Gottfried Silbermann | Frauenkirche . Dresden [Germany]

web crop Olivier Bruchez_CC BY-SA 2.0

Photography by Olivier Bruchez
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The Silbermann organ was innaugurated in the 1st of December 1736 in a concert by Johann Sebastian Bach. The organ had at that time three manuals and 43 registers, and the case had been designed by George Bähr, who also designed the church interior. The currently existing organ is not, however, original from Silbermann, as the original one was destroyed during the WWII and rebuilt in the 21st century.

The Dresden Frauenkirche was built at the same time as the Petrikirche organ in Freiberg, with a similar disposition, windchest and pipework, which means that we can hear the Petrikirche organ to understand what would be the intended sound, as this organ wasn’t almost changed. At the time the organ was destroyed, in 1945, it had a total of 80 stops distributed across a five manual modern console (visible in the image gallery), result from a 20th century intervention.

The new organ at Frauenkirche was built in 2005 by Kern and its construction was based in the Silbermann brothers techniques, trying to approximate it to the original organ, and has a disposition list very similar to the original stoplist from Silbermann. The main differences are in the addition of two stops to the Hauptwerk and three stops to the Pedal, besides a completely new French romantic section in order to increase its versatility.


1732-1736 – organ construction by Gottfried Silbermann
1769 – retuning
1819 – retuning from Kammerton to standard pitch
1912 – enlargement by Johannes Jahn
2005 – new organ installation by Kern


Brustwerk Hauptwerk Oberwerk Récit Expressiv Pedal
Gedackt 8’ Principal 16’ Quintade 16’ Bourdon 16’ Sub bourdon 32’
Principal 4’ Bordun 16’ Principal 8’ Flûte harmonique 8’ Principal bass 16’
Rohrflöte 4’ Octave 8’ Quintade 8’ Viole de Gambe 8′ Subbass 16’
Nasat 2 2/3’ Viola di Gamba 8’ Salicional 8’ Voix Celeste 8’ Octave bass 8’
Gemshorn 2’ Rohrflöte 8’ Gedackt 8’ Bourdon 8’ Bassflöte 8’
Octave 2’ Octave 4’ Octave 4’ Principal 4’ Octave bass 4’
Terz 1 3/5’ Spitzflöte 4’ Rohrflöte 4’ Flûte octaviante 4′ Mixture bass VI
Quinte 1 1/3’ Quinte 2 2/3’ Nasat 2 2/3’ Octavin 2’ Bassoon 32’
Sifflet 1’ Octave 2’ Octave 2’ Piccolo 1’ Trombone 16’
Mixtur III Terz 1 3/5’ Sesquialtera I Plein Jeu III-VI Trumpet bass 8’
Vox humana 8’ Cornet V Mixtur IV Cornet V Clarina bass 4’
Mixtur V Trompete 8’ Basson 16′
Zimbel IV Chalumeau 8’ Trompette harmonique 8’
Fagott 16’ Basson-Hautbois 8’
Trompete 8’ Voix Humaine 8’
Clarine 4’ Clairon harmonique 4’

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