Friday, April 2, 2010

Johann Sebastian Bach playing Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Thomaskirche (Leipzig)

the new "Bach Organ" built by Gerald Woehl

A notable feature of the Thomaskirche is that it contains two organs. The older one is a Romantic organ by Wilhelm Sauer, built 1885-1889. Since this organ was not suitable for Bach's music, a second organ was built by Gerald Woehl's organ building company from 1999-2000. This "Bach organ" was designed to look similar to the old organ on which Bach had played in the Paulinerkirche.

The St. Thomas Church is one of 2 houses of worship in Leipzig’s city center. Home of the St. Thomas Boys Choir and a place of musical creativity; it is also the final resting place of the famous St. Thomas Cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach.

The St. Thomas Church is one of the earliest places in Europe, which documented organ music during church services. "Organ songs" were mentioned for a Maria Mass in 1384 and in 1392 for the Corpus Christi Mass-indications of a very early fostering of music from the St. Thomas founders of 1212. The organs of Bach's time do not exist anymore. The organ, which can be seen on the west choir loft, was built by Wilhelm Sauer in 1889. Originally, this Romantic period instrument had 63 organ stops. In 1908, more stops were added to give a total of 88 stops. It was later restored and brought back to its original eminence in 2005.

The new Bach-Organ on the north choir loft, situated across from the Bach-Window, was built in the year 2000. This organ is used especially for playing the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach and was built by the organ manufacturer Gerald Woehl in Marburg. The sound quality of this instrument, with its 61 organ stops on 4 manuals and a pedal board, is similar to the organs built in Middle-Germany during the 18th century. The organ in the University Church St. Pauli, which Bach played during his time in Leipzig, served as the inspiration for the form of the Bach-Organ.

The St. Thomas Church dates back to the 12th Century. It was here in 1409 that the University of Leipzig was founded. From 1492 to 1496, the church had the form of a late Gothic hall church. It was also here in 1539 that Martin Luther preached the implementation of the Reformation. For the last 800 years, the St. Thomas Boys Choir has been singing here.

One of the oldest boy choirs in Germany singing Matthäuspassion (St Matthew Passion) by their own cantor from XVII Century - J.S. Bach. However now the choir is led by inimitable Georg-Christoph Biller. This is a very short sequence of originally 3+ hours long musical masterpiece.

The St. Thomas Boys Choir, whose history dates back to the year 1212, is the oldest cultural establishment of the city of Leipzig. Outliving all political, municipal, religious, and educational controversy, 800 years musica sacra has shaped the choir's past.

Through the influence of the many St. Thomas Cantors, including the most famous-Johann Sebastian Bach (Thomas Cantor 1723-1750)-the city of Leipzig and the St. Thomas Church became the center of Protestant church music.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Prelude in A minor BWV 543
Johann Sebastian Bach at his organ, the Neue Bach-Orgel, in Thomaskirche (Leipzig)

The St. Thomas Church is home to the Boys Choir. A choir rich in tradition, they are committed to continue his musical legacy.

Today, visitors from all over the world come to Leipzig to observe church services in the St. Thomas Church, hear a motet from the St. Thomas Boys Choir, or to take pleasure in concerts and organ music.

Romantic organ by Wilhelm Sauer, built 1885-1889

Even amongst the many churches of Europe, St. Thomas in Leipzig, Germany is special; not only has it housed a world famous boys choir but has been the site of considerable music creativity. Composers such as Mendelssohn and Mozart have performed there and Wagner was baptized there, but certainly the greatest works ever done there are the compositions of J.S. Bach.

"Nun danket alle Gott" BWV 657 (J.S. Bach) Ullrich Böhme, Orgel. Ullrich Böhme, Organ.
on  the new "Bach Organ" built by Gerald Woehl

Thomaskirche (Leipzig)

The organ featured in this recital by Mr. Böhme is the new "Bach Organ" built by Gerald Woehl dedicated in 2000 according to the official St Thomas Church.

the new "Bach Organ" built by Gerald Woehl

Brustwerk (I)
Grob Gedackt 8'
Klein Gedackt 4'
Principal 2'
Super Gemßhörnlein 2 f.
Quint-Sexta 2 f.
Sieflit 1'

Hauptwerk (II)
Bordun 16'
Principal 8'
Violdagamba 8'
Rohrflöth 8'
Quinta 6'
Octav 4'
Nassatquint 3'
Superoctav 2'
Queerflöth 2'
Sesquialtera 3 f.
Mixtur 6 f.
Cimbel 3 f.
Fagott 16'
Trombetta 8'

Oberwerk (III)
Quintaden 16'
Prinzipal 8'
Gedackt 8'
Gemßhorn 8'
Flauta doux 8'
Octav 4'
Hohlflöth 4'
Hohlquint 3'
Superoctav 2'
Plickflöth 2'
Sesquialtera 3 f.
Scharff 4 f.
Vox Humana 8'
Hautbois 8'

Echo (IV)
Barem 16'
Still Gedackt 8'
Quintaden 8'
Principal 8'
Nachthorn 4'
Spitzflöth 4'
Spitzquint 4'
Octav 2'
Schweitzerflöth 2'
Rauschquint 1' 1/2
Superoctävlein 1'
Cimbel 3 f.
Regal 8'

Großer Untersatz 32'
Prinzipal 16'
Violon 16'
Sub Bass 16'
Octav 8'
Gedackt 8'
Quintaden 8'
Superoctav 4'
Bauerflöth 1'
Mixtur 6 f.
Posaun Bass 32'
Posaun Bass 16'
Trombet 8'
Cornet 2'
Glockenspiel 2'

TEMPERAMENT: modified Neidhardt
PITCH: a'=465 with Chorton.

Disposition Sauer-Orgel 1908/2005


Principal 16fuß
Salicional 16fuß
Bordun 16fuß
Gedackt 16fuß
Principal 8fuß
Principal 8fuß
Geigenprincipal 8fuß
Schalmei 8fuß
Viola di Gamba 8fuß
Salicional 8fuß
Gemshorn 8fuß
Harmonica 8fuß
Dulciana 8fuß
Dolce 8fuß
Doppelfloete 8fuß
Flûte harmonique 8fuß
Flute harmonique 8fuß
Konzertfloete 8fuß
Flauto dolce 8fuß
Rohrfloete 8fuß
Gedackt 8fuß
Gedackt 8fuß
Quintatön 8fuß
Octave 4fuß
Quinte 5 1/3fuß
Salicional 4fuß
Octave 4fuß
Flauto dolce 4fuß
Gemshorn 4fuß
Quinte 2 2/3fuß
Rohrfloete 4fuß
Piccolo 2fuß
Violini 4fuß
Cornett 3fach
Octave 2fuß
Mixtur 4fach
Rauschquinte 2fach
Cymbel 3fach
Mixtur 3fach
Tuba 8fuß
Cornett 2-4fach
Clarinette 8fuß
Scharf 5fach

Groß-Cymbel 4fach

Trompete 16fuß

Trompete 8fuß


Thomaskirche (Leipzig)

December 12, 1409
Foundation of Leipzig University in the Monastery of St. Thomas
September 14, 1477
The oldest bell “Gloriosa” was cast
Renovation of the nave into a late Gothic style hall church
June 24, 1519
Service held for the beginning of the Leipzig Debate between Martin Luther and Johannes Eck
May 25, 1539
Martin Luther gives a sermon, introducing the Reformation to Leipzig
Closing of the monastery and destruction of its buildings
Johann Sebastian Bach is cantor in Leipzig
April 11, 1727
First Performance of St. Matthew Passion by Bach on Good Friday
Renovation of the St. Thomas School
May 12, 1789
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart plays the organ at St. Thomas
Troops under Napoleon store munitions in the church
St. Thomas is used as a military hospital during the Battle of Leipzig (“Battle of Nations”) when Napoleon was defeated
August 16, 1813
The composer Richard Wagner was baptized[1]
April 4, 1841
Bach’s St. Matthew Passion performance repeated by Felix Mendelssohn
September 16, 1842
Founding of “Gustav-Adolf-Werk”, an organization whose mission continues to be providing support for minority protestant churches throughout the world.Website for the Gustav-Adolf-Werkes e. V., Leipzig
April 23, 1843
Dedication of the Bach Memorial; built under Mendelssohn’s direction
November 26, 1848
Commemoration of the life of Robert Blum takes place in the St. Thomas Church
Renovation of the church in the Neo-Gothic style
The Sauer organ is built
Closing of the St. Thomas School
The church superintendent’s house is built on the site of the St. Thomas School
Dedication of the Bach statue designed by Carl Seffner
The last tower keeper moves out of the bell tower apartment
December 4, 1943
The bell tower is damaged by fire bombs dropped by Allied bombers
Bach’s grave is moved to the St. Thomas Church
Interior renovation of the church
Schuke organ installed
Initiation of the complete restoration of the church
Dedication of the restored Paulus altar
Installation of the Mendelssohn window
Removal of the Schuke organ
June 11, 2000
Dedicaton of the restored St. Thomas Church with the new Bach organ
July 28, 2000
Celebration of the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death
October 18, 2008
Dedication of the copy of the Felix Mendelssohn statue across from St. Thomas

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