Orgelbau Th. Kuhn AG, 1995
Austria, Upper Austria
Orgelbau Th. Kuhn AG, 1995
A Genuine sound document
The Josef Mauracher organ dating from 1905 in the Catholic parish church of St. Michael in Schwanenstadt (Upper Austria) is a genuine sound document of church music at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century.
The 38 stops are divided in two manuals and a pedal and are located on stop channel chests with hanging valves (Hängeventilladen) and pneumatic action. The parish chronicle relates that while the organ builder was mounting the new instrument, the innkeeper Wagner had already donated an additional stop: the Oboe, located in the Oberwerk, was the 38th register. It has its own windchest and is the only reed stop of the manuals. The stops of both manuals are each located on two windchests which are on top of each other. The two manual departments are next to each other. So are both pedal chests at the back side of the organ.
All the pedal stops are extensions and borrow pipes from the manual in the 16 ' and 8 ' range (or rather in the 8 ' and 4 ' range with the Cello and Fugara stops). It is remarkable that the idea of placing a strong and a quiet string stop into each manual department was continued in the pedal department. In the 4 ' range there is a Principal, a flute and a string stop in both manuals. The pipe ranks are placed on the windchest in chromatic order.
The manual of exercises for the organ by Schildknecht, which dates from that time, lists in detail the character and combination of each stop. One could almost believe the Schwanenstadt organ was built to illustrate the descriptions in this book.
Due to its good condition - the pneumatic was reliable, the pipes and windchests were not attacked by woodworm - there was no need to remove the instrument and so it survived the years of baroque euphoria almost without damage. In 1985 the Master organ builder Wolfgang Rehn, from Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd strongly advised that the instrument be retained.
In 1995 Kuhn dismantled the organ completely, renovated and cleaned it. On this occasion former modifications were reversed: the Gambe from the second manual, the front pipes of the Principal made of tin from both manuals and the second double rise reservoir were reconstructed and a new motor was installed. The pumping pedal system was nevertheless not put into operation again. Replacing the membranes of the squares which control the valves by wedge bellows improved the pneumatic considerably. The pipes were voiced by the voicer Raymond Petzold of Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd according to the tonal scheme of the Romantic period. The organ is now tuned to A = 435 Hz at 16° C.
Text: Markus Himmelbauer, Schwanenstadt
Photo: Franz Pucher
Translation 2008: RS