Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church

Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church

This is maybe one of the most important organs in the world. Finished by A.G.Casparini in 1776 (McCREA & GRAHN 1995: 25-27), it has been remarkly well preserved. The organ has 31 stops, 2 manuals and free pedals. It offers an unique glimpse in the totally lost world of the Königsberg - East Prussian organ culture of the 18th century.

This important instrument will be or has been restored to a state nearing the original situation. The state of Lithuania, in the person of the Minister of Culture, will support this undertaking. In the US, a 1:1 reconstruction of this organ has been completed, providing insight in how the Vilnius-instrument could be sounding after being restored to its original state.

Eastman School, Rochester, Vilnius Copy

Fortunately, the importance of this instrument is internationally recognized nowadays. A conference about the 1776 Adam Gottlob Casparini Organ in the Holy Ghost Church was organised in Vilnius May 14-16, 2004. As a direct result of the conference, several papers were published among which: MELNIKAS 2005 and POVILIONIS 2005. The last author provides a wealth of references to sources where A. G. Casparini-organs are mentioned.

A CD recording of this important organ should henceforth be made and distributed, to be available to organ lovers in the whole world.

Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church; Vox Campanorem (Bells) behind King David in the lower part of the middle tower

In the lower part of the middle tower, the carillion (bells) are put behind the back of King David. The stop is named: "Vox Campanorum".

Information about this instrument is scarce. Websites are mainly in Luthuanian. A site with large-scaled photographs of the Casparini organ is the source of the (reduced) photographs on this page.

This instrument was described by McCREA & GRAHN (1995: 25-27) in detail for the first time in the modern Western literature. The stop list follows and is cited after McCREA & GRAHN (1995: 26). A stop list very much like this one is given by GOLOS (1967: 1090) cited after GALICZ (1861) but is missing Spil Flet 8, Principal 4 and Octava 2 from the second manual.

Clavitatura Prima Clavitatura Secunda Pedal
Bourdon 16 Principal Amalel 8 Principal Bass 16
Principal 8 Flaut Major 8 Violon Bass 16
Quintathon 8 Jula 8 Full Bass 12
Hol Flaut 8 Spil Flet 8 Octava Bass 8
Octava Principal 4 Unda Maris 8 Flaut &Qvint Bass 8
Flaut Travers 4 Principal 4 Super Octava Bass 4
Super Octava 2 Flaut Minor 4 Posaun Bass 16
Qvinta 3 Octava 2 Trompet Bass 8
Tertia 1 3/5 Wald Flöt 2
Flasch Flöt 2 Mixtura IV
Mixtura V Vox Humana 8
Trompet 8 Vox Campanorum

A view into the interior of the organ provides an insight in the state of conservation. Although some pipes are seemingly not in their place, the overall picture is surprisingly good. If most of these pipes are from Casparini (as seems to be the case) then this organ is a true culture Treasure.

Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church; pipework inside the organ

Like Andreas Hildebrandt in Danzig (St. Elisabeth and St. Barbara), A. G. Casparini also used metal drawers for the stop-pullers. In the literature (WILLIAMS 1966), this is known as a typical Polish/Lithuanian characteristic. I do not know if this habit also derived from Italy, to which organ-building Poland had connections with and was influenced by long before the time Eugenio Casparini returned to Görlitz.

Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church; Stop-pullers from metal: a typical Polish/Lithuanian feature

The angel on the left "spitz" tower.

Vilnius, Dominikaner (Holy Ghost) church; angel-statue on the left "spitz" tower