for detailed knowledge about Eberhard
Friedrich Walcker read In Search of
The Reger Organ
typicall Reger Organ is the Walcker-Organ in Gelsenkirchen Hans Sachs
house... this means Wolfram Adolph of the magazine "organ" .
Here is his description.
( if you
want to read the German internet-pages in English language, please go to www.altavista.com
- translate - German to English - and come back to www.gewalcker.de
- thank you ! )
ORGANS - A .BRIEF HISTORY
history of Walcker organs begins with the appearance of Johann Eberhard
Walcker (1756 - 1843) as an independent organ builder in Cannstatt in the year
1780. He had studied with Johann Georg Fries,
an organ builder in Heilbronn. J. E. Walcker is remembered in particular for his organs in the
Garnison Church of Ludwigsburg (1782)
and in the City Church of Cannstatt
(1794). His son Eberhard
Friedrich Walcker (1794 - 1872) took over the business begun by his father and in
1820 settled in Ludwigsburg.
Eberhard Friedrich Walcker achieved great recognition upon completion of an organ for St.
Paul's Church in Frankfurt (1833 -74 registers). The organ incorporated several
features which were unique at that
time, including an elaborate series of mutation stops constructed according to principles developed by
Abbe Vogler, and an open 32-foot register in the pedal,
which was highly praised.
A great demand for instruments built by Walcker followed this success, as evidenced by several notable international installations: St. Peter's Church, St. Petersburg,
Russia (1839 - 65 registers); Ulm Minster (1856 - 100 registers); and Boston, USA (1863 - 89 registers). The Boston organ remains to this
day one of the finest
examples of organ building of that time .
(Please visit Methuen Memorial Music
Hall, (thanks to the Trustees of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall)
Further recognition was achieved by E. F.
Walcker as result of technical
innovations, such as his discovery
in 1840 of the cone valve that
ushered in the age of the stop-channel chest.
He sought improvements which would
result in a better and more stable wind supply. And he was the first builder to construct a large assembly
room at his workshop in order to assemble
the entire organ during construction.
This was especially important
as the number of foreign contracts continued
respected organ builders served apprenticeships in the Walcker factory during this time, including Weigle, Steinmeyer, Laukhuff, Link, Kuhn, Sauer and Marcussen. The
noted French organ builder Aristide Cavallie-Col1 and E. F.
Walcker shared a close professional relationship. Cavaille-Coll, who had first learned of the cone-valve
from E. F. Walcker, incorporated it successfully into his own organs.
After the death of E. F. Walcker in 1872, the firm was
managed by his sons Heinrich, Fritz, Paul and Karl Walcker. They were
responsible for many important instruments,
including organs for the Philadelphia Exposition (1876 - 18 registers), the Cathedral of Riga (1883) 124
registers), and the Cathedral of
St. Stephan in Vienna (1886 - 90 registers).
At the beginning of this century,
Oscar Walcker, son of Fritz Walcker, took
over the family business. One of
his first important instruments
was an organ designed in collaboration with Max
Reger in the Odeon Hall in Munich (1906 - 62 registers). Oscar Walcker also established an intimate exchange
of ideas with the new Alsatian
Organ Reform Movement
headed by Dr. Albert Schweitzer. The Walcker firm built the first organ
embodying the reform principles of the movement for St. Reinoldi's Church in
Dortmund (1909 - 105 registers).
The Alsatian Organ Reform Movement had
suggested that builders could find a wealth of new
specification and building techniques from the accomplishments of past
centuries. Oscar Walcker was
prepared to accept that challenge, and
in 1921, acting on a suggestion from Willibald Gurlitt, he built a "Praetorius Organ"
for the Institute of Music of the
University of Freiburg. This organ was constructed according to principles
laid down by the seventeenth-century composer and
organist Michael Praetorius. The "Praetorius Organ" abandoned many nineteenth-century features, especially the tendency to
equip an organ with a predominance of
8-foot stops in an attempt to
imitate an orchestra. Instead it
emphasized a specification more suited for
polyphonic music as had been common in the time of Praetorius and Bach. Oscar
Walcker received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Senate of the University of Freiburg
for his bold concept.
The death of Dr. Oscar Walcker in 1948 marked the end of
an era in the history of Walcker organs. The task of carrying on the tradition
as well as rebuilding the business after the ravages of war fell to his
grandson Werner Walcker-Mayer. He had served his apprenticeship under the direction of Karl
Ruther, manager of the well-known W. Sauer
company. Under the
leadership of Werner Walcker-Mayer, the firm
has produced over 3000 instruments, bringing the
total number of organs built by the Walcker workshops to nearly 6000.
Some of the notable organs constructed
by Werner Walcker-Mayer
include those built for the Concert Hall of the Friends of Music, Vienna (1968
- 100 registers), the Salzburg Mozarteum (1979
- 41 registers), the Franz Liszt Conservatory, Budapest (1967
- 86 registers), Ulm
minster (1969 - 95 registers), the University of Wyoming, Laramie (1972 - 40
registers), the Concert Hall, Zagreb
(1974 - 65 registers). Sao Paulo (1954, 80 registers) and Kokura, Japan (1984,
In 1955 Werner
Walcker-Mayer, in consultation
with Willibald Guriitt, rebuilt the "Praetorius Organ", which had
been destroyed in the war. Further interest in
the history of the organ is evidenced by his work during the 1960s
concerning the Roman organ of Acquincum. He also has
undertaken significant research in the
construction of church organs incorporating radical departures in stop disposition such
as the organ for St.
Peter's Church, Sinzig, designed in collaboration with Peter Bares.
Werner Walcker-Mayer's unique combination of historical sensitivity and forward-looking creativity as an organ builder led the
Senate of the University of
Freiburg to confer an honorary doctorate upon
Organs can be justifiably proud of their heritage of more
than 220 years of continued existence in the field of organ building. This tradition of
excellence, which will be
continued by the sons of Dr. Werner Walcker-Mayer.
story will be continued soon....