The World of Organ Music

The organ of the Frauenkirche impresses with its versatility. Its sound can be heard in several concert series and, of course, during services and prayer. Built in 2005 by the organ building company Kern from Strasbourg, it combines the construction methods of the great organ builders Gottfried and Andreas Silbermann, enriched by the typical voices of a French-romantic organ, in a special combination of tradition and modernity.

Highlights in the music year 2022

More than 40 times the musical focus is on the impressive organ of the Frauenkirche. The organist of the Frauenkirche, Samuel Kummer, presents the oeuvre of César Franck, whose 200th birthday is being honored in particular as part of the Dresden organ cycle. Its 14 concerts present the complete works of the pioneer of the French organ symphony and place it in specially selected contexts or contrasts. The audience can look forward to international guests such as the French organist Christophe Mantoux and the Canadian concert organist Isabelle Demers, but also to extraordinary evenings with Bernhard Haas and Willibald Guggenmos. Special combinations can be experienced several times. With Wolfram and Mathias Rehfeld, a father-son team is present. The energetic duo Esprit plays four handed. Together with his Frauenkirche colleague Matthias Grünert, Samuel Kummer presents rarely heard arrangements for organ with harmonium and in the program with Kreuzorganist Holger Gehring the exciting combination of literature and improvisation. Programs that combine the queen of instruments with the instrument of kings, the trumpet, complete the spectrum.

An Overview of the Organ Series of the Frauenkirche

With the consecration of the Frauenkirche, a triumvirate of major city-centre churches exists, whose organs now sound as part of the Dresden Organ Cycle, each taking a weekly turn. The organs of the Cathedral, the Kreuzkirche and the Frauenkirche come from the workshops of Gottfried Silbermann (1755), the brothers Jemlich (1963) and the organ-builder firm Kern (2005). In 2017 the Organ of the Dresdner Kultupalast, which was built by the comapny Eule, joined the Dresden Organ Cycle.The instruments will be played every Wednesday at 8 p.m., each being played once every three weeks. As a result, it will be possible to listen to and compare the organs and to experience the different characters of the instruments in contrasting buildings. Each year, the organists of the Cathedral, the Kreuzkirche and the Frauenkirche put together an extensive concert program of which the International Dresden Organ Weeks with guest organists from all over the world mark special highlights.

Dates: Wednesdays 20:00 | once a month at the Frauenkirche

»If I were not a theologian, I would love to have become a musician,« Luther once wrote. The coexistence of word and music was important to the reformer. This idea found its architectural translation in the construction of the Frauenkirche: from the pulpit to the organ, all essential elements are arranged in one central axis. Not least because of this, it is ideal for formats that combine genres. Speaking (in German) from the pulpit, an experienced church guide introduces all visitors to unique history, iconography and message of the Frauenkirche in a knowledgeable and entertaining manner. The church musicians of the Frauenkirche as well as guest organists present works of well-known composers such as Bach, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Mozart, Franck and Rheinberger.

Dates: On selected Fridays from April to October

On the literary organ nights by candlelight, the audience can expect a summery gem of poetry, a harmonious combination of organ sound and words. The series of events stems from the special atmosphere in the atmospheric candlelight nave, from the view of the illuminated altar of the Frauenkirche and its messages. Ensemble members of the Staatsschauspiel Dresden interpret carefully composed texts that speak to the heart, speak to conscience or – in dialogue with outstanding organ improvisations – open up new perspectives on the familiar.

Dates: Three Fridays in June

The Frauenkirche is predestined for intensive care of church and especially organ music. It is therefore an essential part of all worship services and devotions. The very best Protestant church music is performed here: In addition to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the works of the former Kreuzkantor and Frauenkirchen organist Gottfried August Homilius and other baroque masters enrich the spiritual offerings.

Dates: On the four Sundays in Advent

The Frauenkirche is predestined for intensive care of church and especially organ music. It is therefore an essential part of all worship services and devotions. The very best Protestant church music is performed here: In addition to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the works of the former Kreuzkantor and Frauenkirchen organist Gottfried August Homilius and other baroque masters enrich the spiritual offerings.

Dates: Sundays 11:00 & 18:00 | weekdays at Words and Organ Music 12:00 & 18:00

The Organ of the Frauenkirche

The reputation of the church music of the Dresden Frauenkirche is due not only to the work of talented cantors and organists but also to the special instruments of this church.

Famous predecessor: The Silbermann-Organ

Bähr’s original Frauenkirche once housed an organ by the famous builder Gottfried Silbermann. The instrument, completed in 1736, was considered one of his greatest works and shortly after its construction, Johann Sebastian Bach himself gave a concert on the organ.

The organ was retuned for the first time in 1769 and retuned again in 1819, since the organ, held in the baroque concert pitch was a good half a tone too low compared to the current instrumental tuning. These would not be the last changes: In the years that followed, the organ was expanded and redesigned several times, and its original sound design was maintained. In 1945 it was completely destroyed along with the organ prospect.

The Kern-Organ

During reconstruction, the decision was made to have an instrument built that continues the Silbermann tradition, but also meets the requirements of modern organ literature. The respected organ builder Daniel Kern from Alsace, more precisely from Dresden's twin city Strasbourg, received the order. He created an instrument with 4,876 pipes and 68 sounding registers, which are distributed over four manuals and pedals. Its versatility and adaptability are widely praised: Here, Bach's organ works can be played just as authentically as organ symphonic works, for example by César Franck or Louise Vierne.

The organ of the Frauenkirche is arranged as follows:

Hauptwerk I C-a’’’ Oberwerk II C-a’’’
Principal 16’ Quintade 16’
Bordun 16’ Principal 8’
Octave 8’ Quintade 8’
Viola di Gamba 8’ Salicional 8’
Rohrflöte 8’ Gedackt 8’
Octave 4’ Octave 4’
Spitzflöte 4’ Rohrflöte 4’
Quinte 2 2/3’ Nasat 2 2/3’
Octave 2’ Octave 2’
Terz 1 3/5’ Sesquialtera 1f.
Cornet ab c1 5f. Mixtur 3f.
Mixtur 4f. Trompete 8’
Zimbel 3f. Chalumeau 8’
Fagott 16’ Tremulant  
Trompete 8’    
Clarine 4’    
       
Récit Expressiv III C-a’’’ Brustwerk IV C-a’’’
Bourdon 16’ Gedackt 8’
Flûte harmonique 8’ Principal 4’
Viole de Gambe 8’ Rohrflöte 4’
Voix Celeste 8’ Nasat 2 2/3’
Bourdon 8’ Gemshorn 2’
Principal 4’ Octave 2’
Flûte octaviante 4’ Terz 1 3/5’
Octavin 2’ Quinte 1 1/3’
Piccolo 1’ Sifflet 1’
Plein Jeu 3-6f. Mixtur 3f.
Cornet ab g 5f. Vox humana 8’
Basson 16’ Tremulant  
Trompette harmonique 8’  
Basson-Hautbois 8’  
Voix Humaine 8’  
Clairon harmonique 4’  
Tremolo    
 
Pedal C-g’  
Untersatz 32’  
Principalbass 16’  
Subbass 16’  
Octavbass 8’  
Bassflöte 8’  
Octavbass 4’  
Mixturbass 6f.  
Fagott 32’  
Posaune 16’  
Trompetenbass 8’  
Clarinenbass 4’  

Koppeln II-I, III-I, IV-I, II-I 16’, III-I 16’, III-II, IV-II,
I-P, II-P, II-P, IV-P, III-P 4’
Sperrventil I
Transpositeur IV  (415 Hz)
Setzerkombinationen (8192 Speicherplätze)
Appels des anches I,II,III, P
Registercrescendo variabel
Crescendo Récit