Organ Works

Ludwigshafen, Friedenskirche (Peace Church)

Renovierung der Steinmeyer-Orgel (1958) | II/27 | 2019

PLANNED COMPLETION - EARLY 2019

 

The evangelical (Lutheran) Friedenskirche in Ludwigshafen (Friesenheim) was originally completed in 1932 and rebuilt in 1955 following war damage. Now as before, it consists of a striking hall layout, circular on plan. A prominent tower rises above the concrete structure. Apart from the altar area, the walls are made up of ribs interspersed with window openings, allowing light to flood into the shallow-domed interior, very much in the spirit of the 1950s. The church has since been given protected listing status.

On the spacious, yet visually somewhat insubstantial ‘floating’ west gallery, stands a plain W-shaped pipe front. Behind, and rising up in the centre, are the pipes of the Oberwerk. The side walls and lower part of the case are painted dark green. The instrument is by Steinmeyer (Opus 1954) completed in 1958 with slider chests and mechanical action. Construction, pipework and execution are all of high quality. No changes have been made since installation.

Nevertheless, various defects and weaknesses, both technical and tonal, called for a thorough restoration, successfully completed by us in 2019. Among other things, apart from cleaning and inspection, the console was thoroughly overhauled with MIDI facilities and LED lighting: the stop inscriptions were also renewed. On the mechanical side various components needed replacement and construction weaknesses needed rectification. Leaks in the windchests and trunking were repaired. The extremely weak and unstable wind system acquired a new blower, together with various regulating devices to make the supply now fully stable.

The circular shape of the building, the domed ceiling and the large reflective mosaic surfaces behind the altar make for a problematic acoustic. An uneven reverberation pattern leads to an uneven distribution of sound from the organ. Such effects cannot, of course, be completely eliminated in the voicing process. That said, we have been successful in improving the former thin, harsh, unbalanced sound through careful regulation, giving the organ character and gravitas, as well as fullness, roundness and colour. Nevertheless, the essential neo-baroque quality and tonal stamp of the original builder have been preserved in ripened form. The only change to the specification was the transposition of the Pedal Kopftrompete from 4-foot to 8-foot pitch through the addition of 12 new pipes. The Rohrpommer 16 became a Bourdon 16.

The pipe façade, typical of its time and an integral part of the church interior, remained unchanged. The front pipes were stabilised against sinking/deformation and re-polished.

organ view
console before renovation

Disposition

I. Hauptwerk C-g3

  1. Bourdon 16‘ (vorher Rohrpommer 16')
  2. Prinzipal 8‘ (Prospekt)
  3. Rohrflöte 8‘
  4. Oktave 4‘
  5. Kleingedeckt 4‘
  6. Quinte 2 2/3‘
  7. Superoktave 2‘
  8. Terz 1 3/5‘
  9. Mixtur 6f. 1 1/3‘
  10. Cymbel 4f. 1/2'
  11. Trompete 8‘
    Tremulant

II. Oberwerk C-g3

  1. Gedackt 8‘
  2. Quintade 8‘
  3. Prinzipal 4‘ (Prospekt)
  4. Koppelflöte 4‘
  5. Oktave 2‘
  6. Quinte 1 1/3‘
  7. Scharff 5f. 1‘
  8. Krummhorn 8‘
    Tremulant

Pedal C-f1

  1. Metallgedeckt 16‘
  2. Subbaß 16‘
  3. Oktavbaß 8‘ (Prospekt)
  4. Pommer 8‘
  5. Spitzflöte 4‘
  6. Mixtur 6f. 2 2/3‘
  7. Posaune 16‘
  8. Trompete 8‘ (tiefe Oktave neu, vorher Kopftrompete 4‘)

 

3 Normalkoppeln
Cymbelstern