Arp Schnitger | St. Martini et Nicolai . Steinkirchen [Germany]

web crop ArpSc Ste Hans-Jörg Gemeinholzer 3_CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Photography by Hans-Jörg Gemeinholzer
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The Steinkirche organ was built from 1685 to 1687 by Arp Schnitger and is considered, along with the Cappel instrument, one of the best preserved instruments from Schnitger, featuring an almost-original intonation. The Arp Schnitger organ used six registers from a former Dirck Hoyer organ of 1581.

In 1775 the organ is repaired by Georg Wilhelm Wilhelmy, comprising a general repair, the addition of a Pedal Sperrventil and a Zimbelstern, the replacement of Pedal Gedackt 8’ by an Octave 8’, and the foiling of façade pipes with tin.

In 1893 Heinrich Röver, already in charge of the organ maintenance, changes the wedge bellows to reservoir bellows and replaces the Brustwerk’s Holzgedackt 8′ by a Metallgedackt 8′.

In the 20th century Von Beckerath proceeds to a first restoration, trying to keep the maximum of original material and modifying it as little as possible. The original keyboards were removed in this first intervention and were stored, being reintroduced forty years later during the second intervention by Von Beckerath.

In 2011 a new restoration is needed, being performed by Rowan West. Mixtur original pipes were replaced by new pipes, while the original ones were stored inside the organ; wind pressure is also lowered, temperament is adjusted and investigations on pipe dating are carried out, with new findings on four ranks.

Currently the instrument has 28 stops, on two manuals and pedal; the temperament is a modified Werckmeister III, and both manuals and pedal feature a short octave (respectively CDEFGA-c3 on the manuals and CDE-d1 on pedal).

The main case houses Brustwerk and Hauptwerk, while the Pedal division is located in two separated lateral towers, in a very clear Werkprinzip composition. This allows a clear comprehension of each part in Trios and some Chorale Preludes, while still allowing a good sound blend between every section when needed.


1685-1687 – organ construction
1691 – organ painting
1704 – organ repair by Schnitger
1763 – organ repair by Johann Matthias Schreiber
1769 – organ repair by Dietrich Christoph Gloger
1775 – organ repair by Georg Wilhelm Wilhelmy
1843 – organ repair by Philip Furtwängler
1862-1929 – organ maintenance by Johann Hinrich and Heinrich Röver
1893 – organ changes by Heinrich Röver
1948 – organ restoration by Von Beckerath
1987 – organ restoration by Von Beckerath
2011-2012 – organ restoration by Rowan West


Hauptwerk Brustwerk Pedal
Principal 8′ Gedact 8′ Principal 16′
Quintadena 16′ Rohr-Flöth 4′ Octav 8′
Rohr Flöt 8′ Quinte 3′ Octav 4′
Octave 4′ Octave 2′ Nachthorn 2′
Nassat 3′ Spitz-Flöth 2′ Rausch-Pfeiffe II
Octave 2′ Tertzian II Mixtur IV-V
Gemshorn 2′ Scharff III-V Posaun 16′
Sexquialtera II Krumphorn 8′ Trompet 8′
Mixtur IV-VI Cornett 2′
Cimbel III
Trompet 8′

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