Organ Works

Essen, Erlöserkirche

Renovation and planned enlargement of the Karl Schuke organ (1958) | III/38 | 2023

Franz Heinrich Schwechten, architect of the well-known Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, created the design for the Church of the Redeemer in Essen's Holsterhausen district. The neo-Romanesque hall church was consecrated in 1909 and rebuilt after war damage with a redesigned interior and is now considered one of the most beautiful large churches in the Rhineland. In 1958, the Berlin workshop of Karl Schuke built a three-manual organ in a remarkable, three-part case, with side walls that slope inwards and fluted on the outside, on the surrounding gallery above the altar. In contrast to later instruments, the mechanical key action is almost entirely made of wood (with aluminum rollers) and the sliders are operated using individually designed, electro-pneumatic slider motors. 

The main aim of the renovation work carried out in 2023 was not only to revise the instrument technically and tonally, but also to develop it further in a future-oriented manner without contradicting the original ideas of ​​the builder. In the first construction phase, the technical equipment was refurbished and extended. The existing console was remodelled and the pedalboard was brought into standard BDO position by installing longer manual keyboards. The addition of further stop controls made it necessary to rebuild the stop panels with new tabs. The playing feel of the action was optimised and the couplers electrified. As part of the conversion and development of the electrical equipment, the organ was given a modern settier system with a user-friendly touch display. The conversion and partial renewal of the wind system ensure stable pressure conditions. The pitch was lowered to the standard of 440 Hz at 18 °C. The entire pipework was re-voiced to regulate the inner balance of the voices and give them more fullness, warmth and gravity. Exaggerated sharpness was smoothed out, resulting in a noble and round sound. The reeds have gained strength and character

In a second, future phase, a tonal expansion of the organ is planned with an auxiliary division using electric action on the unit chest principle. 6 ranks of pipes will provide 14 stops derived by means of octave extensions and which can be linked to the other divisions. The proposed stops (strings, foundations and reeds) will complement the existing ensemble in order to meet the demands of a more comprehensive musical spectrum. A thick-walled swell box will ensure maximum crescendo/decrescendo effect. There is enough space behind the main case to set up this division. A mobile, free-standing console is to be provided in the sanctuary at a future date, thereby allowing better integration of the organ into the diverse concert activities of the church.

Foto: Oliver Conzelmann
Foto: Oliver Conzelmann


I. Hauptwerk C-g3

  1. Principal 8'
  2. Spillpfeife 8'
  3. Oktave 4'
  4. Spitzflöte 4'
  5. Quarte 2f. 2 2/3'+2'
  6. Mixtur 6-8f. 1 1/3'
  7. Trompete 16'
    II-I, III-I
    Sub/Super I, Sub/Super II-I,
    Sub/Super III-I

II. Oberwerk C-g3

  1. Rohrflöte 8'
  2. Quintadena 8'
  3. Principalflöte 4'
  4. Rohrnassat 2 2/3'
  5. Oktave 2'
  6. Quinte 1 1/3'
  7. Oberton 4f. 4'+1 3/5'+1 1/7'+8/9'
  8. Mixtur 4-6f. 1'
  9. Cymbel 3f. 1/6'
  10. Rankett 16'
  11. Trompete 8'
    Sub/Super II

III. Brustwerk (enclosed) C-g3

  1. Gedackt 8'
  2. Holzprincipal 4'
  3. Rohrflöte 4'
  4. Trichterflöte 2'
  5. Sifflöte 1'
  6. Sesquialtera 2f. 2 2/3'+1 3/5'
  7. Tertian 2f. 1 3/5'+1 1/3'
  8. Scharff 5f. 2/3'
  9. Krummhorn 8'
    Sub/Super III

Auxiliar (enclosed, planned)* C-g3

A1. Bordun 16'
A2. Großquinte 10 2/3'
A3. Flöte 8'
B1. Gamba 16'
B2. Gamba 8'
B3. Gamba 4'
C1. Salicional 8'
C2. Salicional 4'
D1. Schwebung 8'
D2. Schwebung 4'
E1. Fagott 16'
E2. Oboe 8'
F1. Trompete 8'
F2. Trompete 4'
Sub/Super Aux
Aux-I, Aux-II, Aux-III, Aux-P

Pedal C-f1

  1. Principal 16'
  2. Subbaß 16'
    Großquinte 10 2/3' TM Aux., vacant
  3. Oktave 8'
  4. Gedackt 8'
  5. Kupferflöte 4'
  6. Pommer 2'
  7. Baßsesquialtera 3f. 5 1/3'+4'+3 1/5'
  8. Hintersatz 5f. 2'
  9. Posaune 16'
  10. Trompete 8'
  11. Trompete 4'
    I-P, II-P, III-P
    Super III-P

    Setzeranlage mit Touch-Display

    mechanische Schleiflade
    elektropneumatische Registertraktur

    * neues Auxiliar geplant als floating Division mit elektrischer Einzeltonansteuerung

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