Gottfried Silbermann | Dom St. Marien . Freiberg [Germany]

GSilb Fre Dom_Dr. Bernd Gross_CC BY-SA 3.0_crop

Photography by Dr. Bernd Gross
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The St. Marien Dom organ was the first big organ built by Gottfried Silbermann, aged 27 at the beginning of construction. The instrument combines two organbuilding schools, the French-Alsatian and Central German ones, being justified by the mixture of learning backgrounds of Gottfried Silbermann, as the French school characteristics come from the learning process with his older brother Andreas Silbermann, in Strasbourg.

The original pitch was around A=473 Hz, currently risen to A=476 Hz. During the 1981 restoration the original meantone temperament was adapted to find a compromise between the original one and the modern conception of meantone temperament.

Both the organ case design and specification were influenced by Elias Lindner, the organist at that time, which had been pupil of Johann Kuhnau. The design of this first important organ was going to influence the design of the characteristic Gottfried Silbermann cases. The main case is flat but with small salient curves on side towers and in the central pipes. The top of the main case is flat and the Oberwerk resembles almost a decorative element over the instrument, being flanked by two trumpet angels. On the sides of the main case there are also two musician angels, one with a portative organ and another with a pair of drums. The elaborate top pipe shades, covered with gold and color painting, contrast with the main design, more strict and austere.

1711-1714 – organ construction
1738 – small changes in stoplist by Gottfried Silbermann and case regilding by Christian Polycarp Butzaus
1841 – first try to retune the instrument, impossible due to lack of funds
1853 – second try to retune the instrument, forbidden by the organist and the Kantor
1926 – modifications in wind supply system
1933 – rebuilding of Quintadehn 8’
1939 – rebuilding of reeds
1950’s – restoration of wind supply system
1981-1983 – organ restoration by Jemlich Orgelbau
2009-2010 – bellows restoration

Hauptwerk Oberwerk Brustwerk Pedal
Bordun 16′ Quintadehn 16′ Gedackt 8′ Untersatz 32′
Principal 8′ Principal 8′ Principal 4′ Principalbaß 16′
Rohrflöte 8′ Gedackt 8′ Rohrflöte 4′ Subbaß 16′
Viol di Gamba 8′ Quintadehn 8′ Nassat 3′ Octavbaß 8′
Octava 4′ Octava 4′ Octava 2′ Octavbaß 4′
Quinta 3′ Spitzflöte 4′ Tertia 1+3/5′ Pedalmixtur 6fach
Superoctav 2′ Superoctav 2′ Quinta 1+1/2′ Posaunenbaß 16″
Tertia (1+3/5′) Flaschflöt 1′ Sufflöt 1′ Trompetenbaß 8′
Mixtur 4fach Mixtur 3fach Mixtur 3fach Clarinbaß 4′
Cimbeln 3fach Zimbeln 2fach
Cornet c’ 5fach Echo c’ 5fach
Trompet 8′ Krumbhorn 8′
Clarin 4′ Vox humana

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