Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2023
Kath. Kirche St. Vitus Wettelbrunn
Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2023
«The art of constraint»
The organ in the Baroque church of St. Vitus, located in the picturesque wine village of Wettelbrunn, was originally built by Franz Xaver Bernauer in 1808 (I/P/11).
In 1922, the organ was rebuilt in the historic Bernauer case with 11 stops on pneumatic cone chests and membrane chests by X. Mönch Söhne, Überlingen.
In 1968, the organ was again rebuilt by Franz Winterhalter, Oberharmersbach. Alterations were made, including the placing of the pneumatic console on the right side of the case, as well as changes to the sound of the instrument.
In the past decades, massive worm infestation had affected the windchests, relays and wooden pipes to such an extent that the organ was no longer playable.
We have now built a purely mechanical organ with two manuals into the historic case. Its size and its acoustic concept are in harmony with the available space and surroundings.
The pipes d°, e°-b'' of the Principal 8 ' of the great organ sound in the five front flats. The two manual divisions are divided into C side and C# side on an intercalated windchest behind the front. Due to the significantly more diverse stoplist in comparison to the historical instrument, the original sides of the case have now been extended in depth as required and are clearly set off in a simple panel and frame construction.
The pedal organ is free-standing with the wooden pipes forming the low range of the Principalbass 8 ' flank the pedal chests as a visible lateral façade.
The complete historic case with its carved ornaments and the double-rise reservoir was carefully restored in our workshop in Männedorf on Lake Zurich. The parts of the case that had been lost or altered were faithfully reproduced.
The console is again located in the centre of the lower case, as it was in the original instrument. The manual action was implemented as a suspended action with suspended keys.
The colour retouching, the surface finishing of the case and the gold leaf on the ornaments was done by the restorer Wolfgang Karle.
Following the organ restoration, the historic double-rise reservoir bellows (Mönch 1922) again regulate the wind for the new organ, bearing witness to the predecessor instrument. The pumping pedal system was also repaired, so that the organ can now be played with hand-pumped wind as an alternative to blower operation.
Although the main musical objective was to fulfil the requirements of liturgical usage, the sound of the instrument also satisfies the demands of concertante church music ranging from Southern German Baroque to Early Romantic.
The stoplist of the new organ is intended to fulfil a classical, two-manual concept in the Early Romantic style.
The foundation stops, which are distributed on two manuals, comprise a warmsounding Principal 8 ', a Gedackt 8 ' and a subtle Rohrflöte 8 ', which allows for smooth dynamics ranging from piano to forte. The Fugara 4 ' bridges the gap to the «Klangkrone», a mild mixture in the 2 ' range. Thanks to dual usage sliders, the flute stops in the 4 ', 2 2/3 ' and 2 ' range are available on both manuals. Linked to the Terz 1 3/5 , there is a Sesquialter or Cornet décomposé to add colour to the sound. The Basson-Hautbois 8 ' of the second manual is a solo stop which can also be played together with the foundation stops. The Subbass 16 ' provides a solid tonal foundation in the pedal. The Principalbass 8 ' extends the sound options in the pedal. Because the height of the historical case is insufficient to accommodate open 8 ' stops, the great octave is also used for the diapason of the great organ.
The versatility of this tonal concept allows for colourful registrations for liturgical purposes as well as a variety of options for trio and cantus firmus literature.
On account of the compact space available and the musical requirements to be fulfilled, it was particularly important in this case to practise «the art of constraint» with regard to sound quality and sound development as well as ease of maintenance. This by no means equates to minimalism, but instead offers a well-considered selection of options, with a view to the future function of the instrument for both liturgical and concert use.
Translation: RS 2023