Denmark, Århus Cathedral 
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The great organ at the west end

The Kastens Organ 1730
The organ front, which today adorns the west end of the nave, has been executed in 1730 by Lambert Daniel Kastens (d. 1744), pupil of the renowned Arp Schnitger of Hamburg. The organ had 43 stops distributed over hauptwerk, oberwerk, brustwerk and pedal ).
As the years passed, the condition of the Kastens organ steadily became more unsatisfactory, because it was cicarly not maintained to the standard it deserved. A temporary repair in 1852 by Caspar Herman Gottlob Worm of Engum, followed by a superficial rebuild e. 1855 did not produce satisfactory results, and it was gradually realised that there was no other alternative than to build an entirely new organ.

The Demant Organ 1876
The new organ was built by Johan Andreas Demant (1830-78), who had set up as organ-builder in Arhus in 1865. The number of stops remained unchanged at 43,  but for financial reasons the organ lacked its full complement of stops for the first few years. Some of the pipes from 1730 were re-used, but they had no specially marked effect on the fuiness of sound as a whole. The pedal stops were in two groups, forte pedal and piano pedal, each of which could be closed by a valve. This enabled the tone and strength of the pedal organ to be quickly changed, which was especially convenient for rapid switching between the manuals. The organ was extremely conservative from the point of view of sound and craftsmanship, and sooner of the classical rather than the romantie type of instrument.
The Frobenius Organ 1928
Nevertheiess, a new organ was built which, with its 83 stops and 4 manual divisions, became the largest organ in Denmark. The new wind chests were built as classic slider chests. The instrument was also given tracker action, but unfortunately with a number of long, inaccurate pneumatic intermediary links.
Manual III, the French manual, consisted of entirely new pipes. Its reeds - like most of the other reeds in the organ - were bought in Paris to ensure the correct sound picture. The organ was huilt by Th. Frobenius and Sons in Kongens Lyngby on the outskirts of Copenhagen, who thereby accomplished the biggest achievement of organ-building since the turn of the century. The honours for the success of this project must be shared with the two organ consuitants, engineer Ernst Schiess of Solothurn, Switzerland, and precentor Emilius Bangert of Roskilde Cathedral. The Swiss engineer, recommended by Albert Schweitzer, took part in the detail planning to a degree absolutely contrary to common practiee in Denmark; for exampie, he provided the organ-builders with detailed instructions on scaling and voicing. In the document of endorsernent of 1928 both consultants declare without any show of faire modesty, that the organ-builders had closely followed their instructions, and had achieved an admirable result. This is the organ which still stands in the church, although influenced by different changes undertaken on three separate occasions by three different organists:

The Enlargement of Manual IV 1940
Gradually, as the Organ Reform Movement attracted the interest of the Danish organists and musical world, romantic organs and organs marked by the romantic trend began to be either discarded or rebuilt. To begin with in Århus great caution was exercised, because longen Nielsen, who had taken part in the building of the organ, still held the appointment of organist at the cathedral. By building an extension to the top of the organ, it was possible to increase the number of stops thereby gaining space for some of the stops which were otherwise lacking and most missed. A contributory cause of the 1940 enlargement may have been that the Danish broadcasting corporation was about to build a large concert organ in its concert hall in Copenhagen. With 84 stops the organ would have robbed the organ of Århus Cathedral of its position as the largest in the country. The addition to the organ gave it a total of 88 stops in all.

The Rebuild of 1959
The next rebuild, undertaken in 1959, was to a large extent a result of the endeavour to meet the requirements of the cathedral organist, Georg Fjelrad. One of the prime movers of the Bach rennaissance in Denmark, Fjelrad considered the organ to be unsuited for baroque music: the tones merged too well together, for example it could at times be difficult to hear the pattern of the middle parts of a four-part fugue. Fjelrad was satisfied by the changes made to the organ, but it lost some of its former stern authority by the addition of what were virtually some ingredients for chamber musie - of high quality but not fully justifiable in the given context.

The Rebuild of 1983
With the most recent changes to the organ the long-felt wish of the present cathedral organist, Anders Riber, to provide the organ with greater volume and power has been fulfilled. Changes to the stoplist are moderate, but the differences in sound are nevertheless striking. The present specification is shown below; the righthand column records the builder of each stop and its date. (The generations of pipes which in number comprise less than 33% of an individual stop are not mentioned).

Click her for the Specification

laatste bewerking : 04-08-2000