Gerhard von Holy | Marienkirche . Marienhafe [Deutschland]

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Photography by Eskil Wohlberg
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The Marienkirche organ was built from 1710 to 1713 by Gerhard von Holy, one of the disciples of Arp Schnitger. It was built on the East side of the church, later moved to the West side. Intonation has survived almost untouched until the present but pipework, mainly made of lead, had to be repaired several times due to corrosion. The organ has a short octave and the pedal is just attached, without dedicated ranks.

In 1761 the organ is changed by Johann Adam Berner, with the addition of new keyboard coverings and the substitution of reed tongues in Trompete 8’ and Krummhorn 8’. Temperament is also changed. In 1818 the organ is repaired by Johann Gottfried Rohlfs and façade pipes are tin foiled. Some years later, in 1828 the organ is stored in the church tower due to the risk of collapse of the choir area. On the following years, from 1829 to 1830 some parts of the church are demolished and in 1831 the organ is reassembled by Johann Gottfried Rohlfs without changes.

In 1886 Johann Diepenbrock substitutes Quintadena 16’ by a Bordun 16’ and tin-foils façade pipes. Already in the 20th century, in 1908, suggestions are made to the creation of an independent pedal, substitution of some ranks to adequate the instrument to the romantic taste and construction of new pipes to complete the short octave. One year later Furtwängler & Hammer is proposed to the construction of a new organ inside the old case, leaving the Rückpositiv case empty just as decoration, as the changes to the original organ would be much more expensive. Hopefully those suggestions are not taken and the instrument is kept as it is from the 18th century. Still in the same year the Trompete 8’ rank is reconstructed.

A major restoration work is carried by Ahrend and Brunzema in 1966 (Rückpositiv) and in 1969 (Hauptwerk), with the reconstruction of windchests due to the degradation of the wood of lower quality, keeping, however, part of the original mechanical elements such as valves and traction pieces. Quintadena 16’ and Trompete 8’ are rebuilt.

From 1987 to 1988 the organ is repaired by Jürgen Ahrend, cleaning it and tuning in “Norder Stimmung”, a temperament between meantone and equal temperament, while also repairing two pipe feet damaged by corrosion.

In 2006 pipework is again repaired by Jürgen Ahrend because of corrosion and in 2009 an anticorrosion ventilation system is installed in windchests to keep the acetic acid from corroding lead pipework. In 2010 the organ case is repaired by Hendrik Ahrend and Dietrich Wellmer, following the original color scheme studied and found by Wellmer, along with the substitution of 160 pipe feet damaged by lead corrosion before the installation of the ventilation system.


1710-1713 – organ construction
1761 – organ repair by Johann Adam Berner
1781 – organ repair by Johann Friedrich Wenthin
1797 – organ repair by Johann Friedrich Wenthin
1818 – organ repair by Johann Gottfried Rohlfs
1828 – organ storage
1831 – organ reassembly by Johann Gottfried Rohlfs
1886 – organ changes by Johann Diepenbrock
1909 – organ changes
1966-1969 – organ restoration by Ahrend and Brunzema
1987-1988 – organ repair by Jürgen Ahrend
2006 – organ repair by Jürgen Ahrend
2009 – installation of anticorrosion ventilation system
2010 – organ case repair by Hendrik Ahrend and Dietrich Wellmer


Rückpositiv Hauptwerk
Rohr Fleute 8′ Quintaden 16′
Principaal 4′ Principaal 8′
Blok Fleute 4′ Gedackt 8′
Octave 2′ Octave 4′
Siffleute 1′ Spitz Fleute 4′
Quinte 11/2′ Quinte 3′
Scharf II Octave 2′
Krumhorn 8′ Spits Fleute 2′
Sesquialter II
Mixtuur IV-VI
Cymbel III
Trompete 8′

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