Heinrich Andreas Contius

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Heinrich Andreas Contius , also Cuntius (* 1708 in Halle an der Saale , Duchy of Magdeburg , † 1795 in Valmiera , Livonia ) is considered the most important organ builder in the Baltic States in the 18th century.


Heinrich Andreas Contius was born in Halle in 1708 as the son of the organ builder Christoph Cuntzius . In 1732 he is proven to be Joachim Wagner's journeyman . He initially had his own workshop in Altenburg . From 1736/37 Contius worked in Halle and the surrounding area. From 1748 a letter of recommendation from Johann Sebastian Bach in his favor for the planned new organ building in the lower church in Frankfurt (Oder) is known, then a letter to Contius himself. But he did not receive the order.

In 1760 Heinrich Andreas Contius came to Riga in Courland, where he built an organ for St. Jacob's Church . Then he worked in Tallinn in Estonia. In 1771 he returned to Riga and in 1773 received the order for a new building in the large Trinity Church in Liepaja (Libau), which was completed in 1779. In Valmiera in Livonia, Contius opened a workshop together with Johann Andreas Stein (1752–1821) from Augsburg, who then built other organs in Courland (1787 Cēsis, St. Johannis, 1788 Evele welfare church).

Works (selection)

Heinrich Andreas Contius has made some new organs, as well as repairs and a maintenance contract in the Duchy of Magdeburg , in Courland and Estonia . Most of the organ in Liepāja (Libau) and the prospectus in St. Jacob's Cathedral in Riga have been preserved . A replica of the organ in Libau has been built in Leuven, Belgium, since 2016 .

year place church image Manuals register Remarks
1739 Halle (Saale) Ortisei Renewal of the organ
1743 Halle (Saale) St. Bartholomew II / P 22nd New building
1750 Dieskau Anne's Church II / P 22nd New building
1751 Wallwitz New building
1759 Merseburg St. Maximi Stop for repairs with 120 thalers, not executed
1762 (?) Merseburg Dom Supervision and maintenance of the castle and cathedral organs
1760-1763 Riga , Courland St. Jakobi
II / P 25th Prospectus received, new building
1768 Tallinn , Estonia St. Nikolai III Renovation of the organ from 1668
1773-1779 Liepāja Trinity Church
Baltu vienības dienas pasākumi Liepājā (29269903313) .jpg
II / P 38 New building in prospectus and with parts of the organ by Johann Heinrich Joachim from around 1750, expanded several times, most recently by Barnim Grüneberg in 1885 to become the largest organ in the world at that time with IV / P, 131, preserved → organ ; since 2016 replica in Sint Michiel in Leuven (Belgium)
1780 Valmiera , Livonia St. Simonis
1783 Riga reformed Church II / P 14th New building, not preserved


  • Alexander Fiseisky: The history of the organ and organ music in Estonia. In: Acta Organologica , 29, 2006, 11-32.
  • Alexander Fiselsky: The history of the organ in Latvia. In: Acta Organologica , 28, 2004. pp. 11-36. Summary
  • Elita Grosmane: The work of the organ builder Heinrich Andreas Contius in Germany and Latvia . In: Lars Olof Larsson (Ed.): Studies on Art History in the Baltic States. Homburg Talks 1999–2001 . No. 18 . Kiel 2003, p. 43-63 .
  • Uwe Pape (Ed.): Lexicon of North German Organ Builders. Volume 1: Thuringia and the surrounding area . Pape Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-921140-86-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. Alexander Fiseisky: The history of the organ and organ music in Estonia. In: Acta Organologica , 29, 2006, 11-32.
  2. Uwe Pape (Ed.): Lexicon of North German Organ Builders . Volume 1: Thuringia and the surrounding area. 2009. p. 45.
  3. Werner Neumann : Documents from the hand of Johann Sebastian Bach. Volume 2. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2012. p. 51, cites the undated letter to Contius
  4. ^ Christoph Wolff , Markus Zepf: The organs of JS Bach. A manual . Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2006, ISBN 3-374-02407-6 , p. ~ XXV . (English The Organs of JS Bach. A Handbook. University of Illinois Press, 2012 p. XXV ) Letter of January 12, 1748 mentioned
  5. a b Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-02806-0 , p. 63.
  6. Alexander Fiseisky: The history of the organ in Latvia. In: Acta Organologica , 28, 2004. pp. 11-36. Summary
  7. ^ Holger Brülls / Thomas Dietzsch: Architectural Guide Halle on the Saale . Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-496-01202-1 .
  8. ^ Holger Brülls: Ladegast organs in Saxony-Anhalt . Imhof, Petersberg 2005, ISBN 3-86568-020-8 , p. 215.
  9. organ Trisvienibasfonds.lv (German)
  10. Information Contiusfoundation, 2016 (Dutch, English, French)