Organ landscape Westphalia and Lippe

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The organ of St. Andreas (Ostönnen) is the oldest playable organ in Germany.

The organ landscape of Westphalia and Lippe describes the organs with historically determined regional characteristics in the organ landscape of Westphalia and Lippe . In the south-east it borders on the organ landscape of Hesse , in the south-west on the organ landscape of Rhineland and in the north on various cultural regions in what is now Lower Saxony .

More details on the works that have been preserved can be found in the list of organs in Westphalia and Lippe .


Gothic organ (1520) in the Marienkirche in Dortmund

For the first time in 1181 there is talk of an organ in the old cathedral in Münster. On the musician's frieze in the paradise of the cathedral there is a stone relief from the middle of the 13th century depicting an organ. The organ in St. Peter and Paul in Wormbach integrates three organ pipes from the end of the 14th century, which are considered the oldest preserved pipes in Westphalia. The organ from St. Andreas, Ostönnen dates from 1431 and is therefore the oldest playable organ in Germany. The lower case has late Gothic carvings and 326 pipes, i.e. more than half of the pipe inventory, can be dated to before 1500. Up to 1500 not only the large city churches but also many country churches were equipped with organs. Johann von Schwerte built a late medieval organ in Dortmund's Marienkirche in 1520 , the case of which was preserved until the Second World War. It was destroyed in a bombing raid during World War II.

In the Middle Ages, the organ had liturgical purposes and was not used to accompany the church singing. In the " Alternatimpraxis " it was played alternately with the choir, individual singers or the congregation, especially at the introit and the hymns of praise for mass and the church times of day. With the Gothic block-type instruments, the individual stops could not be played, only the full work, the so-called plenum . The invention of the sliding drawer and spring drawer made a far wider tonal spectrum possible in the late Middle Ages. In Westphalia the spring drawer was favored.

Renaissance and early baroque

Swallow's Nest Organ in Lemgo

During the troubled times between the Reformation and the Peace of Westphalia (1648), numerous instruments were lost due to looting, iconoclasm and the effects of the war. In the last third of the 16th century, organ building in Westphalia experienced a strong boost. Organ builders from the Duchy of Brabant played a key role in this, looking for new fields of activity in the course of the Reformation, due to religious wars and the organ-hostile attitude of Reformed churches. These organ builders brought international influences with them. One of them was the Slegel family of organ builders , who spread the new developments in organ building from the core of the Netherlands to Bremen and Hildesheim. Between 1586 and 1595, the Slegel brothers built a swallow's nest organ for St. Marien in Lemgo , the case of which has still been preserved and the interior of which was reconstructed by Rowan West to the state of 1613. Their works in Warendorf, St. Laurentius , the Überwasserkirche in Münster and the St. Georg Church were later replaced by new buildings.

In addition, Lampeler van Mill and the von Niehoff family of organ builders from 's-Hertogenbosch and the de Mare family brokered organ building in Brabant in Westphalia. In monastery Oelinghausen some registers de Mares are received from the 1599th

The Brabant working principle was further developed by the Scherer family from northern Germany . Independent orchestras with fully developed principal choirs were set up in separate enclosures: Free-standing pedal towers flanked the main work. The breastwork was attached above the gaming table and the Rückpositiv in the gallery parapet. The fully developed principal choir formed the basic sound framework. The flute parts and the reed registers , with their wide bores compared to the principals, made numerous sound combinations and contrasts possible. Hans Scherer the Elder created two-manual new organs for Brake Castle (1600) and Herford Minster (1601), which have not been preserved.


Möller organ from Marienfeld Abbey

The liturgical function and the tonal concept of the organ changed when it was first used during the Thirty Years' War to accompany congregational singing. Up to this time the organ almost exclusively took over parts of the liturgy, framed the sermon and the entire service. From the middle of the 17th century, organ building in Westphalia experienced an upswing. Roman Catholic churches had representative works purchased, while the more modest organs in Reformed churches were primarily used to accompany the congregational singing. While the organs were designed relatively uniformly across Europe in the pre-baroque period, the Westphalian prospect received its characteristic shape in the baroque period. On both sides of the elevated central tower there are symmetrically descending pipe fields, some of which can be quite narrow. The works of Hinrich Klausing and his son Johann Berenhard Klausing are characterized by such a brochure structure, despite their individuality.

By Andreas Reinecke just a prospectus of 1724 in the mountain church Thalitter received. Student of Arp Schnitger worked in Westphalia. Johann Matthias Naumann added a Rückpositiv to the Andreas Schneider organ in Corvey (1681) in 1718 . Gerhard von Holy remained committed to his presumed teacher in the design of the Hamburg prospectus . Its housings in Lünen (1725) and Herdecke (1733) have been preserved. In the Evangelical Church of Volmarstein (1734) the largest of the pipes from Holy can be heard to this day. His prospectus from Wetter including the original prospectus pipes from 1723 served as the basis for a new building in the Canum Church .

With Johann Patroclus Möller , baroque organ building in Westphalia reached its climax. The highest craftsmanship is combined with creative brochure design and a wealth of timbres in the various register families. The concave arch in the prospectus design in some of his large organs is characteristic. Möller's works are among the most valuable monument organs in the Westphalian organ landscape. Six of his organs have survived the centuries, albeit partly in a modified form, namely in Welver (formerly St. Walburgis , 1733), Marienmünster (1738), Büren (formerly Böddeken, 1744), Rüthen- Hoinkhausen (1747), Borgentreich (formerly Dalheim Monastery ) and Marienfeld (both 1751).

The triple sesquialtera , a funnel-shaped viola da gamba and deep aliquot stops in the main work are characteristic of the Westphalian organ sound . The spring shops were still preferred.

Organ building families appeared in the Baroque era and shaped the organ culture for several generations. The Bader family's sphere of activity extended from Antwerp to Hildesheim and north to Friesland. Andreas Reinecke created several spring shop organs in East Westphalia together with his brother Bernhard. The Klausing family worked from Herford, the Alberti family from Hattingen and the Heilmanns from Herbern.


Oestreich organ (1795) of the Detmold Church of the Redeemer

In the course of secularization in 1803, the monasteries and monasteries on the right bank of the Rhine were abolished. As a result, numerous precious organs changed hands and were often set up in a modified form in Protestant parish churches. Three of Johann Patroclus Möller's instruments underwent profound changes during such implementations, such as the organs from St. Walburgis Abbey (Soest) , Böddeken Abbey and Dalheim Abbey .

Caspar Melchior Vorenweg opened his workshop in Münster in 1786 and conveyed the Rhenish-French style to Westphalia. His organs in Cappenberg (1788) and Drensteinfurt (1790) were later rebuilt, but returned to their original disposition during the last restorations. Johann Georg Fromme and his son Nikolaus worked in Soest around 1800. Johann-Markus Oestreich worked in Oberbimbach in Hesse in Thuringia, East Westphalia and Franconia . Its wide-area, partly fifteen-axis brochures point to the transition to the joint brochure. His organ in Detmold's Church of the Redeemer (1795) has largely been preserved; only the brochures exist of his works in Bigge (1789), St. Martin and Schieder-Schwalenberg (1815).


Fleiter organ from 1882 in the St. Mauritz Church, Münster

Various organ building companies founded in the Romantic era that arose in the 19th century still exist today. This includes the company founded in 1836 by Franz Breil , Speith-Orgelbau (from 1848) and Friedrich Fleiter (from 1872) as well as the Stockmann brothers (from 1889). The Eggert Orgelbau-Anstalt existed under this name until 1902 and was continued by Anton Feith and his son of the same name until 1972. A re-establishment took place in 1999 with the Westphalian organ builder S. Sauer . The Klassmeier family of organ builders was also committed to the romantic organ style and created more than 200 instruments. Ernst Klassmeier developed his own form of the cone drawer with interchangeable cone valves. From the 1890s onwards, he used tube pneumatics.

Increasingly, supraregional companies such as Philipp Furtwängler & Sons appeared, producing large numbers of organs in the romantic style. This resulted in a nationwide harmonization of styles. Due to industrialization and the strong population growth, numerous churches were replaced by larger ones and many old organs had become obsolete.

The fundamental arrangements of romantic organs with many registers in an equal position aimed at an orchestral sound. The new technical game aids , which were developed in the 19th century, made a continuously variable dynamic possible. As in other German organ landscapes, the prospectuses of romantic organs are often shaped by historicism , the arched style , neo-Gothic , neo-Romanesque and art nouveau .

20th and 21st centuries

From the 20th century, the organ culture of Westphalia became part of general German organ building. As a countermovement to Romanticism, the organ movement idealized a baroque sound from the 1920s. From the 1930s onwards, the National Socialists severely restricted the construction of new organs. The big cities mostly lost their organs during World War II. The destruction of many churches and organs led to a large number of new organs being built. Many surviving old instruments were replaced as the economy grew in the 1950s and 1960s. Rudolf Reuter published numerous works on the Westphalian organ building, inventoried all 600 monument organs and advocated their preservation.

In 1910 the family business Gustav Steinmann Orgelbau was founded in Vlotho , which, in addition to organs, produced around 1500 harmonies between 1920 and 1935 and developed into a large company with an international sphere of activity. Detlef Kleuker started his own business in Brackwede in 1955 and experimented with new materials that would increase longevity and withstand extreme climatic conditions. In terms of style, he was based on the North German baroque organ, but created modern, angular cases. The Simon Organ Builder was founded in Muddenhagen in 1969 .

Web links

Commons : Organs in North Rhine-Westphalia  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  • Hans Martin Balz : Divine Music. Organs in Germany (=  230th publication by the Society of Organ Friends ). Konrad Theiss, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 3-8062-2062-X .
  • Gabriel Isenberg: Organ Landscape in Transition (Part 1): Organ inventory of the Olpe district from its beginnings to 1945 . In: Westphalia . 97th volume. Aschendorff, 2019, ISSN  0043-4337 , p. 71-192 .
  • Hannalore Reuter: Historic organs in Westphalia-Lippe . Ardey-Verlag, Münster 2006, ISBN 978-3-87023-245-0 .
  • Rudolf Reuter : The basics of the history of organ building in Westphalia and Lippe . In: Heinrich Hüschen (Ed.): Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer on the occasion of his 60th birthday on July 7, 1962 . Regensburg 1962, p. 439-453 .
  • Rudolf Reuter: Organs in Westphalia. Inventory of historical organs in Westphalia and Lippe . Ed .: Hermann Busen. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1965.
  • Hans Hermann Wickel: Foreign organ builders in Westphalia . Bärenreiter, Kassel 1984, ISBN 3-7618-0751-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. Reuter: Historical organs in Westphalia-Lippe. 2006, p. 7: "Among the German organ landscapes, Westphalia is an independent region with a long musical tradition and a large variety of important instruments."
  2. ^ Restoration report of the organ of St. Andreas in Ostönnen , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  3. ^ A b Reuter: Historical organs in Westphalia-Lippe. 2006, p. 9.
  4. ^ Martin Blindow: Organ history of the city of Dortmund . LIT Verlag, Münster 2008, ISBN 978-3-8258-0895-2 , pp. 167 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  5. Vera Lüpkes: The organ landscape in Westphalia and neighboring regions in the 16th century (with catalog raisonné of the Slegel family), accessed on May 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Organ in Oelinghausen , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  7. Church music in the Münster zu Herford: History of the organs , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Organ in Corvey , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  9. NOMINE eV: Organ in Canum , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  10. Balz: Divine Music. 2008, p. 20.
  11. Balz: Divine Music. 2008, p. 18.
  12. Reuter: Historical organs in Westphalia-Lippe. 2006, p. 10.
  13. Reuter: Historical organs in Westphalia-Lippe. 2006, p. 11.
  14. Wolf Kalipp : The Westphalian family of organ builders Vorenweg-Kersting (1784–1879) (=  publications of the organ studies research center in the musicological seminar of the Westphalian Wilhelms University, Münster; 12 ). Bärenreiter, Kassel [u. a.] 1984, ISBN 3-7618-0725-2 .
  15. Hermann Fischer : 100 Years of the Association of German Organ Builders . Orgelbau-Fachverlag, Lauffen 1991, ISBN 3-921848-18-0 , p. 226 .
  16. Balz: Divine Music. 2008, pp. 16, 23.
  17. Reuter: Historical organs in Westphalia-Lippe. 2006, p. 12.
  18. ^ Rudolf Reuter: Organs in Westphalia. Inventory of historical organs in Westphalia and Lippe (= publications of the Organ Science Research Center, Volume 1). Kassel 1965.
  19. ^ Orgel-Steinmann , accessed on May 5, 2019.