Photography by Stefan Christian Hoja
The Waltershausen Stadtkirche’s organ was built almost entirely by Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost from 1724 to 1730 and was changed or completed in the following years probably by Johann Heinrich Ruppert. Historical information is not very clear about what happened during the next decades from nearly 1730, but it is possible that work was delayed, that some specification changes occurred and that financial problems arose during the last years of Trost’s intervention. It is not also clear who finished the organ, even though Ruppert is believed to have taken part in the organ construction, and it is also not known when the organ was dedicated (or even if it has happened), as no document details such a ceremony.
The church is considered as a precursor to the Dresden Frauenkirche and was built when Waltershausen had a prosperous emerging economy, which not only allowed the construction of the church but also of a big organ, considered by some one of the most exemplary organs from the Thuringian baroque. It was likely played by Johann Sebastian Bach, who admired Trost’s work.
From 1853 to 1855 Michael Hesse changes some organ aspects, including pipe cutting to raise pitch about a semitone. From 1896 to 1897 Hugo Böhm installs a new blower and offsets pipework by two semitones to adjust to the standard a’=440 tuning. Already in the 20th century, from 1994 to 1998, the organ was repaired by Orgelbau Waltershausen with the intention of bringing it to the original state, including a major revision of all the existing elements, repair of original pieces and substitution of damaged and non-original materials.
The organ facade was designed by Johann Eberhard Strassburger, Court architect, fitting the instrument over the altar between two large columns. With an almost square proportion, measuring 8,3 by 8,8 meters, the façade is designed with two side pedal towers and pipework distributed across three levels with the Öberwerk crowning the whole composition. There are 318 pipes on the façade and two Cymbelsterne, tuned in C and G, decorate the upper pipe fields from the Hauptwerk. Air is supplied by four wedge bellows and six of the pedal registers are obtained by transmission from the Hauptwerk. “Gravitat”, one of the main qualities desired by Bach in organs, was obtained from the three 16’ manual registers, the 16’ pedal registers and the 32’ pedal Posaune and even from the high quantity of 8’ registers.
1724-1730 – organ construction
1730-1755 – organ changes probably by Johann Heinrich Ruppert
1853-1855 – organ changes by Michael Hesse
1896-1897 – organ changes by Hugo Böhm
1958-1959 – organ changes by Hermann Eule
1994-1998 – organ repair by Orgelbau Waltershausen
|Portun-Untersatz 16′||Flöte Dupla 8′||Gedackt 8′||Groß Principal 16′|
|Groß Qvintadena 16′||Vagarr 8′||Nachthorn 8′||Sub-Bass 16′|
|Principal 8′||Flöte travers 4′||Principal 4′||Violon-Bass 16′|
|Gemshorn 8′||Liebl. Principal 4′||Flöte douce 4′||Octaven-Bass 8′|
|Viol d’ Gambe 8′||Spitzflöte 4′||Nachthorn 4′||Celinder-Qvinta 6′|
|Portun 8′||Gedackt Qvinta 3′||Gemshorn 4′||Posaunen-Bass 32′|
|Qvintadena 8′||Wald-Flöte 2′||Spitz-Qvinta 3′||Posaunen-Bass 16′|
|Unda maris 8′||Hohl-Flöte 8′||Nassad-Qvinta 3′||Trompetten-Bass 8′|
|Octava 4′||Vox humana 8′||Octava 2′||Qvintadenen-Bass 16′|
|Salcional 4′||Geigen-Principal 4′||Sesqvialtera II||Viol d’ Gamben-Bass 8′|
|Röhr-Flöta 4′||Mixtura III-IV||Portun-Bass 8′|
|Celinder-Qvinta 3′||Hautbous 8′||Super-Octava 4′|
|Super-Octava 2′||Röhr-Flöten-Bass 4′|
|Sesqvialtera II||Mixtur-Bass VI|