Bach was court organist and musician to the Duke of Weimar from 1708 until 1717. Many of his most well-known and frequently played organ works date from this period:

  • The Orgelbüchlein
  • Prelude and Fugue in F minor (S. 534)
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor ("Dorian" - S. 538)
  • Prelude and Fugue in G major (S. 541)
  • Fantasy and Fugue in G minor (S. 542)
  • Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major (S. 564)
  • Passacaglia in C minor (S. 582)

The organ in the Church of the Schloss, or "Castle" was originally built by Compenius in 1658, then repaired and rebuilt in 1708. Further work was done 1713-14 and 1719-20.

The instrument was placed in a gallery high above the altar and some distance back from the gallery rail. The earliest preserved stoplist dates from 1730; the one below is based on several different published versions.165


Oberwerk Unterwerk Pedal
Quintadena 16 Principal 8 Gross Untersatz 32
Principal 8 Viol da Gamba 8 Violon-bass 16
Gemshorn 8 Gedackt 8 Sub-bass 16
Grobgedackt 8 Octave 4 Principal-bass 8
Octave 4 Klein Gedackt 4 Posaune-bass 16
Quintadena 4 Waldflöte 2 Trompeten-bass 8
Mixture VI Sesquialtera II Cornetten-bass 4
Cymbel III Trompette 8
Couplers: Unterwerk to Oberwerk, Oberwerk to Pedal
Two Tremulants (Oberwerk and Unterwerk)

Please note these characteristics. Most are typical of Thuringian organs of Bach's lifetime.

  • Only two manual divisions (both in the same case), and a small pedal division.
    • Only one manual has a full principal chorus (Oberwerk).
    • The 8' Principal and 4' Octave on the secondary manual form a small principal ensemble, but they are not complete enough to balance the Oberwerk chorus.
    • The pedal division is small, and most of its stops contribute "gravity" to the sound. Only the 4' Cornet would be used as a solo stop.
  • There are several quiet 8' stops on each manual division. These would be used not only in simply-registered organ chorales, but also as continuo stops for ensemble playing.
  • As in the organ at Arnstadt, there is only one manual reed, but here it is on the second manual, not the primary one.

© 2000 AD James H. Cook