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Once More About Multiple Ranks...

Chris Urbaniak

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once more about multiple ranks…


I’ve read your large discussion about all these ‘large’ mixture-stops having XV or more ranks and it seems like no one takes the most important example into account.


- what about the famous 26x (26-fach or XXVI – NB some sources say the stop had actually 24 ranks) Mixtur of 1582-1585 Julius Antonius Friese organ at Marienkirche / Danzig (today Gdansk, Poland)?

- that was probably the largest mixture ever built (as the La-Force 49fach of Weingarten organ is actually just ‘one-note-mixture’ playing on the bottom C only – know that from my own experience)


The old stops-list is to be found here: http://www.gdanskie-organy.com/organs.php?...id1104105921876


and some pictures here: http://www.gdanskie-organy.com/organs.php?...id1104105921876


Don’t forget about the so-called ‘Polish-Cymbel’, a stop common in old Poland composed of many high ranks sounding in very small intervals. These stops are not remainings of the old Blockwerk (due to their composition: 1/9’, 1/10’, 1/15’ and so on)

Such stops are preserved in Lezajsk (late XVII century, formerly 64/IV+P, one of the largest instruments in Europe at that time, later rebuilt) – HW: Cymbel 7-10x



also in Krakow, Holy Cross Church (1704, recently restored): HW: Cymbel 11x



It’s a pity that dozens of important instruments preserved in almost original state are not taken under consideration in discussions. Just a few examples:


Kazimierz Dolny (1620): http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=44

Jedrzejow (1745-54): http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=54

Pelplin (1679): http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=265

Krzeszow (1732-39): http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=274 (restoration being planned)


What is more, while speaking about Hildebrandts, do not forget about Andreas Hildebrandt working in Danzig/Gdansk (XVIII c.) – being the first one to construct ‘Pedal-Rückpositiven’ like in Pruszcz:




Chris Urbaniak

from Warsaw PL

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It is a fact we in western Europe know too little about the history of the organ in Poland -as well as in other eastern european countries-. While I was a young traveler, going there was not easy. This said, there is no doubt many things to learn and discover.


As for the huge Blockwerk-type mixture,we may assume they had many unissons and so might not have had the tremendous effect one can imagine by reading their number of ranks. The polish Zymbel is yes something completely different.


What is a "Vox amabilis"?


Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Well, yes. But remember that any stop named ‘Lieblich’ is much later than Vox amabilis (according to my knowledge first stops similar to what we call today ‘Lieblich Gedackt’ are to be found under the name Gelind Gedackt or Linde Gedackt, Bavaria mid XVIII century).


I don’t know much about the east-european organ building school (as probably most sources were lost during the IIWW), but it looks like wide-scale stops were then quite common. For example Baor Flet 8’ and 4’ from Jedrzejow being nothing more than an extremely wide Rohrflöte. The organ has also a very special feature – 1st of the 4 manuals is just a transposing keyboard hidden under the Rückpositiv Manual and moved like a shove-coupler. It makes the Rückpositiv play in Kammerton.


Regarding to the iron stop-handles:

XVII and XVIII century polish instruments with original ‘Manubria’ have not only stop-handles but also most of the mechanics made of hammered iron.

[organs in Lezajsk, Sulejow, Wachock, Kazimierz Dolny, Olkusz – all on www.organy.art.pl, and probably lots of undiscovered village instruments]

This kind of material is of course much more durable and in some cases [for instance high water saturation in the atmosphere] it seems to be the best solution – iron unlike wood does not ‘work’.

Some time ago I wanted to find out, where this tradition came from and my conclusions were quite unexpected. Iron stop-handles were used not only in Poland but also in contemporary Ost-Preussen [probably from Stettin through Danzig to Königsberg]. I saw old pictures of instruments in St. Barbara, Danzig (by Andreas Hildebrandt) and little organ of St. Trinitatis, Danzig – both having iron stop-handles [these pictures can be found in Werner Renkewitz und Jan Janca: ‘Geschichte der Orgelbaukunst in Ost - und Westpreussen von 1333 bis 1944.’ Band I. Verlag Weidlich Würzburg. ISBN 3 8035 1250 6].


Instruments built by Johann Josua Mosengel from Königsberg had also stops made in this manner

(for example Pasym – case, old iron stop knobs and stop-plates preserved, the instrument was unfortunately rebuilt – to be seen here: http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=123

and stop-knobs here:


former stop-lists here:


to compare with the monumental Mosengel organ in Swieta Lipka (Heiliglinde) – case preserved - look here:

http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=45 ).


The organs of Königsberg: http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/cliff/41...rg/koeframe.htm


It is difficult to say whether the tradition of using iron elements was active only locally because some instruments built by foreign builders also had them – among them the Olkusz organ built by Hans Hummel from Nuremberg, Danzig St. Marien by Julius Antoni from Friesland. So, did it come from the german countries?


It is possible that the same building school spread from the west to the east around 1550.

At this time two large Hanza-towns Danzig and Königsberg planned to build large instruments in their Dom-cathedrals. The city of Danzig brought Julius Antonius from Friesland and Königsberg Adrian Zickermann from Cammin (near Stettin). How fine their instruments were may be clearly seen if we consider the fact that the last pipes they made were melted down around 1890.


What is more, the connection between West and East was quite tight: we know that organbuilder named Lehmann, who also built organ in Marienkirche Danzig, worked on the instrument in Thomaskirche Leipzig in the mid 1500’s.


[bTW Have you ever wondered why pedal divisions of south- and central-german organs were so handicapped? Lehmann’s activity and the practice of transmitting stops (durchgeschleifte Register) may be an explanation].


Stettin possessed an instrument by Arp Schnitger (St. Jacobi) and in Cammin (birthplace of family Zickermann) stands today an instrument by Michael Briegel (nephew of Friedrich Stellwagen). In Poland there ARE instruments with original windchests and more than 80% pipes by Casparini family, which are fully playable and restored.


Much to say…



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  • 15 years later...

I'm very pleased to be able to say that I DO know a bit about Polish Organs ( as well as Czech ones) because I spent about a year gathering evidence for a talk I gave about the Eastern Eurpean organ world. I knew nothing when I began, but the more I learned, the more delighted I was by what I discovered.

I only covered three countries....Poland, Czech Rep., and Hungary....more than enough for a lifetime.

It isn't just the organs; fine as they often are. It's also the music, and especially music being written in Hungary, where a really fine organ scene has emerged in a single generation, with some outstanding perfomers and very gifted composers.

Try this for size......ALL FROM MEMORY. (There are two videos)


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