Organist Hans-Jürgen Studer on the main organ of the Engelberg Monastery. This exclusive organ music programme presents Swiss composers Johann Jakob Mendel, Johann Gustav Eduard Stehle, Otto Barblan and Hans Peter Graf.
Johann Jakob Mendel (1809-1881)
Mendel was born in Darmstadt (Germany). On the recommendation of Rinck and G.Weber, Mendel was appointed organist to the Cathedral of Berne in 1830.
In 1864 the university endowed him with a doctor of arts degree and appointed him director of church music, and in 1875 he was appointed honorary professor by the faculty of liberal arts. Mendel died in Berne on 22 December 1881.
Johann Gustav Eduard Stehle (1839-1915)
Stehle was born in Steinhausen (Germany). Studies in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. In 1870 he assumed the position as organist at St.Columban's in Rorschach (Switzerland).
Stehle founded the St.Gallen Cecilian Society for the promotion of Catholic vocal music.
In 1874 Stehle was appointed director of music at the Cathedral of St.Gallen and soon earned a fine reputation as a composer and conductor.
The University of Fribourg endowed him with a doctor of arts degree in 1911. Stehle died in St. Gallen on 21 June, 1915.
Otto Barblan (1860-1943)
Barblan was born in S-chanf in Canton Graubünden. After his musical studies at the Stuttgart Conservatory he became voice teacher at the state school in Chur in 1885.
In 1887 he was appointed organist at St.Peter's Cathedral in Geneva. He also was taught organ and composition at the Geneva Conservatory.
Barblan had a decisive influence on Geneva's musical life for nearly half a century. He died in Geneva on 19 December 1943.
Hans Peter Graf (1954)
Graf was born on 30 October 1954. He studied at the teachers'training college in Berne from 1972 to 1976, then earned an organist's diploma at the Berne Conservatory in 1980.
Hans Peter Graf is the organist of the Nydegg Church in Berne as well as at the First Church of Christ, Scientist. He teaches piano, organ and keyboard and performs as a jazz musician in various bands.
Hans-Jürgen Studer was born 1961 in Kehl am Rhein (Germany). Studies at the Strasbourg Conservatory (France), the Zurich Conservatory, the Vienna Musikhochschule and at the Zurich Musikhochschule.
Hans-Jürgen Studer is head organist and artistic director of organ concerts at the Reformed Church in the city of Zug, Switzerland.
The Engelberg Monastery organs
There are a number of indications for the existence of an organ in the monastery as early as 1300, but the first conclusive evidence is for an organ built from 1639 to 1644.
After the last major fire, the monastery did not have the financial means to construct a new organ. In 1737 a small choir organ was consecrated at the same spot as that of today.
By 1875 the cloister had made such great financial progress that planning began for a renovation of the church and the construction of a new main organ.
Lucerne organ builder Friedrich Goll received the commission. During the 1920's the signs for the construction of a new organ became increasingly positive.
Karl Goll (1876-1967), the son of Friedrich, received the commission for the new organ. It finally housed 135 ranks. The last restoration and conversion was made by Orgelbau Grau from Sursee in 1992/93.
The great organ's rich palette of sonorities and the intensity of its full sound in the excellent acoustics of the church are breathtaking.
Swiss Composers 5. Hans-Jürgen Studer, organ (1999). Musica Helvetica MH CD 116.2. Produced for SRI by Marie-Louise Lauper and Christian Strickler.