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Goethe-Gymnasium Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany

The school organ of the former Viktoria-Louise School in Berlin-Wilmersdorf (Germany) was built in 1904 by the official court organ builder Wilhelm Sauer, who at the same time also built the famous organ of the Berlin Cathedral. Many historical newspaper articles demonstrate that many highly-praised concerts were given in this auditorium until 1938. Eventually, even the capital’s former conservatory moved into the building that is now the Goethe-Gymnasium. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, young students, and later renowned performers rehearsed here for some time. The building and the organ survived the Second World War almost intact. The Sauer organ of the Goethe-Gymnasium Berlin is the last playable historic school organ in Berlin.

From 1954 to 1956 the organ was significantly changed. The auditorium was modernized according to the prevailing taste at the time. The original organ case was removed and the existing pipework was installed in a “modern looking” case. The original romantic stop list was changed in favor of a neo-baroque one. The pneumatic tracker action was replaced by an electric one. The pneumatic console, which was originally placed on a platform, was removed and replaced with an electric console on level ground.

Today, the Sauer organ has many technical defects due to its age of over 100 years, and there is a danger that the instrument will become unplayable, as it was already the case between 2004 and 2007. This is largely due to the fact that, depending on the funds available, repairs have so far been carried out rather makeshift than on a long-term basis. Thus a fundamental concept for a permanent restoration has been lacking.

The aim is to restore the instrument to its original condition of 1904 with the necessary sustainability. This requires 

  • restoration of the technical installation,
  • restoration of the original stop list,
  • conversion and reconstruction of the pneumatic tracker action,
  • restoration of the old facade pipes,
  • and above all the reconstruction of the old case, which is still stored in the workshop of the Wilhelm Sauer company in Frankfurt/Oder (Germany).

It is a mammoth project that will require a lot of goodwill, commitment, passion, and courage and will certainly take several years. At the end of which, the instrument will not only shine again in its old external and tonal beauty but will also remain available to future generations for musical education and inspiration.

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Manuals + Pedal
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Stops
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Ranks

Original Stop List (1904)

Pedal

Subbaß 16′
Violoncello 8′

Manual I

Prinzipal 8′
Bourdon 8′
Gemshorn 8′
Octave 4′
Mixtur III 1 1/3′

Manual II

Spitzflöte 8′
Lieblichgedackt 8′
Aeoline 8′
Vox céleste 8′
Vox humana 8′

Current Stop List (2021)

Pedal (C-d')

Subbaß 16′ (1904)
Violoncello 8′ (1904)

Manual I (C-f''')

Prinzipal 8′ (1904)
Bourdon 8′ (1904)
Octave 4′ (1904)
Gemshorn 2′ (1954)
Mixtur III 1 1/3′ (?)

Manual II (C-f''')

Spitzflöte 8′ (1904)
Lieblichgedackt 8′ (1904)
Feinflöte 4′ (?)
Prinzipal 2′ (1954)
Quinte 1 1/3′ (from c°) (1954)

Couplers

1/P, II/P, II/I

Sample Set

  • 6 channels of chromatically sampled stop-by-stop pipes.
  • All audio samples are available in 24-bit and 48 kHz.
  • Console, dual, simple, and info screens.
  • Compass extended to C-f’ (pedal) and C-g”’ (manuals I and II).
This sample set is available for Hauptwerk 4 and for Hauptwerk V and VI.

Screenshots

Audio Samples

The Organ - Instrument of the Year 2021

The Organ - Instrument of the Year 2021