For 150 years during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the organ builders of the city of Hamburg created the most influential organs of their time. These builders were highly regarded, and their reputations and instruments traveled across Europe and beyond. Three centuries later, this tradition still asserts its importance-not only by virtue of the fact that it encompasses the appropriate instruments for Buxtehude and other North German composers, but also by having provided the single largest inspiration to organ builders around the world in the second half of the twentieth century.
In this seminal essay, the respected historian Gustav Fock carefully and concisely describes the work of Schnitger's predecessors—Niehoff, the Scherers, Gottfried Fritzsche, Friedrich Stellwagen, and many others-and offers information ranging from biographical details and original contracts to analysis of construction techniques and tonal design.
Originally published in 1939, Hamburg's Role has never been replaced by a work in any language in the thoroughness and insight with which it treats its subject. Now available in a clear and highly readable translation, the study is updated not only by Fock's later writings, but also by recent research in the field. This is a valuable book even for those well-acquainted with the German original.