View Full Version : The construction of a new pipe organ in Jørlunde Church

Frederik Magle
Feb-04-2005, 01:19
UPDATE MARCH 1, 2010: New article with detailed information about the organ (http://www.magle.dk/pipe-organ-jorlunde-church.html).

I have recently been hired as "organ consultant" - together with the organist of Jørlunde Church, Gunnar Svensson - for the construction of a new pipe organ. My job is to design the "list of stops" (disposition) and the tonal character of the organ, both overall and for the individual voices.

It all began when Gunnar Svensson asked me if I would like to join a competition held for the best disposition for a new pipe organ in Jørlunde Church. He had invited several organists (with special technical as well as musical knowledge of the instrument) to submit a proposition. I'm happy to say that he chose my suggestion https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif A week later the Church Council asigned me as official organ consultant.

Jørlunde Church (Sjælland, Denmark) was build around the year 1100 and is world renowned for it's amazingly well-kept medieval church wall paintings (chalk paintings) as seen here:

Church Wall Painting in Jørlunde Church, anno 1150 (bad photographic quality)

It is expected that the organ will completed sometime late this year (2005) or in the beginning of 2006. The architects Johannes and Inger Exner (whom - amongst countless other projects - was responsible for the re-contruction of the castle Koldinghus (http://www.koldinghus.dk/default.asp?ID=604)) has been assigned the job of drawing the organ facade and housing, but an organ-builder has not yet been chosen. Gunnar Svensson and I has had some very interesting meetings with the Exners.

It has been decided that the new organ must be of the highest quality, using the finest craftsmanship and materials. The total budget will be more than 450,000$ (US) but the result will be one of excellence and the instrument will be constructed to last at least 300 years - possibly much longer.

I cannot yet post the final stop list, because there may still be minor changes, but I will post it as soon as the construction has begun.
For now I can tell that the current (and probably final) disposition consists of 19 voices, 24 ranks and 1292 pipes ranging in height from a few centimeters to five meters (approx .16 feet). The organ will have two manuals (Great Organ + Swell Organ) and pedal.

I'm looking very much forward to the completion of this project and will keep your posted on the progress! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Feb-10-2005, 15:05
Congratulations.Its interesting only two manuals.Are two manuals enough for the musical requirements of the church?Is'nt there enough space for a third manaul and the required extra pipes or is the third manual option too expensive?Good luck with the project.

Frederik Magle
Feb-13-2005, 12:57
Well, Jørlunde Kirke is not a big church so the space is limited to acommody approx. 19-20 voices in total - especially since the tonal character will be rich with a good selection of 8-feet stops and 16' Basun (Trombone) in the pedal. With "only" 19 voices, I much prefer to have two fully equipped manuals rather than three scarcely useful. Had the organ had 24-25 or more voices I would have considered a three manual option. Btw. the organ will actually have 23 stops as some borrowing will occur in the pedal in order to save space.

Anyhow, a skillful organist should find no trouble playing almost any organ-literature he or she would like to play, even with just two manuals. Not least with the voices available in this organ. (As I wrote, I will be posting the List of stops as soon as the formalities has been cleared).

Frederik Magle
Jun-13-2005, 12:12
Just a short update on the progress:

The organ is now put out to "competitive tendering" with three different Danish organ builders. They will each present their solution on how to construct the organ aand the price on July 1st (2005). Then it is up to the church council (with help from their advisors; myself and the local organist, Gunnar Svensson) to decide which builder gets the job.

Tomorrow, I will be going on a one-day trip on "Sealand" and "Fyen" (Danish islands) - along with Gunnar Svensson - and visit newly build organs by the three organ builders to get a better impression of their individual style.

After a builder has been selected, the organ project needs to be "approved" by the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. When that is done, the construction can begin. I will post the complete detailed stop list as soon as I can, but not before the construction is ready to begin (minor changes could still happen until then).

Frederik Magle
Aug-04-2005, 23:21
Well, tomorrow's the big day. I'll be in meeting all day with the three competing organ builders, the organist and the architects. We are going to decide who gets the job!! I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I can reveal the result...

Then it will also be time to post the full stop lists and technical specifications of the instrument.

Frederik Magle
Aug-08-2005, 23:07
This is turning in to an "organ construction blog" https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Anyhow, friday we (the organist, the architects and myself) had meetings with all three organ-builders one after another for 10 hours straight! We try be meticulous in our approach. Today (monday), Gunnar Svensson and I had an additional meeting with one of the builders to get answers to a few unasnwered questions and Gunnar and I have now made our final decision which we agreed on, and the architects approve on as well. It was a VERY tough decision as all three organ-builders are of the highest standard and qualifications, but it had to be made...

The organ builders has not been informed yet (just decided three hours ago!) so I won't reveal the name until they have all been officially informed on out decision.

To be continued... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

D P Werner
Aug-11-2005, 08:43
Thanks for posting this it. Looking forward to progress with interest.

Frederik Magle
Aug-17-2005, 16:11
As promised, here is the full stop list (disposition) of the upcoming new organ in Jørlunde Church, Denmark. So far it is still a "suggestion" and will remain so until it has been officially approved by the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, but so far both the church council, the local organist and the organ builder has approved of this disposition:

Update, October 2009: The complete and finalized stop-list, including a thorough description of every voice and the thoughts behind them and the organ's tonal character as a whole (still only in Danish, sorry) can be found HERE (http://www.magle.dk/dansk/orgel-jorlunde-kirke.html). I will be working on an English translation of this document as well.

Update, March 1st, 2010: I've uploaded a new article about the organ in English. It's not a translation of the Danish article, but rather written from scratch. However, it goes through the stop list in detail in the same way and include the complete specifications. Read it HERE (http://www.magle.dk/pipe-organ-jorlunde-church.html).

Hovedværk (Great Organ), Manual I

Gedakt 16' Wood
Principal 8'
Traversfløjte 8' Harmonic from f'
Tectus 8' Wood, Demant 1870
Octav 4' Demant 1870
Fløjte 4' Wood, Demant 1870
Octav 2'
Mixtur III 1 1/3' + 1' + 2/3' (update: changed to 4 ranks; 1 1/3' + 1' + 2/3' + 1/2'. For details see the revised stop list (http://www.magle.dk/dansk/orgel-jorlunde-kirke.html#disposition))
Trompet 8'

Svelleværk (Swell Organ), Manual II

Rørfløjte 8'
Fugara 8' Demant 1870
Vox Angelica 8' From c
Gemshorn 4'
Schweizerfløjte 2'
Nasat 1 1/3'
Cornet IV 4' + 2 2/3' + 2' + 1 3/5' (update: named Aetheria-Cornet IV)
Oboe 8'

Pedalværk (Pedal Organ)

Subbas 16' Wood
Principalbas 8' Tr. (from Great)
Bordun 8' Extension from Subbas 16'
Octav 4' Tr. (from Great)
Fløjte 4' Tr. (from Great)
Basun 16' Wood
Octav-basun 8' Extension from Basun 16' (update: named Trompet 8')

Thomas Dressler
Sep-12-2005, 05:25
You have to have organs approved by the government? Does the government in Denmark own or help pay for organs?

As to size, I play on a 20 rank organ and I absolutely love it. It's an 1892 Hook and Hastings, in original condition, and the sound is spectacular in the small church.

Your specification looks useful. It's hard to judge too much from a stoplist, as everything depends on scaling and voicing, but in general, that's a useful design. I'm assuming it's not tracker action, if there's borrowing? (It's possible on trackers, but complicated.)

Thomas Dressler

Frederik Magle
Sep-12-2005, 10:34
The government help pay for the organ because Jørlunde Kirke is part of the "state church" (lutheran/protestant). The majority of churches in Denmark are in fact state churches. It's of course volunter if one is a member of the state church (or "people's church") or not, but all members pay a church tax (a little under 1%). About 80% of the entire population are members of the state church (yet Denmark is generally a very secular country, so membership is to many more a cultural tradition rather than a religious statement). This thread is of course not, nor should it be, a discussion about religion and the church, so this was just an attempt to explain the background why the government is involved, and now back on topic https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Indeed, everything will depend on the voicing and scaling, which will be done - though not as an exact style-copy or replica of Danish romantic 19th century voices, yet still complementing the 1870 Demant stops.

It will in fact be 100% tracker action! Action, registration and couplers - including derived and extended stops. The main reason for the borrowing occuring in the pedal is not to save money, but rather to save space, so the organ will be in harmony with the room in which it stands -both musically and architectonic.

Christine Callisen
Sep-12-2005, 10:44
Maybe thats a stupid question - but when do you think the project is finish?? It must take a while.... But how long? I really can´t imagine... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon_rolleyes.gif

Christine https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Frederik Magle
Sep-12-2005, 10:50
Not a stupid question at all, on the contrary. The project will take a little longer than originally hoped (but that doesn't come as a big surprise), so it is expected that the organ will be ready in the first half of 2007. First we have to wait for the official approval, then the organ builders (which btw. are the company Frobenius) have to finish a few other works before they can start. The actual contruction phase of the organ will take up to a year...

Christine Callisen
Sep-12-2005, 11:23
Wow - that´s a long time. But I understand that it is a big project. Good luck!! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers444.gif

Thomas Dressler
Sep-13-2005, 03:41
Very nice, Frederik. I'm sure you must have figured out by now that I would approve of a tracker! lol (Not that my approval is necessary. . .) https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

The borrowing on the pedal is nothing to apologize for. That's one judicious use of borrowing that can work. Many really fine 19th century American organs (including the 1892 Hook and Hastings I play) had only two pedal stops--a 16' Open Diapason (Principal) and a 16' Bourdon. You have to use couplers for the rest. For the most part, it's not a problem, and you'll have a little more flexibility with this instrument. The real trick, as I mentioned, is the scaling and voicing, and to some extent the case layout. But tracker action tends to keep builders to more traditional case layouts, which usually sound the best.

Best wishes as the project continues!

Frederik Magle
Sep-21-2005, 17:16
Heh, I imagined you would approve of the tracker action https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Btw, the organ is being mentioned in the September website news section of the well respected British magazine The Organ (http://www.theorganmag.com/news/2005sep.html).

Jan-02-2008, 06:42
Out of curiosity, Frederik, is this organ now up and running?

CT64 - Sydney

Jan-03-2008, 22:33
Is there a picture of it or a video of the construction?
judy tooley

Frederik Magle
Aug-06-2009, 22:15
Update update....

On October 25th (2009) the new organ in Jørlunde Kirke (Jørlunde Church) will be inaugurated! The final disposition is as originally planned with two exceptions;

The Great organ mixture is now 4 ranks instead of 3.
Also, the 4 "Demant" voices will be made with new pipes build as replicas of the 1870 Demant pipes.

I'll follow up with more details soon.

Frederik Magle
Aug-08-2009, 21:26
I took some pictures of the organ today. I will be visiting the construction site every week and take more pictures (and video) along the way. To begin with here are two pictures, one of the (incomplete) console and one of the (mechanical) tracker action below the manuals (keyboards).

The entire casing is made in massive mahogany and the manuals are made of ivory, everything in the highest quality possible. More pictures will follow soon.

Aug-08-2009, 23:57
A fascinating project, Frederik. Presumably, being 100% mechanical, there won't be any pistons, just fixed (?) combination pedals?

Frederik Magle
Aug-09-2009, 10:17
A fascinating project, Frederik. Presumably, being 100% mechanical, there won't be any pistons, just fixed (?) combination pedals?

I forgot to mention one more change. We had a nice long talk one evening about a year ago where we discussed pros and cons of making the registration action electric instead of mechanical as originally planned. The cost would be about the same and we ended up agreeing that electric registration this day and age is reliable enough that the benefits outweigh the negatives (this may sound like a silly discussion, but the instrument is being built to last for centuries (literally), so we must ensure that every single component is, if not able to last that long, then at least easily serviceable or replaceable many years from now.

There are no combinations, neither as manual pistons nor combination pedals, fixed or otherwise, - yet. However, with the electric registration in place room has been made for a setzer combination system, which I have a feeling will be build in sometime in the not so distant future ;) Here and now though I felt that the budget was best spent on getting voices. A setzer is easy to add, not so with an extra voice in a tracker action organ.

The foot steps you can see on the picture are couplers (the are doubled as draw knobs as well).

Here's a picture with a detail of some of the electric registration placed underneath the great organ chest, and a picture of the organ and the church taken from the choir. Note that none of the metal pipes in the great organ have been put in place yet, so what you see is only the casing and the Gedakt 16', hence it looks very dark, but when the pipes are put in then is will look very different. The third picture is taken from between the Great Organ and the Swell and Pedal Organ (Great Organ in front, Swell and Pedal Organs behind), and shows the Gedakt 16'. In the top left corner you can see a few Subbas 16' pipes as well as some of the swell shutters.

Aug-09-2009, 14:46
That sounds like a good balance. It did seem a bit extreme to banish electricity completely! Hope the project continues to go well, John

Frederik Magle
Aug-30-2009, 12:11
Many of the Great Organ pipes has now been installed, still missing is the upper work and Trumpet 8'

However, here's an update with the organ's current state. The intonation work has begun, and so far The Tectus 8' and Flute 4' in the Great Organ are playable.

Some pictures.

Aug-30-2009, 17:11
Thanks for the update Frederik. Looks like it is being built with a high standard of craftsmanship.

Aug-30-2009, 22:46
very interesting follwing the progression.. Thanks

Frederik Magle
Sep-04-2009, 00:19
I've just made post about this on my blog (http://www.frederikmagle.com) with some additional details on the progress and my involvement in the intonation.

Sep-04-2009, 01:30
Frederik - thanks for the update - it's going to be a splendid instrument. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the inaugural performance MP3?


Sep-04-2009, 04:08
Thanks for update... can appreciate this much more since I am using Hauptwerk 3.23 VOP program and designing my own organ so to speak.. sure turns the hair gray...LOL. But fun too....

Sep-04-2009, 06:55
Thanks for the updated info in your blog, Frederik.

Looking forward to hearing sound bites from this instrument when completed.

Frederik Magle
Oct-08-2009, 21:20
The project is progressing nicely, and the organ will be ready for the inauguration on October 25th. Today, the largest pipes - the full length Basun 16' (Trombone 16') - was installed. It's the tallest pipes ever build for an organ a village church in Denmark!

I was present during the installation, and took this video with my iPhone:


Oct-09-2009, 02:48
INteresting thanks for update.. be nice to hear concert.. Are you performing the Inaug. concert?

Frederik Magle
Oct-09-2009, 10:44
You're welcome, Bill. I will be giving the first performance of a new work, I'm working on right now, at the inauguration which takes place at the high mass on October 25th. After that I will give the first solo concert on the organ on November 8th.

Oct-09-2009, 19:09
Sounds Great..I wish you the Best of Luck.. I am sure it will be a great concert for all attending to hear you.... Take Care my friend

Frederik Magle
Oct-26-2009, 19:01
The official inauguration yesterday went very well. The church was absolutely packed, so they had to put in at least 50 extra chairs (only downside to that was that the relatively small church's acoustics did suffer from all the people, but that just mean the organ will sound even better on normal occasions).

The organ is now almost finished with just one week more of voicing to get the last details in place. Hence, it will be ready for my concert on November 8th.

But even at its current almost-finished state it sounds great! :)

At the Organ Inauguration Mass yesterday I performed my (like the organ) almost finished "Fantasia for organ "At blive" ("To become") as well as an improvisation for the postlude. The church's organist Gunnar Svensson performed a Choral Fantasia he has written as well as all the hymns. We took turns playing during the communion.

Here is a small excerpt from the end of "At blive", recorded yesterday on a Zoom H4 mini-recorder with built-in mic:
Download (http://www.magle.dk/audio/frederik-magle-at-blive-excerpt.mp3) (mp3)

One of my goals with the organ's tonal design was for it to sound like a full and complete organ, capable of producing a larger sound than one would perhaps normally expect from 19 voices (21 with extensions). Not in regard to sound pressure, but rather in richness and "greatness" of tone, and I believe the organ builders Frobenius and their chief voicer Ole Høyer has succeeded in realizing that, as well as my other visions for the organ. I think they’ve built a great pipe organ, perhaps not in size - but in sound.

Let me know what you think.

Oct-26-2009, 19:31
Sounds Great! Will you be releasing a "full" version?



Here is a small excerpt from the ending of "At blive", recorded yesterday on a mini-recorder with built-in mic:

Frederik Magle
Oct-26-2009, 22:29
Thanks, Dennis :) I plan on releasing a larger excerpt or perhaps even the full version after the concert on November 8th. The piece still needs a few "tweaks" here and there, so I will be working it this week.

Btw, I forgot to post the second video of the Basun 16' pipes (the full length Trombone 16'). Now with all the pipes installed, Gunnar Svensson (the church's organist, and a man of average height) stands in the background to show the scale:


Oct-27-2009, 00:18
Neat video.. Thanks...Look forward to a sound file of your concert on this instrument... Bill

Oct-27-2009, 01:19
You're welcome, Bill. I will be giving the first performance of a new work, I'm working on right now, at the inauguration which takes place at the high mass on October 25th. After that I will give the first solo concert on the organ on November 8th.

"High Mass" - goodness, I thought the Lutherans got rid of all those delightful Roman litergies?

Frederik Magle
Nov-02-2009, 18:07
"High Mass" - goodness, I thought the Lutherans got rid of all those delightful Roman litergies?

Well, the Sunday morning mass is called "high mass" - directly translated from "Højmesse" in Danish, but it really is just the normal lutheran mass.

Luis Enrique
Jan-03-2010, 07:02
Hello "Federico", I read all the post and I was expecting to read something about your concert on Nov. What was the program? Is there a way to listen some pieces ?
Best wishes
Luis Enrique

Frederik Magle
Jan-03-2010, 18:02
Hello Luis,

The concert on November 8th went very well indeed - the church was packed to the last seat and beyond :)

The program I played was:

Olivier Messiaen: Le banquet céleste
Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata & Fugue d-minor (BWV 565)
Frederik Magle: Rhapsody for organ "Viva Voce"
Frederik Magle: Improvisation
César Franck: Choral No. 3 in A-minor
Samuel Barber: Adagio for strings, op. 11 (arranged for organ by William Strickland)
Frederik Magle: Fantasia for organ "To Become" (written for the new organ)
Charles-Marie Widor: "Toccata" from the 5th organ symphony
Frederik Magle: Improvisation (extra)

On December 21st and 22nd I did a marathon recording session in the church, where I recorded both "To Become" and "Viva Voce" as well as approx 8 hours of improvisations, from which I will select material for my next CD to be released this year.

I will post some "teasers" soon :)

Luis Enrique
Jan-05-2010, 05:33
Thanks Frederik, I will be expecting for your CD. Greetings from these warms mountains.

Frederik Magle
Jan-10-2010, 22:20
Here's a picture I've taken of the organ in its finished state:

Jan-11-2010, 02:08
Gorgeous, absolutely stunning in appearance and design. A wonderful compliment of the old and the new ... like it has been standing there for many years.

I know you were involved right form the beginning design stages on this instrument, but wondering if you also had input on the case and pipe layout as we see it here?

Frederik Magle
Jan-11-2010, 13:54
Thanks, Lars.

I can't take credit for the stunning visual appearance which is the work of the architects Inger & Johannes Exner. Of course, they're created the design from my specifications for the organ, and I've had a say in certain details (such as the width and depth of the instrument which I had increased 10 cm on each side from an earlier draft to allow for wider pipe scales - and other technical things like that, e.g. the placement of certain pedal pipes, etc.), but the way they've realized it is their work of art.

Frederik Magle
Mar-01-2010, 12:39
I have just finished writing a new in depth article about the organ: The New Pipe Organ in Jørlunde Church. (http://www.magle.dk/pipe-organ-jorlunde-church.html)
Let me know if you have any comments or questions about it, also if you want me to expand or clarify anything in article I can do that.

Mar-01-2010, 21:55
i.e. Article.... very well done and quite informative article.. Thanks for update.. Bill
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