The fascination of organ building

 

 

Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2010

Restoration

Organ built by
Johann Wöckherl, 1642
Windchests
slider chests
Key action
mechanical
Stop action
mechanical
Inauguration
26.03.2011
Expert
Wolfgang Kreuzhuber
Voicing
Gunter Böhme


www.orgelbau.ch/ope=801480

Wien

II/P/20

Austria, Vienna
Franziskanerkirche

© pictures Foto Rupprecht/Franziskanerkonvent, Ch. Kaiserseder, Wien

Kuhn Organ Builders Ltd, 2010

Restoration

Organ built by
Johann Wöckherl, 1642
Windchests
slider chests
Key action
mechanical
Stop action
mechanical
Inauguration
26.03.2011
Expert
Wolfgang Kreuzhuber
Voicing
Gunter Böhme

A true jewel of an organ

The organ of the Franciscan Church in Vienna, built in 1642 by Johann Wöckherl, is without question one of the most important monuments of organ building in Austria. For our team, restoring the organ meant the fulfilment of a long-standing dream - a dream which began more than 20 years ago. At that time we had already examined the instrument whilst we were restoring the festival organ in Klosterneuburg Priory which, incidentally, was also built in 1642. We were instantly taken with the Wöckherl organ.

For a 350-year-old organ in a European metropolis, it still consisted of an unusually large amount of original material. This included much of the case, manual windchests and many of the flue pipes. A number of interventions over the years were noticeable primarily through changes to the console, action, back wall of the case and the winding.

A thorough examination and documentation of the current condition of the organ resulted in a clear foundation for the necessary restoration procedures and alterations which needed to be made to return the instrument to its original state. These alterations were made in the following areas:

Pitch range in the Positiv with three sub-semitones, original pitch range in the Pedal organ (C-b), original layout of the façade with closed doors for the Positiv, console, bellows system with three wedge-bellows and manual pumper system, stops «Khrumphörner 8 '» in the Positiv and Pusaunnen 8 '» in the Pedal using a remaining original reed pipe as a model.

The richly carved case was covered in a thick layer of paint due to having been given a number of coats over the years. The restorer needed to remove these in order to present the wonderful carvings in their full splendour once again - a highly intricate task which is extremely time consuming. Now the organ and the choir of the church, both returned to the state they were in the 17th century, together form a complete piece of artwork which is unique in the cosmopolitan and musically important city of Vienna.