Original pipes with sounds that are still original

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 Gewandhaus 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.

Unique sounds in the style of a house pipe organ
The pipe organs I built were intended for the living room. House pipe organs are not miniaturized church organs but have their own style. The wind pressure is much lower and that is audible in the beautiful response and sound structure of the pipes. Sample sets are always made from church organs and are miniturized church organs in the living room. With the exception of this organ; this is the only sample set that sounds like a house pipe organ; the sounds are unique.

The sample maker sometimes has the option to direct the recording and voicing to sounds like a house pipe organ. The sounds of the church organ must be of such a nature that this can be achieved. Piotr Grabowski therefore deserves a big compliment with the choice of this organ and his voicing of the samples. It is the best set that shows the sound beauty of a house pipe organ so magnificently.

Each sample set must be voiced, but that is hardly necessary with this set. Depending on the deviations of the speakers, sometimes small differences have to be equalized, but with this set I didn't have to adjust much. Just switch off the wind model, which is intended for bad samples, and enjoy the fluctuations that are the hallmark of lively tone shaping. Every keytouch is a celebration, an expression of musicality, just like the pipes of my home organ.   see: Piotr Grabowski

A tremulant is not present on the organ, but with the tuning of the Traversa 8' a beautiful beating is possible. I set the Traversa 8' to a moderate volume and moved the tuning (top row of the voicing) upwards until a pleasant beat with the Gedackt 8' becomes audible. The Gedackt 8' together with the Traversa 8' form a flute beat. Combining it with the Vox Humana 8' gives the tremulant that is common in this register. By coupling the keyboards, the Principal 8' can be used as a Voce Umana. That was a register originally assigned to this organ.

Stertzing organ 1702  Büßleben

The organ was originally built for the Benedictine Monastery in Erfurt on the Petersberg (Petersberg) in 1702. The organ builder was Georg Christoph Stertzing from Eisenach, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach. He and other members of the Bach family often played this organ and spoke with great appreciation of its delicately voiced sounds.

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.

Original state
In the era when organs with romantic sounds were built, this instrument remained intact. There was no room to make modifications. The original organ case fit perfectly in the church, there was no more space available around the organ. The organ has been preserved in its original state. It offered the organ builder Alexander Schuke from Potsdam the opportunity to carry out a very precise renovation in the years 1998-2002.

Schuke said: With the restoration and reconstruction in 2005 of the Georg 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 Johann Sebastian Bach.

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.