Karl Riepp | Basilika St. Alexander und Theodor . Ottobeuren [Germany]

KRiep Ott_Johannes Böckh and Thomas Mirtsch_CC BY-SA 3.0_crop

Photography by Johannes Böckh and Thomas Mirtsch
icon_01-40 icon_01-39
icon_01-34 icon_01-37
icon_01-30 icon_01-42
icon_01-27 icon_01-28
icon_01-22 icon_01-24


The baroque instruments in Ottobeuren are a pair of organs, built until 1766 by Karl Riepp (1710-1775). The Epistle side contains the Trinity organ (Dreifaltigkeitsorgel) and the Gospel side has the Holy Spirit organ (Heilig-Geist-Orgel). The Epistle organ is the largest one, with four manuals and 49 registers, while the Gospel organ has just two manuals and 26 registers.

Johann Holzhay, pupil from Riepp, became responsible for the organs maintenance after Riepp’s death and has changed the organ diapason in 1787 by cutting pipework, changing the A=390Hz tuning to almost a tone up. This change and some later interventions in tuning and voicing have transformed the character of the organs from what had been set by Riepp. The 1862 intervention by Joseph Bohl changed the pedalboard style, from French to German, and also the bellows type, from wedge to parallel. The original instruments were conceived with some French characteristics, including for example the Recit and Echo divisions in Epistle organ and the extremely low tuning already cited, due to the apprenticeship taken in France for several years and to the practice of organbuilding in this country before building the Ottobeuren organs.

The Positif cases are divided into bass and treble, one on each side of each organ, and both instruments look very similar when seen from the outside. The cases are built as an extension of the choir stalls and were designed by Martin Hörmann and Joseph Christian (main responsible for carvings).

Karl Riepp, besides building the organ, also created some registration proposals listed in a creative way, containing a first presentation of organ stops, compared to ingredients, and later some combination ideas presented like menus. Bourdon 16’ is compared to “le pain dans la soupe” (the bread in the soup), “Octave ou prestant : le vin” (the wine), “Doublett, superoctav : le sel” (the salt), and even, in some finer meals – “Cromorne : perdrix” (partridge). The menus go from a “Grand repas” with “La pédale en plus : Vin de Bourgogne” to several specific meals, crafting a cheerful and humorous way of presenting registration proposals.


1754-1766 – organ construction by Karl Riepp
1787 – Johann Holzhay intervention
1862 – Joseph Bohl replacement of pedalboard and bellows, and tuning changes in Epistle organ
1914 – Epistle organ intervention by Steinmeyer
1922 – Gospel organ intervention by Steinmeyer
1979 – Epistle organ renovation by Schmid


Epistle organ – Dreifaltigkeitsorgel

Positiv Hauptwerk Recit Echo Pedal
Princip (Diskant) 16′ Copel 16′ Cornet V Copel 8′ Princip 16′
Flauta 8′ Princip 8′ Flet 4′ Copel 16′
Copel 8′ Flauta 8′ Quint (Bass) 2′ 2/3 Octav 8′
Octav 4′ Copel 8′ Larigot (Diskant) 2′ 2/3 + 2′ Gamb 8′
Flet 4′ Salicet 8′ Quart (Bass) 2′ Quint 5′ 1/3
Gamb 4′ Gamb 8′ Tertz (Bass) 1′ 3/5 Flet 4′
Nazard 2′ 2/3 Prestant 4′ Tertz (Diskant) 2′ + 1′ 3/5 Mixtur III
Quart 2′ Flet 4′ Hauboi 8′ Bomba 16′
Tertz 1′ 3/5 Tertz 3′ 1/5 Trompet 8′
Quint 1′ 1/3 Quint 2′ 2/3 Trompet 4′
Fornit V-VI Waldflet 2′
Trompet 8′ Tertz 1′ 3/5
Cromor 8′ Mixtur IV
Voxho 8′ Cimbal IV-VI
Clairon 4′ Cornet V
Trompet 8′

Bass : C1-F#3
Diskant : G3-D5

Gospel organ – Heilig-Geist-Orgel

Positiv Hauptwerk Pedal
Coppel 8′ Coppel 16′ Prinzipal 16′
Flöte 8′ Prinzipal 8′ Coppel 16′
Prestant 4′ Salicet 8′ Flöte 8′
Flöte 4′ Gamba 8′ Flöte 4′
Quinte 2 2/3′ Flöte 8′ Quinte 2 2/3′
Doublette 2′ Coppel 8′ Fagott 8′
Mixtur IV Oktave 4′
Cornet III Flöte 4′
Schalmei 8′ Doublette 2′
Mixtur IV
Zimbel III
Cromorne 8′

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s