Germany, Baden-Wurttemberg

© pictures Orgelbau Kuhn AG, Männedorf

Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2009

New organ

slider chests
Key action
Stop action
mechanical + electrical
Rudolf Aebischer, Gunter Böhme

Crossing borders - combining styles

The Jesuit Church in Heidelberg makes the hearts of organ builders leap for joy. A splendidly restored room with a large free standing gallery, cathedral-like acoustics and a lot of space for a new instrument. In spite of the best conditions it was not easy to meet the expectations. The breakthrough did not come until our visit to a reference work, the organ in the cathedral in Osnabrück.

The connoisseurs will notice at once how «baroque» the tonal conception is for a piece from the Kuhn company. Contrary to similar instruments, we constructed an oberwerk for the second manual instead of a positive in a swell box. It is designed for the dialog with the great organ disposing of stops at 16 ft. pitch. The great organ with tierce stops and two rank mixtures, the reed stops in German style and - especially - with an appropriate scaling is in no way inferior to the oberwerk. Furthermore, romantic elements are also considered: Flauto amabile, Unda maris, Clarinette - crossing borders both obviously and elegantly.

The connection of styles happens where the foundation stops of manual I and II form an orchestral entity with the large swell organ. The dynamic scale of the third manual finds its equivalent in the other manuals in strength and tonal colour. Among them are also the three stops derived from the pedal organ which are located in the swell organ. They additionally increase the variety of sound.

Concerning the design, the choice of an architectural novelty rather than a traditional style was deliberate. The dominance of the front is mitigated by a tissue of premium steel - all this in front of a concave layout. Like a bowl it connects the east side with the west side of the building with the effect that the north wall does not appear to be a boundary but instrument and room blend harmoniously into each other: A connection of sound and architecture that is not only impressive but also sounds good.