A brief history of the organ and its specification
Author: Klaus Minden; Translation by David Parker
For lovers of the arts, one of the attractions of a visit to Gau-Bischofsheim is the parish church and its organ, which
was bought from the parish of St. Christopher in
Thanks to the research carried out by Franz Bösken,
Hohlpfeif 8’ gedackt
Mictur 1’ dreifach
Quintflöt 2 ½ ‘
Nasard (Sesquialter) 1 ½ ’
The cost was 450 florins. The first modifications to the instrument were
made in 1688 by Johann Peter Geissel himself, who had
also been the church’s organist since 1668. Over a century later, in 1772, the Geissel organ was replaced by a new instrument made by the
In 1847, the high-pitched Nasard stop was replaced
by a more delicate Salicional 8’ and the sonorous Trompete was replaced by a gentler Flöte
8’, giving the organ a softer, more romantic tone. These alterations were
carried out by Jakob Köhler.
In 1870, Philipp Embach of
The tall, narrow case, with its striking central tower and characteristic outlines, must have formed a splendid visual harmony with the Gothic architecture of the St. Christopher’s church.
In 1917, the display pipes were requisitioned by the military authorities and used for arms manufacture. After the war, the Mixtur 1’ dreifach was removed and replaced by a new Mixtur 2’ dreifach.
The organ was restored in 1972 by Oberlinger Bros of Windesheim. Working from contemporary research, they carried out the restoration in a way which enabled the original sound quality of 1667 to be recreated. The pedalboard was retained, however, and two further stops were added.
The organ as it stands today is therefore capable of meeting the varied demands of diverse styles and literature and of providing lively support for congregational worship.
The compass of the manual is 4 octaves (C – c’’’), whilst the pedal has a compass of 2 octaves (C – d’). The instrument is tuned to a pitch of 440 Hz (at 18° C).
Of Johann Peter Geissel’s original organ,
therefore, five manual stops and large sections of the case survive to the
present day. Thus is can justifiably be said that the “Jewel of Gau-Bischofsheim”, which is still fully playable, is the
oldest organ in both the bishopric of