Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

The Grenzing organ. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch
A SPECIAL TONAL QUALITY

THE GRENZIG ORGAN

Over the course of two years, the monastery church was outfitted with a new Grenzing organ, featuring a pedal and 35 stops across three manuals. The organ builder wanted to create a warm, full sound with a wide tonal range and many options for musical expression.

Maulbronn Monastery, organ and choir stalls. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch

View of organ from choir stalls.

THE FATE OF THE MAULBRONN ORGAN

In the monastery's 400 years of organ history, things did not always run smoothly. Reports of organs at Maulbronn go back to the early 17th century. The first verifiable organ was from 1613. There were nine organs in total, many of which were often expanded, converted or relocated. The predecessor to the present-day organ lasted only 30 years. Its condition was considered structurally and acoustically irreparable. Thus, in 2002, a decision was made to replace it.

Organ builders at work. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg

Organ builders at work.

DIFFICULT CONDITIONS

There were several challenges involved in building a new organ, including the difficult climatic conditions in the church, the structural integrity of the gallery, but also concerns related to protecting the monument. The new organ therefore combines centuries old knowledge and traditions with the latest information and technology. Its sound is warm and full, rich in tone and musical expressiveness. The organ was created in the workshop of world-renowned organ builder Gerhard Grenzing in El Papiol, near Barcelona.

Maulbronn Monastery, manuals, stops and pedal, details on the Grenzing organ. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg

Details: the manuals, the stops and the pedal.

THE 2013 GRENZING ORGAN

The Grenzing organ was intended to be a modern organ for the 21st century. Varied individual tones and the ability to blend tones and differentiate voices resulted in a unique sound. The great is at the center of the organ. The pedal and its wooden pipes envelope the organ and optically opens the depth of the housing slightly. The swell is behind the great and the positive forms the top.

MIRACLE OF TECHNOLOGY

"The organ always was, both in my eyes and ears, the king of all instruments," Mozart wrote in a letter to his father. For a long time, its varied stylistic and tonal expressiveness made it an important instrument. The first organs can be traced back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, where they accompanied circus performances. Since 2013, the Grenzing organ in the monastery church has once again been filling the historic space with wonderful music.

Maulbronn chamber choir concert. Image: Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg

The famous Maulbronn chamber choir giving a concert in the monastery church.