Esaias Compenius the Elder

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Esaias Compenius the Elder (* 1566 ; baptized on December 8, 1566 in Eisleben ; † 1617 in Hillerød ?) Was a German organ builder .

life and work

Beginning of a copy of the treatise Orgeln Verdingnis

Esaias Compenius, who signed with Cumpenius until 1606 , was baptized on December 8, 1566 in Eisleben, St. Andreas. He was an organist as well as a princely organ and instrument maker. Even his father, Heinrich Compenius the Elder , was a renowned organ builder, as was his brother Heinrich Compenius the Younger and Timotheus Compenius . Esaias was the most talented of Heinrich's sons and the most important representative of the organ building family. Until 1585 he was trained in his father's workshop in Nordhausen , where he worked from 1586 to 1589.

Esaias Compenius was married twice. From the first marriage, which was closed around 1588, his son Adolph (around 1588–1650) emerged, who also became an organist and organ builder. A second son was the Wolfenbüttel court musician Christoph Compenius.

In 1589 there was a dispute with his father during the construction of the organ in Hettstedt , so that Esaias angrily withdrew from the construction. It was only superficially about the different types of windchest . While Henry the system of spring chest preferred, favored Esaias and Timothy Compenius the slider chest . The relationship was obviously so disturbed that Esaias first set up in Magdeburg . Between 1588 and 1602 the trace of him is largely lost. From 1605 he was in the service of Duke Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel as a Princely Braunschweig organ and instrument maker . There he got to know the composer Michael Praetorius , with whom he obviously had a friendship. Compenius had a not inconsiderable influence on Praetorius' De organographia ( Syntagma musicum , Volume 2, 1619). In it, Praetorius mentions Compenius' Orgeln Verdingnis , a guide to organ testing, which, however, was never published. During his time in Wolfenbüttel / Braunschweig (1606–1612), Compenius was the second Wolfenbüttel court organist to teach his nephew Johannes Heckelauer (around 1610). From 1612 he lived in Magdeburg again.

Compenius received important commissions that he could not complete alone. In addition, around 1610 he sustained an eye injury that might have occurred while soldering, which further delayed the construction of the new Kroppenstedt organ. Due to the protracted construction period, which finally spanned ten years, a dispute arose, which was reflected in a violent exchange of letters. In 1616 Compenius planned to move to Braunschweig. His organ, built in 1610 at Hesse Castle , he moved to the chapel of Frederiksborg Castle near Copenhagen in 1617 . The fact that he fell ill, died and was buried there is not documented.

The organ at Frederiksborg Castle has been completely preserved. With its registers made from selected woods, the instrument is in the tradition of the organo di legno . It is particularly lavishly furnished and was obviously not subject to any financial restrictions. The stop slides are made of pure silver, the prospect pipes, manual lower keys and the pedal keyboard are covered with ivory.

Esaias Compenius the elder is often confused with his nephew, the organ builder Esaias Compenius the younger .

Proven works

year place church image Manuals register Remarks
1589 Hettstedt St. Jacobi Reconstruction and new Rückpositiv , together with his father; not received
around 1590 Magdeburg St. Catherine's unspecified work; not received
1603-1605 Groeningen lock Halberstadt St Martini organ 2.jpg II / P 59 Repair and maintenance work; Housing with prospect pipes preserved in St. Martini (Halberstadt)Gröninger organ
1605-1610 Hessen am Fallstein near Wolfenbüttel lock FrederiksborgCompeniusPipesWide.JPG II / P 27 New building; Moved by Compenius to Frederiksborg Palace in 1617 ; completely preserved there → organ from Frederiksborg Castle
1603-1613 Kroppenstedt Martini Church Kroppenstedt organ.JPG II / P 20th New building; Housing and 3 registers preserved
1615 Wolfenbüttel Lady Chapel New building; not received
before 1617 Magdeburg- Sudenburg St. Ambrose New building; completed after 1606 by Heinrich Compenius the Younger ; not received
1615-1617 Buckeburg Bückeburg City Church Bückeburg City Church Organ op.114.jpg III / P 33 New building; completed by Adolph Compenius? The disposition III / P / 48 handed down by Praetorius does not seem to have been carried out. Pipework replaced after several modifications; Housing fell victim to an arson attack in 1962; 1997 reconstruction by Rudolf Janke (picture)


  • with Michael Praetorius: organs contracting, construction and delivery both in new manufacture and revision of old organs. 1619.


  • Gerhard Aumüller , Mad Kjersgaard: On the 400th anniversary of the death of the organ builder Esaias Compenius (1566–1617) . In: Ars Organi . tape 65 , 2017, p. 77-89 .
  • Gerhard Aumüller, Helga Brück, Ernst Bittcher: The Compenius organ of the Prediger Church in Erfurt. The Cumpenius / Compenius family and central German organ building in the 17th century . In: Messages of the association for the history and antiquity of Erfurt . 73 (NF 20). Gütersloh 2012, p. 185–207 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  • Gerhard Aumüller, Wolf Hobohm, Dorothea Schröder: Harmony of the tonal and the appearance - The importance of the organ building families Beck and Compenius for the central German organ art of the time before Heinrich Schütz . In: Schütz yearbook . tape 32 , 2010, p. 51-105 .
  • Friedrich Wilhelm BautzCompenius. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 1, Bautz, Hamm 1975. 2nd, unchanged edition Hamm 1990, ISBN 3-88309-013-1 , Sp. 1115-1116.
  • Rainer Boestfleisch: Compenius, Esaias. In: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck , Dieter Lent et al. (Ed.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon - 8th to 18th century . Appelhans Verlag, Braunschweig 2006, ISBN 3-937664-46-7 , p. 153-154 .
  • Salomon Kümmerle: Compenius, family . In: Encyclopedia of Protestant Church Music . tape 1 . Gütersloh 1888, p. 286 f .
  • Uwe Pape (Ed.): Lexicon of North German Organ Builders. tape 1 : Thuringia and the surrounding area . Pape, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-921140-86-4 , pp. 43 .
  • Gottfried Rehm : The Compenius organ at Kroppenstedt . Niebüll 2002, p. 73 .
  • Winfried Schlepphorst: Compenius, family . In: Music in the past and present 2 . Person part, band 4 . Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel / Stuttgart 2000, Sp. 1438-1446 .
  • Thekla Schneider: The Compenius family of organ builders . In: Archives for Music Research . tape 2 , 1937, pp. 8-76 .
  • Thekla Schneider:  Compenius. Esaias. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 334 f. ( Digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Esaias Compenius the Elder  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Esaias Compenius  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. He is also referred to in literature as his brother or uncle. He is proven to be a son with Günter Dippold: Timotheus Compenius (mentioned 1585–1608). Organ builder and organist. In: Günter Dippold, Alfred Meixner (eds.): Staffelsteiner Lebensbilder (= Staffelsteiner writings. Volume 11). Stadt Staffelstein, Staffelstein 2000, ISBN 3-9802943-9-0 , pp. 51-54 ( online , accessed September 3, 2019).
  2. ^ Schlepphorst: Compenius, family. 2000, col. 1439.
  3. a b Pape: Lexicon of North German Organ Builders. Volume 1. 2009, p. 43.
  4. ^ Thekla Schneider:  Compenius. Esaias. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 334 ( digitized version ).
  5. ^ Thekla Schneider:  Compenius. Esaias. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 334 f. ( Digitized version ).
  6. Friedrich Blume (Ed.): Orgeln Verdingnis . Reprint. Georg Kallmeyer, Wolfenbüttel / Berlin 1936 ( Wikisource )
  7. a b c Schlepphorst: Compenius, family. 2000, col. 1440.
  8. Dorothea Schröder: Organs and Organ Building in the Duchy of Wolfenbüttel 1580–1650 ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 438 kB) p. 11, accessed on September 3, 2019.
  9. Other examples of the unusual pedal disposition with Bauer Flute / Recorder 1 'and shelf / Schalmei 4' are called by Franz Bösken , Hermann Fischer : sources and research on organ history of the Middle Rhine (=  contributions to Mittelrheinische music history . Band 29.1 ). tape 3 : Former province of Upper Hesse. Part 1: A-L . Schott, Mainz 1988, ISBN 3-7957-1330-7 , p. 250 .
  10. ^ Organ in Bückeburg , accessed on September 3, 2019.