|A Short History of the Great Organ:
Johann Geissler of Salzburg/Austria built a great organ for the Abbey Court Church with 48 stops on two manuals and pedal. What was then unique was the fact that he placed the Subcontra C of the Principal 32' in the main tower right above the console. This impressing pipe is 10 m (33') tall and 57 cm (23") in diameter and it weighs 383 kg (840 lb) which makes even the 16' giants in the flanking Hauptwerk (Great) look sweet and tiny. Out of this original Geissler organ 19 stops (among them the 32' Principal) and the beautifully carved main casing are still preserved.
After several renovations in the meantime the Rückpositiv was now replaced by an enlargement of the organ on the balcony.
The organ was reorganized and enlarged to four manuals by Friedrich Haas (Basel/Lucerne, CH). He added a Swell as well as an Echo Organ in the church attic the sound of which comes out of the ceiling rosette in the middle of the nave. The initiation ceremony at which even Aristide Cavallé-Coll was present is euphoric. Haas is said to have built the absolute masterpiece, with the Echo a "most forward-looking concept".
Friedrich Goll changes the organ's action to pneumatic and replaces some of the stops. Later on the organ is electrified and the console is replaced. This organ though was more and more prone to breakdowns so that sooner or later it had to be completely revised, which was finally done in the 1970's.
Restoration and enlargement of the organ by Kuhn Organbuilders (Männedorf, CH) - during this process the Rückpositiv was reintroduced so that the organ then had 81 stops on 5 manuals and pedal. Of these stops 19 dated back to Geissler and 32 to Haas. Many Romantic stops (about 1,600 pipes) were removed and stacked in the church attic. If it had not been for church organist Wolfgang Sieber they most probably would have been discarded.
General revision of the organ by Kuhn Organbuilders, introduction of three free reeds (original Haas pipes) into the Echo organ, some of which were retrieved from the church attic and were now restored, the rest was donated from the private collection of Wolfgang Sieber.
The Main Organ of the Abbey Court Church has 115 ranks, 84 voices/registers and 5,949 pipes on 5 manuals and pedal. Including the 2015 completed Echo Division it has 144 ranks and 103 voices/registers (+ 3 ext. + 2 tr.) and abour 7.500 pipes.
This makes it the second largest organ in Switzerland next to the Engelberg Abbey Church organ.
Complete Stoplist (will open up in a separate window).
Joh. Seb. Bach (1685-1750): Choral Prelude "Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn" [426 KB]
Joh. Seb. Bach (1685-1750): Choral Prelude "Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott" [721 KB]
Max Reger (1873-1916): Toccata from "12 Pieces for organ" op. 59 [517 KB]
Max Reger (1873-1916): Pastorale from "12 Pieces for organ" op. 59 [437 KB]
Max Reger (1873-1916): Canon from "12 Pieces for organ" op. 59 [798 KB]
Max Reger (1873-1916): Capriccio from "12 Pieces for organ" op. 59 [764 KB]
Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944), arr. Wolfgang Sieber: "Valse de Ballet" [585 KB]
Scott Joplin (1868-1917), arr. E. Power-Biggs: "Cake Walk" [650 KB]
Gabriel Käslin (1867-1951), arr. Wolfgang Sieber: Schäfli-Schottisch [632 KB]
The sound samples are taken with kind permission from several CDs by Wolfgang Sieber. To obtain these CDs please click HERE.
By the way:
You will find loads of organ music for download at the Organ Site's MP3 download portal – among others the complete CD program of Motette, Psallite, ifo and organ publishing companies.
Videos (YouTube Channel):
"Orgel-Trost" – Improvisations by Wolfgang Sieber 2020
|New Echo Division 2015:
All of the formerly stored approximately 1,500 historic pipes (dating from 1862-1919) have been restored and reintroduced into the organ from 2014 until 2015. For this reason a new Echo division was built on the south choir balcony (as it used to be originally) to take up those pipes as well as another four ranks to round it off. This division is the second antiphonal division and playable from the main console as an auxiliary (i.e. it can be coupled to any manual). All this was done by Kuhn Organbuilders (CH, Männedorf).
The total costs summed up to about 1.7 million CHF / 1.7 million USD. They were completely funded by donations. If you would build this organ from scrap today it would cost you about 11 million US-Dollars).
You may download a detailed bruchure of the complete organ installation in PDF format in German language here: organ brochure (will open up in a separate window).
Apart from this a second, movable console is planned to be built with which the entire organ can be played as from the console on the main organ.