Adjusting sounds

The expression Cultural heritage certainly applies to the Erfurt-Büßleben organ. Built by Georg Christoph Stertzing in Eisenach, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, it has been played many times by several members of the Bach family. The organ was later moved to Büßleben on the Petersberg near Erfurt. Where other organs were often adapted to the 'more modern ideas', there was no place in this church. The organ case was wedged between pillars and roof.

The organ was restored by Alexander Schuke between 1998 and 2002. The pipes were all still original. When Schuke was commissioned to build an organ for the Thomas Church in Leipzig to perform the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in a dignified manner, he took the organ in Büßleben as the best example of Bach's style.

The sample set reproduces the sounds well, but where I usually prefer the DRY samples, I found the best sounds here in the Front samples. Rear samples are meant to represent the reverb, but I never used that. From Hauptwerk 5, convolution reverb is available, which requires an Impulse-Response recording as source. Hauptwerk has a wide selection of IR images. It is not necessary that these were made in the same church where the sounds for the samples were recorded.

Not only the Amplitude settings are important for the Principal sounds, but also the Brightness settings.
From minor c to c1 I increased the Brightness to two, from c1 to f2 the Brightness gradually goes to five and from f2 to the highest key it stays five. This is how a clear principal sound sounds. The Amplitudes (volume) are set to an even level. At the lowest octave, the Brightness gradually decreases to lower values. It should sound like the low tones of a Cello. The flute sounds produce clear precursor tones. The characteristic of well voiced pipes of the baroque. When the reverb goes to minimum, the pipes sound dry, as they sound when I blow pipes immediately after making.

A tremulant is not present on the organ, but with the tuning of the Quintadeen 8' a beautiful beat is possible. I have set the Quintadeen 8' to a moderate volume and I moved the tuning (top row of the intonation) upwards until a pleasant beat with the Traversa 8' is audible. It sounds like a Voce Umana 8'; the Gedackt 8' together with the Quintadeen 8' form a flute beat. With the coupling of the manuals, the combination Quintadeen 8' with Principal 8' can be heard as Schwebungsprincipal. That was a register originally assigned to this organ.

Stertzing organ 1702  Erfurt Büßleben

The organ was originally built for the Benedictine monastery in Erfurt on the Petersberg (Petersberg) in 1702. It was made by Georg Christoph Stertzing from Eisenach who was a very famous organ builder in his day. The organ was appreciated by the Bach family.
Johann Sebastian Bach was then 27 years old; he and other members of the Bach family played his instruments!

During the secularization, the municipality of Büßleben decided to buy the organ and moved it to the St. Petrikirche in Büßleben in 1812. At that time Büßleben was a small town and now it is a district of Erfurt. The Sankt Petri Church is the oldest building in Büßleben. Construction started in 1103. Because the church was far from the major music centers, this may be the reason why the organ remained in almost unaltered condition.

In the era of romantic modifications, this instrument remained almost intact, since there was also no place to make such modifications. The original organ case fitted exactly in the church, there was no space available around the organ. Some changes have been made, but most of the original state has been preserved. This made possible a very precise renovation, carried out in the years 1998-2002 by the organ builder Alexander Schuke from Potsdam. Schuke said:
With the restoration and reconstruction in 2005 of the Georg-Christoph-Stertzing organ from 1702, a master was honored posthumously, who is absolutely equal in quality to the Hamburg organ builder Arp Schnitger. Hardly any other organ builder can show such closeness to the Bach family, which has shaped him and his instruments over the years.

Erfurt-Büßleben is the only place where Stertzing's heritage has been preserved and it is also the oldest instrument of this size in the Thuringia region. It is worth mentioning that the organ served as a model for the new Bach organ in St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. The aim was to create an instrument with an authentic sound from the time of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The keyboard size of the manual is from C-c3 and the pedal from C-e1, in the sample set it can be expanded to f3 and f1. Originally all keyboards were missing the keys for the lowest C#. This tone is also often omitted today; it does not appear in any composition. The tone can be enabled as an extension in the sample set.
The organ has a fascinating tuning, which sounds close to meantone tuning. The pitch is high a1 = 529 Hz, which is almost three semitones above the standard pitch of 440 Hz.