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Mixtures on Bach's Weimar organ


Malcolm Kemp
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Whilst hoping to avoid an argument about tierce mixtures or no tierce mixtures in Bach, could anyone please let me know (or tell me where I can easily find) details of the composition of the mixtures on Bach's organ at Weimar?

 

Thanks

 

Malcolm

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Ulrich Dähnert, in his contribution to Stauffer & May's J S Bach as Organist (p. 6) gives the specification of the organ in the castle chapel as recorded in 1737. (He states that the organ was rebuilt by Nicolaus Trebs in 1714, probably to Bach's wishes).

 

There are just 2 mixtures, both on the Upper (main) Manual - Mixtur 6 rks & Cymbel 3 rks (the latter from the old Compenius organ) - plus a Sesquialtera 4 rks on the lower manual.

 

Hartmut Haupt, in the following chapter on Thuringian organs (p. 26) refers to JSB's recommendation that 'stops sounding the third should be present in order to add variety to the ensemble'. For the rebuilding of the Mühlhausen organ, JSB specifically demanded a new Tertia on the Brustwerk to complement the Sesquialteras on the HW and RP. Haupt also suggests that Bach may have known Trost's magnum opus at Waltershausen where many of the mixtures contain tierces. However, I suspect Trost was the odd one out in this respect.

 

At Naumburg - another organ with which JSB was closely involved - there are large quint-sounding mixtures on all 3 manuals, plus a Sesquialtera on the HW, which can be used in the chorus.

 

My guess is that the Mixtur 6 rks at Weimar mixtures was purely quint-sounding, and probably the Cimbel also, as high-sounding Terzzimbeln were not part of the local organbuilding tradition.

 

Sorry to to offer more conclusive evidence. My bet is that JSB enjoyed the added richness of 'tierced' ensemble, whenever the opportunity arose or whenever the fancy took him.

 

JS

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Ulrich Dähnert, in his contribution to Stauffer & May's J S Bach as Organist (p. 6) gives the specification of the organ in the castle chapel as recorded in 1737. (He states that the organ was rebuilt by Nicolaus Trebs in 1714, probably to Bach's wishes).

 

There are just 2 mixtures, both on the Upper (main) Manual - Mixtur 6 rks & Cymbel 3 rks (the latter from the old Compenius organ) - plus a Sesquialtera 4 rks on the lower manual. ...

 

JS

 

I have found another source * which states that the Mixtur on the Oberwerk was only of four ranks, and the Cymbel only of two. For the Brust-Positive, it gives a two rank Mixtur and a Sesquialtera - the number of ranks not being specified.

 

However, the stoplist as given in the Orgelbüchlein agrees with the information above.

 

I am also sorry not to be more helpful. I must admit that I have never seen the intervals of these mixtures in print. Even Peter Williams is silent on this specific question.

 

 

 

* Bach, by E.H. Thorne. George Bill & Sons: London, 1904

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Ulrich Dähnert, in his contribution to Stauffer & May's J S Bach as Organist (p. 6) gives the specification of the organ in the castle chapel as recorded in 1737. (He states that the organ was rebuilt by Nicolaus Trebs in 1714, probably to Bach's wishes).

 

There are just 2 mixtures, both on the Upper (main) Manual - Mixtur 6 rks & Cymbel 3 rks (the latter from the old Compenius organ) - plus a Sesquialtera 4 rks on the lower manual.

 

Hartmut Haupt, in the following chapter on Thuringian organs (p. 26) refers to JSB's recommendation that 'stops sounding the third should be present in order to add variety to the ensemble'. For the rebuilding of the Mühlhausen organ, JSB specifically demanded a new Tertia on the Brustwerk to complement the Sesquialteras on the HW and RP. Haupt also suggests that Bach may have known Trost's magnum opus at Waltershausen where many of the mixtures contain tierces. However, I suspect Trost was the odd one out in this respect.

 

At Naumburg - another organ with which JSB was closely involved - there are large quint-sounding mixtures on all 3 manuals, plus a Sesquialtera on the HW, which can be used in the chorus.

 

My guess is that the Mixtur 6 rks at Weimar mixtures was purely quint-sounding, and probably the Cimbel also, as high-sounding Terzzimbeln were not part of the local organbuilding tradition.

 

Sorry to to offer more conclusive evidence. My bet is that JSB enjoyed the added richness of 'tierced' ensemble, whenever the opportunity arose or whenever the fancy took him.

 

JS

 

============================

 

 

I cannot add anything concrete to what John states, because the Weimar instrument was destroyed in a fire C.1770.

 

However, there is an intruiging possibility that Bach, (and possibly Wather), were influenced by Johann Ernst, who had completed a bit of a grand tour, during which he came into contact with other styles of German/Netherlands organs well away from the Thuringian region. Both Bach and Walther taught Prince Johann Ernst, and it may well be that "foreign" ideas of terz-choruses/mixtures were tried out when the Weimar Castle organ was re-built by Trebs.

 

Whatever the truth of the matter, Bach certainly seems to have been quite an enthusiast for tierce mixtures thereafter, and possibly explains why an organ as remote from Thuringia as that at the Bavo-kerk, Haarlem, is so absolutely right for the music of Bach.....colour, richness and vibrancy of tone as well as vivid tonal contrasts.

 

MM

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============================

Whatever the truth of the matter, Bach certainly seems to have been quite an enthusiast for tierce mixtures thereafter, and possibly explains why an organ as remote from Thuringia as that at the Bavo-kerk, Haarlem, is so absolutely right for the music of Bach.....colour, richness and vibrancy of tone as well as vivid tonal contrasts.

 

MM

 

And it would have been even happier with its tierce mixtures before it was retuned to equal temperament.

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And it would have been even happier with its tierce mixtures before it was retuned to equal temperament.

 

======================

 

 

Quite probably, but then, it would limit the field a bit.

 

I could live with it as it is now! ;)

 

MM

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