Zion Lutheran Church - Moselem Springs, PA
Tannenberg built an organ for Zion Lutheran Church near the town of Moselem Springs in Richmond Township in Berks County in 1770. This was one of Tannenberg's earliest organs; quite possibly his opus 8. It is interesting to note that this is not only the oldest surviving Tannenberg organ, but also the oldest surviving organ built in the colonies. Tannenberg provided a case constructed from black walnut and is the only extant Tannenberg case made from this wood. The organ was dedicated by the pastor, John Helfrich Schaum in 1770 and was located in the west gallery of the church's 1761 stone building. An old photo of the organ in this building can be seen hanging in the present church (see below).
The organ remained in the old church for 124 years. Then, in 1894, the old church was torn down and the present brick building was erected. At this time, the Tannenberg was extensively rebuilt by Samuel Bohler of Reading. Bohler removed the Terz and Mixtur and replaced them with string stops. In addition, he installed "ears" on the front pipes. He also completely rebuilt the key and stop actions and in the process, also replaced the old recessed keydesk with a typical late 19th century design. The reversed color keyboard was also replaced. The entire winding system was discarded in favor of a single rise bellows installed within the case. Finally, the case was grain-painted a dark brown. When the organ was installed in the new church, only the chest, the case, parts of the stop action and six ranks of pipes remained from 1770.
After becoming unplayable in the 1950's, the organ was again reworked in 1974 by Joseph Chapline. The 19th century pipe work was removed and modern, factory-made ranks were installed to replace the missing Terz and Mixtur stops. A recessed console was reconstructed and the case was painted an off-white. All other alterations by Bohler were left in place, however, including the 19th century winding system. The six original ranks, however, still produce a very beautiful articulate and antique sonority.
The organ was completely restored by the shop of R. J. Brunner
& Co. from 2010-2011. All the missing Tannenberg parts were replicated to
match the originals, including the 18th century style winding system. The shop
of Paul Fritts in Tacoma, Washington provided the missing Terz and Mixtur ranks.
These were made to match the original Tannenberg pipes. Bill Ross provided parts
of an old Pennsylvania-German winding system — possibly from an old Dieffenbach
organ. In addition, the case was restored to once again reveal the beautiful
The organ is pitched rather high — in the old “Chorton” (a= 458.2Hz), which was common in central Germany in the 18th century. It was decided to tune the Tannenberg in one of the temperaments designed by Georg Andreas Sorge and given in a table in his treatise that he sent to Tannenberg. This particular temperament gives the various keys wonderfully different characters and qualities.
In September of 2011, after a little more than a year, the organ was returned
to the church. The service of rededication and recital took place on Sunday
October 2, 2011 with the author as recitalist.
The stop list is:
|Manual: C-d3, 51 notes|
The Principal 8' has the lowest 9 pipes of stopped wood, the next 3 pipes are open wood and the next 25 pipes (from tenor c) are in the facade (in the center tower and the two flats). The Principal Octav 4' has the lowest 2 pipes of open wood and the next 10 pipes (from low D) are in the facade (in the side towers). The Flaut Major 8' and Flaut minor 4' are identical open wood ranks. The rackboard for the Terz is original from 1770 and shows that this rank ran all the way to the top without a break. The Mixtur was possibly 2 ranks with a single break at middle c (as is the case with the Mixtur in the Tannenberg organ in Madison, VA), but since the rack board was replaced by Samuel Bohler in 1894 and again in 1974, there is no way to be certain of this. The original toe-board does still exist, however, and it appears that the Mixtur did have only a single break at middle c.
Source for the stop list: The names of the stops were written on the stop action and appear to be original (possibly in Tannenberg's hand).
To hear an improvisation on the Principal 8', click here.
To hear an improvisation on the Flaut Major 8', click here.
To hear an improvisation on the Flaut Minor 4', click here.
To hear an improvisation on both the Flaut Major 8' and Flaut Minor 4', click here.
Listen to Magnificat octavi toni (No. 4) by Johann Pachelbel using the Principal Octav 4', click here.
Listen to Magnificat octavi toni (No. 10) by Johann Pachelbel using the Principal 8', Principal Octav 4' and the Sub Octav 2', click here.
Listen to Magnificat sexti toni (No. 5) by Johann Pachelbel using the Principal 8', Flaut Major 8', Principal Octav 4', Quinte 3', Sub Octav 2' and Mixtur, click here.
To hear an improvisation on the Principal 8', Principal Octav 4', Quinte 3', Sub Octav 2', Terz and Mixtur, click here.
To hear an improvisation on the Principal 8', Flaut Major 8', Principal Octav 4', Quinte 3', Sub Octav 2', Terz and Mixtur, click here.
Click on the thumbnails to see the larger pictures:
I. Historic Photos:
The 4 old photos are reproduced here courtesy of Zion Moselem Lutheran Church.
Photos 1 - 3 were taken in 1892; photo 4 was taken c.1930; photos 5 & 6 were taken in June of 2009 and photos 7 & 8 were taken on the day of the organ removal - August 24, 2010. Compare the photo of the pipes with the one below (after restoration).
II. Restoration photos:
Row 1: Photos 1-3 show the walnut case after layers of paint
had been stripped; photo 4 is of the windchest undergoing work; photo 5 shows
the impost after stripping; photo 6 is of a wood pipe showing Tannenberg's earlier
practice of using walnut for the mouths of the larger wood pipes (Jacob and
Christian Dieffenbach also did this); photos 7 - 8 show wood pipes including
2 small replacements; photo 9 shows the Principal Octav 4';
Row 2: Photo 1 shows a comparison between an original 1770 pipe (top) and a replacement (bottom) that appears to be either a later replacement by Tannenberg or one by Bohler using a later Tannenberg pipe. (Note the difference in mouth construction); photo 2 shows the extensive nicking done by Samuel Bohler; photo 3 shows the reconstructed rollerboard in Tannenberg style; photo 4 shows a comparison between a Floth 4' from the 1787 Lititz organ (right) and a same-note pipe from the 1770 Moselem organ (left); photo 5 shows a comparison between a Principal 4' from the 1787 Lititz organ (left) and the same-note from the 1770 Moselem organ; photo 6 shows the difference in the quality of soldering between a pipe from the 1787 Lititz organ (left) and one from the 1770 Moselem organ; photos 7-8 show replacement pipes alongside original Tannenberg pipes and photo 9 is of the Organ Restoration Committee at a visit to the R. J. Brunner shop in April, 2011.
Row 3: Photo 1 shows the new Mixtur pipes (1 rank of the Mixtur) from the Paul Fritts shop; photo 2 shows the new Terz pipes also from the Paul Fritts shop (note an original Terz pipe 7th from the right); photos 3 and 4 show the new roller board and trackers and photo 5 shows the case after finishing and assembly at the R. J. Brunner shop. Photo 6 shows the new keyboard; photo 7 is of the new winding system in the style of Tannenberg; photo 8 shows the front pipes with Bohler's ears removed and photo 9 shows the case with the front pipes installed.
Row 4: Photo 1 shows the case with front pipes; photos 2 and 3 show the replicated keydesk; photos 4 and 5 show the new pipes (back 3 ranks) and photo 6 shows Hans Herr regulating the speech of a pipe.
Row 5: Photos 1 and 2 show the reconstructed Tannenberg style winding system; photos 3 - 5 show the case and front pipes being installed in the church (September 15, 2011).
III. After Restoration Photos: