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The organ of St Johann’s Church, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
The first organ in the 15th-century protestant church of St. Johann was set on a swallow's nest on the upper north wall of the nave. In 1529 it was broken up in the throes of the Reformation, and clergy resistance meant a gap of 350 years before Johann Nepomuk Kuhn was invited to build a new III/52 mechanical west gallery organ in 1879, with a neo-Gothic case design by the then well-known architects and altar builders Franz and August Müller from Wil, Canton St. Gallen. Some alterations by Kuhn followed in 1929, in part acting on the (somewhat unwelcome) advice of Albert Schweizer.
In 1979 the church was under restoration and a new organ was mooted, to be based on the ideas of the Parisian organist Gaston Litaize, however a stronger call was made for the preservation of the old organ. In the meantime, the reconfiguration of the church for concert use led to the west gallery being set back. The builder’s solution to preserving the organ as a historic monument, as closely as possible to its current form, meant restoring Manual I and II and moving the Manual III (Swell) pipework, originally the furthest back, a storey lower, placing this division in the lower part of the case. The Pedal organ, situated at the side, was also altered by stacking the ranks two rows high. The instrument was once again given mechanical cone chests with modern Barker levers fitted for all three manuals. Out of the current 66 stops, 51 are completely or partly original, four were reconstructed, and 11 were newly added, mainly in the Swell.

FUG 054

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