


Principal 16'
Quintatön 16'
Octave 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Gedact 8'
Octave 4'
Nashat 3'
Octave 2'
Mixtur VI
Cimbel III
Trompete 16'
Trompete 8'

Positive Hinterwerk

Octave 8'
Rohrflöte 8'
Quintadena 8'
Octave 4'
Quinte 2'
Sesquialtera II
Octave 2'
Scharff III/IV
Fagott 16'
Vox humana 8'


Flute douce 8'
Octave 4'
Flute douce 4'
Quinte 1 1/3'
Scharff III/IV
Dulcian 8'
Schalmey 4'


Principal 16'
Subbaß 16'
Octave 8'
Octave 4'
Rauschquinte II
Mixture IV/V
Posaune 16'
Trompete 8'
Trompete 4'
Cornet 2'

Modified Werkmeister II Temperament
Pitch a' = 472 Hz
Wind pressure: 81 mm


Ton Koopman at the Bielfeldt-Ahrend (1736-1987/1990) organ in St. Wilhadi (Stade)

N. Bruhns: Praeludium in G (T. Koopman)
Ton Koopman
N. Bruhns: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (T. Koopman)
Koopman plays Buxtehude chorale preludes

Bux 136
Bux 142
D. Buxtehude: Praeludium in E BuxWV 143 (T. Koopman)
Bux 204 ; 150
Bux 151
Bux 152
Buxtehude - Bux 153
Buxtehude: Toccata in D Bux 155 (T. Koopman)
Bux 155

St. Mary's Rotherhithe 1764 Organ London GB

organ of St. Mary's Rotherhithe (London)

John Stanley (1713-1786)

Voluntary in D minor op. 6 no. 5
1. Adagio
2. Andante largo
3. Moderato

Ton Koopman at the historical organ of St. Mary's Rotherhithe (London) in excellent original historical condition.

John Stanley (1713-1786)

Voluntary in A minor op. 6 no. 8
1. Largo
2. Vivace

Ton Koopman at the historical organ of St. Mary's Rotherhithe (London)

The history of the Organ at St Mary's

The Vestry decided to rebuild St Mary's as early as 1705, but a faculty was not applied for until 1714; and although on 9th March 1715 it was recorded that the parish church is now finished in Pewing, not until 1746 did they decide to complete the tower and in the following year to provide it with bells. A further eighteen years elapsed before the new church was provided with an organ. Until then a small band of musical instruments led the singing of hymns and psalms.

The history of the organ begins with a vestry minute of 24th April 1764: -

Whereas many of the Parishioners have expressed their desire of having an Organ erected in this Church which they apprehend would be not only a very decent Ornament but also add to the Solemnity of Divine Service, we do unanimously agree that an Organ will make a very useful and agreeable addition to this Church and therefore authorise and desire the Churchwardens to erect the same as soon as possible.

The vestry also agreed that the expense of erecting the organ should be met by public subscription and at a subsequent meeting that the organist's salary be defrayed from the annual rate. The Churchwardens lost no time in starting the process of obtaining the necessary faculty from the Bishop of Winchester (of which diocese Rotherhithe was a part). The faculty was granted on 22nd July, it was decided that the organ was to be placed in the west gallery and to measure 21ft high, 12ft wide and 6ft 9inches deep with a further 2ft for the organist's seat. It was necessary to state these dimensions precisely to help establish that no regular worshipper would lose his or her seat through the space taken up by the instrument!

The organ is enclosed at the front by a polished mahogany case and at the back by dark stained wainscoting of pine standing between the case and the west wall. The breadth and depth of the organ as it stands today are exactly the same as the measurements stated in the faculty (organ stool excepted) leading to the unavoidable conclusion that the organ has occupied the same west gallery floor area right from the beginning and that the wainscoting was part of the original construction.

The organ retains more of its tonal qualities than any comparable instrument of its date. It is important for the understanding of 18th century church music and has attracted recitalists from far and wide. Nevertheless its original purpose of providing accompaniment for services at St. Mary's remains paramount.

A detailed description of the organ is to be found in the monograph by Austin Niland 'The Organist at St Mary's, Rotherhithe', published by the Positif Press ISBN 0906894115.


Open diapason 8'
Open diapason 8'
Stopped diapason 8'
Principal 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Sesquialtera IV
Cornet treble 8'
Trumpet 8'
Clarion 4'

Stopped diapason 8'
Principal 4'
Flute 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Cremona 8'

Double diapason 16'
Open diapason 8'
Stopped diapason 8'
Principal 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Trumpet 8'
Oboe 8'

Grand bourdon 16'

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

1479 Peter Gerritsz Organ Nicolaï Kerk Utrecht NL

The empty organ case of the 1481 Peter Gerritsz Organ
is presently  in the Koorkerk in Middelburg.

The Lelystad office of the National Archeology and Cultural Heritage (RACM), recently started investigating the condition of the former Utrecht Nicolaï-organ (1479). The organ is the oldest instrument of our country.

click to enlarge

In close consultation with the Foundation Peter Gerritsz organ and the Rijksmuseum research will be done into the possibility of joining the 15th-century organ case and interior back together in the Nicolai Church in Utrecht. The organ was built by organ builder Peter Gerritsz for the Nicolaïkerk in Utrecht and was in the 16th and 17th centuries increased in size.

In 1886 it had to make way for a new instrument. The Rijksmuseum took the organ and served as administrator on behalf of the Dutch state, which owns the organ. At the evacuation of the Rijksmuseum, just before the outbreak of World War II, the organ was dismantled and stored.

In 1957 the organ case was given on loan to the Koorkerk in Middelburg. This was done as part of the rebuilding of the abbey complex.
Moreover, a reconstruction will be made of the oldest building phase. First, to gain experience with the copying of various components, allowing better insight into how these components can best be restored in the future. On the other hand, making a copy has great musicological value, because no construction examples of these oldest instruments of comparable size have been preserved anywhere in the world.

click to enlarge

This way the RACM will obtain extensive knowledge about this ancient sound source, in this exceptional layout and construction, as inspiration for the interpretation of its written and improvised music.

This knowledge is an important addition to the accumulated knowledge gained in restoration of approximately six hundred instruments during the past thirty years, which have been restored under the supervision of organ specialists from the RACM, including the magnificent organs in the Laurenskerk (1511) in Alkmaar, the Nieuwe Kerk (1620) in Amsterdam and the Pieterskerk (from 1643) in Leiden.

press Release | November 3, 2009 - 16:38

The 15th - century Gerritsz organ in the Nicolai Church in Utrecht is the oldest organ in the Netherlands. For many years the National Cultural Heritage did intensive research on this particular instrument. The results are compiled in a monograph entitled "The old organ of the Nicolai Church in Utrecht". On November 5, the first copy was presented in the Nicolaïkerk  to the Commissioner of the Queen of the province of Utrecht, Mr. Roel Robbertsen.

The Gerritsz organ, built in 1479, is of great cultural and historical musicological value. The book describes in detail the history, art historical and liturgical aspects of the organ. The investigation has much knowledge about the oldest, original construction of the instrument. The results make it possible to make a well-informed reconstruction of the earliest construction period. A unique organ in European culture.

Peter Gerritsz built the organ for the Nicolai Church, where it was used for centuries up to 1886. Then the medieval organ was moved to the brand new Rijksmuseum. Here hung the organ, not playable, until 1940. When the evacuation of the museum was needed because of impending war, the organ was dismantled and stored. The Dutch State, owner of the organ, in 1957 gave the organ, because of the reconstruction of the church choir, to Middelburg. It was stored inside.

The  Peter Gerritsz organ Foundation strives, together with the government, for funds to reunite the organ and its case in the room where the organ was built: the Utrecht Nicolaïkerk. During the meeting  the possible organ restoration and initiation of the reunification is discussed. In preparation for a possible restoration study a copy of the oldest construction of the organ is commissioned by the Foundation for the Organ.

The old organ of the Nicolai Church in Utrecht: witness of the Dutch music, Bini Biemans-van der Wal, Wim Diepenhorst, Roger van Dijk et al, Dutch organ monographs 10, Walburg Pers, Zutphen, p. 296., Bound, € 34.95, ISBN 978 90 5730 576 4, available at the bookstore. The book is published under the auspices of the Dutch Organ Foundation Monographs in cooperation with the National Office for Cultural Heritage.

You can use pictures standing next to your publication stating "photo RCE.

The old organ pipes in a pilot plant

Orgelmakerij Reil in Heerde is currently building a study copy of the  Nicolaï organ

Leiden, Pieterskerk 1634 Van Hagerbeer-orgel

Pieterskerk Leiden

The Pieterskerk in Leiden boasts a long and impressive building history. The church was founded in 1121 as a burial chapel, dedicated to St. Peter and Paul, and from that moment, depending on the financial resources, the church built in phases.

In the sixteenth century, St. Peter attained more or less its present form, but the architectural work on the building did not end. A monument of the dimensions that St. Peter has, requires constant maintenance. Over the centuries there have been numerous renovations and restorations. The restoration that St. Peter is currently undergoing, is probably the most comprehensive to date in this tradition.

The history of St. Peter has always been closely linked with that of the city of Leiden University. Many important milestones in the national history are celebrated or commemorated in this venerable city church.
The creation of the Leiden University began with a ceremony at the St. Peter. Through the centuries many important and famous people were buried in the church.
The building has been for centuries the backdrop for concerts, exhibitions, promotions, conferences and many other cultural and social events, and is the beating heart of the city of Leiden and far beyond.

G. Frescobaldi Toccata IV (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

G. Frescobaldi Toccata V (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

comment: The meantone temperament of this organ is absolute neccessary for Frescobaldi. More depth of the sound, more clarity and surprising harmonies. This is really wonderfull! Forget equal temperament for all music coming from 16th and 17th century music; this is the real thing!!


The Pilgrims

For many Americans, Leiden and especially the Pieterskerk are inextricably linked to the 'Pilgrims', who played such an important role in the colonisation of North America.

The Pilgrims were a group of dissenters from England. Under the reign of James I they were persecuted for religious reasons and fled to Holland. In those days, Leiden was a shelter for many people who had fled their country for religious reasons: almost one third of the total population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants!

Here in Leiden, they enjoyed freedom of religion, speech, press and the right to assemble.

Most of the Pilgrims worked in the flourishing textile industry. One of them, William Brewster, published theological texts. An alley off of the Pieterskerkchoorsteeg was named after him. Since publications by his "Pilgrim's Press" opposed the English King, they frequently caused trouble for the Leiden authorities.

One of the leaders of the Pilgrims, John Robinson, lived opposite the Pieterskerk in what is now the Begijnshof. The Pilgrims held their religious services there. Robinson was buried in the Pieterskerk in 1625. Memorials for Robinson can be found in the form of a commemorative stone in the baptistery and as a brass plaque on the outside of the southern wall of the baptistery.

Information about the Pilgrims was recorded in the baptism, marriage and burial registers of the Pieterskerk, which have now mostly been incorporated into the Leiden City Archives (Gemeente Archief Leiden).

After some time, many Pilgrims came to the conclusion that Leiden was not suitable as a permanent place of residence. First, they found it difficult to adapt to Holland, where they found the customs and morals too liberal for their puritan principles. Furthermore, there was a great deal of uncertainty about their future in the Republic after the ending of the Twelve Year Truce in 1621.
What would happen to them if King James sent English soldiers to help the Dutch fight the Spaniards?

In 1620, a number of Pilgrims sailed to North America on the Mayflower to start a new life. Other groups followed, and the Pilgrims became the leaders of the New Plymouth colony.

It has been said that the American Thanksgiving holiday is derived from the celebration of the 3rd of October in Leiden.


Van Hagerbeer organ

The Pieterskerk has always been the setting for music. In the Middle Ages, choir activity flourished and high quality organ music was played. The earliest history is still unclear but we know that around 1446, a large organ was built against the west wall by an unknown builder. It is unique that a number of the pipes from this organ still exist; these pipes are therefore among the oldest pipes in the world that can still be heard.

W. Byrd The Queen's Alman - MATTEO IMBRUNO

After the collapse of the tower in 1512, the organ was renovated in 1518 by the famous Jan van Covelen. It consisted of three manuals and most likely one or two pedal registers. It is unclear as to if Van Covelen left the existing organ case unchanged.

In any case, the case and especially the Rugpositief was intensively renovated in 1541 and a new sofiet, the network under the Rugpositief, was also added. The Renaissance appearance that was given to the Rugwerk then may still be seen today.

Spurred on by the new idea of using organs to accompany congregational singing, the mayors of Leiden commissioned Galtus and Germer van Hagerbeer, the most famous organ makers of that time, to completely renovate the organ in 1638. The renovation took place between 1639 and 1643.

H. Scheidemann Galliarda ex D MATTEO IMBRUNO

First, a new main case was built by the city architect Arent van 's-Gravensande. The impressive organ case is a 24-foot work (the length of the longest pipe) like the organs in Alkmaar and 's-Hertogenbosch. It was built in the main classical style of the Dutch Golden Age, with shutters on both the Great Organ and the Rugpositief.

The Van Hagerbeer brothers built an organ with many solo registers; in those days, the Vox Humana and the Sesquialtera were especially popular. The instrument must have been very powerful as it had both a Mixtuur, and a Groot Scherp and a small Scherp. For this renovation, the builders used many of the old pipes. Due to continuing changes in taste and musical appreciation, the organ was not preserved in its original state.

Until 1800, the modifications were limited in nature and degree but after that, the organ became increasingly austere in colour and sound. It started when the shutters were sold in 1807. The most drastic alterations, however, were the ones made by the Lohman brothers in 1843-1846. They adapted the colour of the sound and composition to the Romantic symphony orchestra. The entire internal structure was changed. The number of pipes was increased to approximately 3500. Most of the chests (which supply air to the pipes) were renewed. Also, the Hoofdwerk chests of the Great Organ were now positioned along the longitudinal axis of the church, which had an unfavourable effect on the sound. The Lohman brothers also built a pedal according to the views of that time and replaced a number of stops.
Fortunately these organ makers, despite their not very successful changes, did preserve most of the old pipes.

Between 1943 and 1946, exactly one hundred years later, a thorough restoration was carried out by G. van Leeuwen. The historical pipes were preserved but again, the organ was drastically modified to adapt the sound to the then-current ideals. The mechanical system was expanded by using pneumatics and Barker levers.

Between 1994 and 1998, another large-scale restoration took place, done by the Verschueren firm in Heythuysen. Without compromises, the organ was brought back to its original 17th century condition. Thus, this is the only remaining 17th century Dutch city organ, a unique instrument and ideal for performing the organ music of its past. With the restoration completed in 1998 is the great organ of St. Peter in principle returned to the state it was in at the completion of Hagerbeer in 1643.

The original lower pitch and meantone were restored. Leiden has a unique instrument, and is the only major city possessing an organ as specimen of Dutch organ building from the early 17th century. The instrument has a very clean sound and an immense aural spectrum.

G. Frescobaldi Toccata IV (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)Toccata in A
Leo van Doeselaar, at the organ of the Pieterskerk (Leiden)

Music of 1650, as of Jan Pietersz. Sweelinck, can now sound like it was meant to.
Only seven stops had to be manufactured entirely new, the others contain a greater or lesser extent of original material. There are also some pipes that Van Hagerbeer retained from the previous organ: pipe work of Jacob van Bilsteyn of 1446 and Jan van Covelens from 1518. These organ builders were of utmost importance for the development of the typical Dutch organ building and found its culmination in the work of the Van Hagerbeers.

The Pieterskerk has an organ blowers guild especially for the Van Hagerbeer organ.


wider keyboard 2nd manual (hoofdwerk)

Prestant 24 B/D', vanaf c dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643 (dubbelkoor 1643 en later)
Prestant 12' B/D, vanaf c dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Bordon 24 D', vanaf dis, 1998
Octaav 6', vanaf c' dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Mixtvvr 4-8 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1643/1998
Groot Scharp 6-10 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1998
Klein Scharp 5-8 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1998
Trompet 12 'D, vanaf dis, 1998
(voor het hoofdwerk afwijkende cijfers vanwege het contra-octaaf)

Prestant 8', vanaf c dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1643/1998)
Qvintadeen 8', 1643
Octaav 4', vanaf f' dubbel, 1518/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Holpyp 4', 1643
Svperoctaav 2', vanaf f'dubbel, 1518/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Qvintanvs 1 1/2', vanaf gis'' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svflet 1', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Mixtvvr 3-8 sterk, 1518/1690/1998
Scharp 3-8 sterk, 1518/1998
Sexqvialtera 2 sterk D, 1998
Cornet 5 sterk D, 1744
Schalmey 8', 1518/1998/18e eeuws

Prestant 8', geheel dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1643/1998)
Holpyp 8', 1518/1643
Qvintadeen 8', 1643/1998
Octaav 4', vanaf c' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svperoctaav 2', vanaf c' dubbel, 1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Gemshorn 2', 1518/1643
Nasaet 1 1/2', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svflet 1', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Sexqvialtera 2 sterk D, 1998
Tertiaen 2 sterk, 1643/1998
Trompet 8', 1998
Vox Hvmana 8', 1691

Prestant 8', 1643
Octaav 4', 1518/1643
Trompet 16', 1643/1998
Trompet 8', 1998

Koppel Rw - Hw B/D
Tremulant Bovenwerk
Tremulant Rugwerk

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