1732 Andreas Silbermann Organ

Église Abbatiale St. Maurice, Ebersmunster,  Alsace/France

Please click on the picture to start the photo gallery

01-andreas silbermann organ 02-church nave 03-organ gallery

Classified historic monument (Organ case, gallery + instrument)

Short Preliminary Introduction and History

The church reconstruction and expansion from 1709 to 1727 - after the devastation of the Thirty Years War - is the work of the famous Baroque architect Peter Thumb of Vorarlberg. The present organ loft between the two main towers was built by him in 1725.

The Silbermann organ of 1732 - one of his last works of a total of 34 - is largely preserved in its original condition.

This famous Alsacian organ in a great acoustics is one of the only two still existing authentic Andreas Silbermann organs, which have survived the decades. It's a wonder that the instrument survived the French Revolution and all wars. The organ and the complete organ gallery were entered into the Heritage Trust in 1971/72.

The instrument with its three manuals and 29 stops is based on French organ building principles with Plein Jeu, Jeu de tierce and Grand Jeu. The pedal has, in contrast to the tenor function of period French pedal divisions with pedal stubs,  a full compass and a Soubasse ouvert 16 stop behind the organ casework.

This later work has wider scales and softer sounds than its previous instruments. Exceptional are the quality and beauty of the sound of the Cornet and Flûtes. The unusual Quarte de Nazard stop of the Grand Orgue allows sonorous foundation registrations. Silbermann has created a French Baroque organ type with a "Southern German accent." These sound characteristics make it possible to play not only French but also other European baroque music.

After the restoration of 1997-98, the instrument is considered one of the most valuable organs of this period in Europe.

The church room has a wet acoustics with up to 5,5 seconds of reverberation.

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Recording technique

The organ was recorded in June 2009 with 48 kHz, 24 bit, multi-channel for Hauptwerk 3, using the multi-release technique introduced by OrganArt. The stops were recorded with multiple release levels for short, medium and long key attacks for optimal acoustical mapping. All ranks were additionally recorded with the original tremulant sound.

Special thanks are due to the  Association des Amis de l'eglise abbatiale d'Ebersmunster, represented by M. Keller and titular organist Bernard Chalté for local assistance and support. Last but not least special thanks to my wife, who assisted the project and was responsible for the photo documentation.