BACH 709


Grosshartmannsdorf (1738-41)

played by Robert Köbler


1.     Fantasie in G Major BWV 572
2.     Allabreve in D Major BWV 589
3.     Fantasie and Fugue in c minor BWV 537
4.     Prelude and Fugue in e minor BWV 533

5.     Fugue in c minor BWV 575
6.     Fugue in g minor BWV 578

7.     Prelude and Fugue in a minor BWV 543
8.     Prelude and Fugue in e minor BWV 555
9.     Prelude and Fugue in F Major BWV 556
10.   Prelude in G Major BWV 568
11.   Prelude and Fugue in C Major BWV 531
12.   Prelude and Fugue in b minor BWV 544

That Bach's organ works should be performed on the organs of Gottfried Silbermann could hardly be more appropriate. Bach became known throughout the wider region not only as an organist and improviser, but also as a technician well-versed in the arts of organ building. Bach and Gottfried Silbermann, of similar age and living in the same area, were firm friends and colleagues. They shared an interest and advanced knowledge of acoustics as applied to the voicing and location of organs, and on a personal level we may be certain that Silbermann was a frequent visitor at the Bach home in Leipzig, he was indeed godfather to Carl Philipp Emmanuel.

Silbermann was based in Freiberg, Saxony, where he had his workshop. His mainly small village instruments were built to a fairly standard model thus saving tooling costs which were passed on in the form of highest quality materials and workmanship. Perhaps the single most important feature of Gottfried Silbermann's instruments is their distinctive sounds. From the silvery flutes to the strong and reedy 16' Posaune in the pedal, Silbermann's sounds were unique, and indeed were constantly praised by organists in their testimonies of his instruments. Frequent reference is made to a play on his name, as organists praised his "Silberklang" or "Silvery Sounds". Mozart was quite clear: "These instruments are magnificent beyond measure".

On October 27th, 1738 a new church for the village of Grosshartmannsdorf was dedicated, and Gottfried Silbermann was contracted to supply a new organ. In May 1740 the organ case was completed, and in the month of July, 1741, the case was painted. On August 15th 1741 twelve 4-axel wagons made the journey from Silbermann's workshop in Freiberg bringing all the necessary materials, together with Master Silbermann and four apprentices. They were lodged in the village. Fifteen weeks later the organ was completed. It was inaugurated on December 3rd, 1741 by (Freiberg) Cathedral organist Erselius. The organ has two manuals and pedal, with 21 speaking stops, and retains its original sound and character. The notes enclosed with the disc give the full specification.

To learn more about the master Saxon organ-builder, check the official Gottfried Silbermann Museum website:
GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN: Master Organ-Builder of the German Baroque
oder in deutscher Sprache:
GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN: Sächsischer Orgelbauer der deutschen Barockzeit

more detail

Baroque Music Library