A reason to celebrate

A reason to celebrate

40 years is not really an age to celebrate for an organ. "A well-built and well-maintained organ can last 250 years", says church music director jorg woltche. But the short life of the "queens of instruments" has a certain tradition at the erloserkirche. Four organs in 152 years, that’s remarkable.

When in 1846/47 on the initiative of the – protestant – bavarian queen therese, who as princess of saxony hildburghausen in 1825 had married ludwig I. Married, according to plans by friedrich von gartner, a protestant house of prayer was built on the grunen wiese – at that time still short and without towers – the bamberger organ company of carl friedrich geyer also installed an organ. The instrument with its ten stops was much too small for the room with 600 seats, but it was at least sufficient for the minimum requirements. You only have to take into account that at that time there was no evangelic parish in kissingen – this was prevented by peter heil in the three year war with his bees corpses. The place was strictly catholic.

But the number of protestant bathers had increased so much that during the season a vicar came over from schweinfurt on sundays and held services in the hall of the district court. These were word services, geared to the interests of the visitors. Church music did not play a major role at that time. It was not until 1864 that kissingen got its own parish.

In 1885, those responsible had come to the conclusion that the organ was no longer adequate. The royal bavarian court organ and harmonium factory G. F. Steinmeyer in oettingen received the order to build a new instrument. But in 1891, the church was expanded to seat 800 – that’s when the towers and a new choir room were built. The protestant congregation already had 600 members at that time. But now even this organ was not enough, and not only because many visitors were singing behind the columns.

In 1910, the organ builders set to work again. At that time, it was again the steinmeyer company that used the old organ case, but upgraded the interior according to the most modern criteria for the increased requirements. But this new interior did not prove to be too durable.

From 1950 on, complaints about the condition of the organ began to pile up. But the stone hollowing stone had to drip until the middle of the 60’s, until the church board made the decision to buy a new organ. But that was only the decision. Then first of all a new parish house (1969) went ahead. 1979 the organ building could be realized. Again – with the fourth organ – it was the steinmeyer company that won the contract.

At that time there was a heated discussion about where the new organ should be placed at all. The church board and the dean of schweinfurt, johannes straub, made plans for the choir room, not least because church music had in the meantime gained considerably in importance. The pastors were against it, because they did not want to have the cantors right next to them. Who prevailed is known. The then cantor gerd jacob made sure that the organ in the gallery was moved all the way to the back wall, because he wanted to have space for the choir and instrumentalists, whom he wanted to conduct from the organ bench. That was well thought and meant, but in the course of the years it should prove to be a disadvantage. In the meantime, the sound pressure of the organ had dropped so much that, once it had climbed the gallery, only two-thirds of it reached the next listeners.

In 1993, the two organ builders jean-paul edouard and michael stumpf once again paid homage to the steinmeyer organ. "Officially, this was an "organ cleaning, says jorg woltche. That was also, but beyond that also a rebuilding. They increased the wind pressure again by one third, which was very labor intensive because the pipe connections had to be changed. And they installed three stops from the old organ of the city parish church. And, what was certainly the easiest to hear: they intoned the organ in such a way that the french romantic repertoire could also be played – a "stuck horse" of the then cantor stefan kagl.

With this organ, city and district cantor jorg woltche now celebrates its 40th anniversary. Birthday.

And on birthdays you can make a wish. Actually, he is quite satisfied with the instrument, because with only 36 stops it is possible to achieve an astonishing variety of tonal colors, even if stylistically not everything can be played. But he started thinking about bringing the organ back to the front of the chest. Then the sound could develop and spread better, then it didn’t have to endure 96 decibels any more. And a choir that had to find room in front of the organ has long since ceased to exist. And three or four keynote or even 16-fub stops are missing, which provide the bass foundation of the music and thus its assertiveness.

Even more important to him, however, is something that edouard and stumpf did not do at the time: the installation of an electric action, i.E. The connection between key and pipe. Nowadays, something like this is no longer expensive and easy to do.

Jorg woltche: "i haven’t dared to invite prominent organist colleagues for a long time now." when some time ago matthias grunert, the cantor of the dresden frauenkirche was there, he complained after two rough pieces about considerable tendon pain in hands and arms. His colleague wolfgang dallmann (heidelberg) already spoke of an "imposition" in 2000.

Jorg woltche weib naturlich, that his birthday wishes can’t be put on the gift table now. This was going to overburden the parish financially. For now, too, the main focus is on a new parish house. And then the interior renovation of the church should be completed, so that the organ does not have to be packed away dust-proof. Maybe it will work for the 50. Birthday of the steinmeyerin.

Double jubilee

Not only the steinmeyer organ in the erloserkirche celebrates its 40th anniversary, but there is something else to celebrate there: 40 years of cantor jorg woltche.

In 1979, mother woltche signed an employment contract in breuberg-wald-amorbach for her son, who at the age of 16 was not yet ready for business. And thus began the cantor’s career. It took him first to breuberg-sandbach and hirschberg-leutershausen an der weinstrabe in a part-time capacity. He took up his first full-time post in 1991 in garding near st. Peter-ording at the north sea. 1997 he moved to the erloserkirche in bad kissingen. Two events took place during this time: in 2008, the organist position was changed to an A position because of its importance for the health resort system. In 2014 the protestant state church of bavaria awarded jorg woltche the title of church music director.


Main holiday is sunday, 7. April. At 10.45 o’clock, after the service, jorg woltche gives a matinee of about 20 minutes on the occasion of the jubilee. Evening at 19.30 o’clock comes the young organist lisa hummel. She can confidently be called a shooting star of the organ scene, having won prizes at the most important european organ competitions. It won, among others, the dublin international organ competition and the 3. Prize at the international organ competition in st. Petersburg. At the international organ week nurnberg 2016, she received the 2nd prize. Prize and the audience prize. She plays works by johann sebastian bach, franz liszt and marcel dupre.

On pentecost sunday, 9. June, is rude "organ day". Again there will be at 10.50 o’clock an organ matinee. At 2 and 3 p.M. The children (and their parents) can explore the organ from inside and outside (by the way, also on sunday, 8 p.M.). September, 14 and 15 o’clock). And at 19.30 o’clock jorg woltche gives an organ concert with works by johann sebastian bach and franz liszt.

And saturday, 14., 4 pm, and monday, 16. December, 10 a.M. (for schuler) hein flot and kapt’n orgelbar come to the erloserkirche with a christmas tale. Who they are? KMD karin and KMD thomas riegler from bad neustadt.

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