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The Eilert-Köhler Organ of Kreuzkirche at Suhl (Germany)
The Eilert Köhler organ is supposed to be Köhler's masterpiece at the end of his learning and wandering years. We can consider that he was approximately 25 up to 33 years old when this work was carried out.young Northern German organ builder has created this organ work together with only one assistant and can be classified as a masterpiece in the best sense of the word: 39 speaking stops divide on two Manuals and Pedal . Additionally, the instrument has got a Glockenspiel, one manual coupler and one coupler Great-Pedal. All division have a share in the facade. A self-contained Prinzipal pyramid and an opulent choir of foundation stops (16', 8', 4') form the tonal basis. A full reed choir gives the instrument power and colourfoul sound, light and brilliant Mixtures give it gloss.
Eilert Köhler comes from an organ landscape which is completely different from the Norther German organ building tradition which was characterized by Arp Schnitger. For the Norther German organ building, light, clear, sometims fierce sounds, many Mixtures and overtone-rich Aliquot stops (thirds, fifths). But also an abundance of reed stops is characteristic for Northern German organs from the 18 Century. This tradition connects Köhler with the tradition of Thuringian organ building which he is supposed to have learned to know during his wandering years. A prosperity of ground tone stops and the high number of flute stops are typical for the Thuringian organ building. Eilert Köhler created an opus which is, according to the opininon of expercts, equal to the best instruments of the first half of the 18 Century with regard to construction and quality and that does not need to shy away from comparisons to the big Gottfried Silbermann Cathedral organ in Freiberg. The masterly symbiosis between Northern German and Thuringian style embody the special feature of this organ. It is not only the first opus of this master, but also - to present knowledge - the only conserved one.
In order to preserve the Eilert Köhler organ in the Kreuzkirche in Suhl as an outstanding historic monument of the baroque time and to make it audibleagain in its former beauty, the Kreuzkirche parsish decided in 1999 for a fundamental restauration. This task could be accomplished with much patience, persistance and long breath. On 3 June 2007, the inauguration of the Eilert Köhler organ took place after nearly eight-year restauration works carried out by Alexander Schuke Orgelbau Potsdam.