Organ Tours of Brasil


The Mariana Arp Schnitger:

This article is taken from The Organ Yearbook of 1983.



Article out the Organ Yearbook 1983 by L.A. Esteves Pereira Portugal 

Since the publication of my article on the organ of Faro, I kept an interest in this organ and the two others said to have been built by J.H. Hulenkampf. Over the past two years, two Brazilian scholars joint me working on related problems, researching in archives and comparing the Faro organ with others.In Lisbon in 1752, Father José de Oliveira bought an organ from the builder Joâo da Cunha at a cost of 1,200,006 reis; the receipt is dated 26.06.1752 (Arquivo Historica Ultramarino). The organ was dismantled, packed and shipped to Brazil, the whole (including the case) in eighteen boxes, complete with instructions for reassembly, since the builder seems not to have taken the trip. Arriving at an unnamed Brazilian port, it was taken by road (together with a tower clock, cases of coins, papers, books) to Ouro Preto (present-day State of Minas Gerais) and from there to Mariana, a nearby town and capital of the diocese. In the cathedral the organ was re-erected and is still there today. It was said that the organ was a gift of King John V to the bishop but it cannot be so, since John V was already dead when the organ was bought; perhaps it was a gift of the next king, Joseph I (1714-1777). Either way, the organ was delivered to Mariana at a cost of 1,995,196 reis. The cost of carriage being higher than the cost of the organ itself. According to an inscription inside the organ, it was inaugurated in 1753. In 1974 the Instituto Estadual do Patrimonio Historico e Artistico de Minas Gerais commissioned a local technician, Jose Carlos Rigatto, to investigate the organ and report on its condition and possibilities of restoration. According to the report of 24.07.1974, the instrument was in a very- poor state and needed a complete restoration. At that time, the stoplist was as follows:

Upper manual (Positive) 
lh Flautado 8, Realeo em 5a, Voz. angelica 4, Estrepitoso (reed?) 8; unusable
rh Principal 8, Forte, Flautino 4, Forte em 5a e 8a, Tarrecas (reed?) 16; unusable

Lower manual (Great) 
Lh Cromorne 8 bass, Cheio em 3a e 5a bass, Flautim treble, Voz celeste 4, Dulciana 8 bass
rhCromorne 8 treble, Forte em 3a e 5a treble, Forte em 5a, Forte treble, Dulciana 8 treble 

(C/F-c3 45 notes)

The organ in Mariana before restorationThis specification, certainly not the original, shows the work of several builders. The organ was found to be a two-department instrument, its case showing a different architecture from Portuguese organs of the time though much like Faro, which too has Great and Brustpositif. By the end of the 1970's it was decided by the Brazilian authorities to commission the restoration of the organ, which was sent to the firm of Beckerath (Hamburg) during 1978, in the absence of competent builders in Brazil.

During the restoration work, Father Marcello Ferreiro a native of Minas Gerais, spent six months in the Beckerath workshop studying the Mariana organ which until then had been assumed to be of German manufacture. Markings on the pipes and even the original stoplist would be of German origin, it was thought. But after reading the report of the Faro organ, Father Marcello noted the resemblance's between the two organs and after discussion and examination we agreed on the following hypotheses:

-The organs of Faro and Mariana were made by the same builder

-Probably Joâo da Cunha did not alter the organ, whose chests were already divided into treble and bass.

-The Faro organ was profoundly altered by the Italian builder Caetano Oldovini in 1767, who added horizontal reeds and rebuilt the great chest, as well as adding other stops.

-From documentation, we assumed the Faro instrument was built or installed by Johannes Heinrich Hullenkampf (Joâo Henriques Hulemcampo), a Hamburger and pupil of Schnitger. The contract for building or installing (it is not yet clear which) was made in 1715 or 1716. Hulemcampo received contracts for organs in the Franciscan monastery of Lisbon (1711), Faro Cathedral (1715) and Carmel monastery, Lisbon (1722). Of these, the first and third seem to have been destroyed by the Lisbon earthquake of 01.12.1755.

-Gustav Fock (in a letter of 28.10.1964) referred us to the Groningen report of Samuel Meijer (1853) who noted that in 1701 Schnitger made two organs, each of 12 stops, 2 manuals and a single bellow and sent both to Portugal. Faro's stops can be reduced to about 15 before Oldovini's additions. Due to its recent restoration, the original Faro stoplist is very uncertain.

-The Mariana organ was probably the same size as Faro

The two supposed stoplists cab be compared as follows:
O: Oldovini, H Hulemcampo, S: Schnitger, lh: Left Handm rh: Right Hand

Mariana Faro
Great Great
Portugese (J.C. Rigatto 1974 Portugese (Joao da Cunha (1752 Portugese (from the instrument) English
    Contrabaixo 24 (O) Stopped diapason 16'

Flautado 12 tap (S) Flautado 24 (O) Stpped diapason 8'
Flautado 8' Flautado 12 ab(S) Flautado 12 (H) Open diapason 8'
    Voz humana (O) Vox celeste 8'
Flautibo Faluta em oitava (S) Bordao (H) Bourdon 4'
Voz angelica 4' Oitava real (S) Oitavo real (H) Ocatave 2'
Realejo em quinta Dozena (S) Quinta real (H) Twelfth
  Quinzena (S) Quintadecima (H) Fifteenth
Forte em quinta Cheio a 3 (15,19,22) (S) Cheio 4 filas (O) Mixture IV
Forte Cheio a 2(12,15) (S) Cheio 2 filas lh (H) Mixture II bass
    Corneta 5 filas rh (O) Cornet V treble
Tarrecas (?) Trombeta real (S) Trombeta real (H) Trumpet 8'

Voz humana belica lh (S) Trombeta de marcha lh (O) Trumpet 8'bass
  Voz humana belica rh (S) Clarim rh (O) Clairon 8' treble



Cromorne 8' Flautado 12 tap (S) Flautado 12 (H) Stopped diapason 8'
Voz celeste 4' Flautado 6 tap (S) Flautado 6 (H) Stopped diapason 4'
Flautino Flautim rh (S) Flautilha rh (H) Flute 2' treble
? Quinzena (S) Decimaquinte (H) Fifteenth
Forte em quinta Dezanovena (S) Decimanona (H) Nineteenth
Forte nos agudos Vintdozena (S) Vigesima segunda (H) Twentysecond
Cheio em 3a e 5a Cheio a 2 (12,17) (S) Cornetilha 2/3 (H,O) Sesquialtera II-III
Dulcisona Dulcaina Cheio 2/3 (O) Mixtura II-III

The organ in Faro before restorationFrom such a comparison one can make further conjectures

In the Faro instrument, Olovini retained the essentials of the Hulemcampo organ although he made a new chest for the great, modifying some stops and adding others.

The Contrabaixo added (8 stopped wooden pipes) for the lowest octave.

The flautado 24 (21 wooden pipes) replaced the stopped flautado de 12 of Hulemcampo.

The open flautado was retained because they gave the case- pipes (43 pipes, three towers of 7 pipes, two flats of 11 each; two must be dummies, because there are four more pipes, made of wood inside); the Voz humana (sharp Diapason drawn with the previous stop) is Oldovini's Italian celeste copied by Portugese builders in the later eighteenth century; the Bordao is actually the octave of the Stopped Diapason 8' discarded by Oldovini: there follow three original Hulemcampo chorus stops; the Cheio 4 filas replaces Hulemcampo's Mixture of 15.19.22, being higher-pitched in the Italian fashion; the Cheio 2 gilas is the original Rauschpfeife (?) of Hulemcampo, used only in the bass, the treble replaced by Oldovini's Corneta; perhaps the half slides of the Clarim and Trombeta replace another reed by Hulemcampo (Voz Humana 8') - the two new half-slides were conveyed to the front for the horizontal Trombeta, the dummies above the two flats are original; and in the Positive, Oldovini kept all the ranks and chest, modifying only the 'Sesquialtera' and replacing the Dulcaina by a Mixtura.

In the Mariana organ, we can think that the original chest and pipes were not changed by Joao da Cunha, and after a competent restoration it could return to a condition close to the original.

The contract signed by Hullenkampf and the Prior of the Monastery of St. Francis, Lisbon, bears the date 20.8.1711. It was stated that the organ was to be built with more refinements and stops than the instrument in the Church of the Misericordia. In the Mariana organ is the coat-of-arms of the Franciscan order, held by the top angel, and we can assume that the St. Francis organ and the Mariana are one and the same. Also, the arrangement of the second manual is more in the Portuguese manner, i.e. an echo organ at floor level though without the brilliance of high-pitched Mixtures and strident reeds. We know that two organs by Schnitger were supposed to have been exported to Portugal. We believe that the drawings for the cases came with the instruments but were actually built locally. Portugal had and still has very fine craftsmen in the art of wood-carving, gilding and painting; further investigation of the materials would help to clarify the matter, for if the timber is oak (so-called northern oak), the cases may have been made in Germany, and if it is chestnut, the cases were probably made in Portugal. It is possible that the two instruments (ordered by the King John V) were gifts to the Franciscan monastery and to Faro Cathedral, hence there being no mention of expenses in the cathedral books. And perhaps the Franciscans were disappointed with the organ received from Germany and ordered a new one from Hulemcampo, followed ten years later by he monk of the Carmel; the Franciscans can then be supposed to have sold the first organ to da Cunha, who shipped it to Brazil. In such a case, it is also possible that both the Faro and Mariana organs were originally made by Schnitger who sent them to Portugal.

We wish to thank Dr. Ivo Porto de Meneses (Federal University of S. Paulo) and Father Manello Martiniano Ferreira OSF for the information, which made these notes possible.


Photo to the left from:  

Arp Schnitger (1648-1719), a renowned organ builder from Hamburg, was commissioned in 1701 to build two organs, both of which were eventually sent to Portugal. One of them is still located at the Saint Mary Cathedral in the city of Faro. the other one was sent to Brazil, following a decision on the part of the Ultramarine Council with the provision of embellishing and supporting Brazil's first diocese, established at the Province of Minas do Ouro. This was the first sign that the Portuguese Court and Church recognized the importance of the emerging society in Brazil.

The Arp Schnitger organ is the product of the long process by which the mechanics of air production in organ building was perfected throughout history. ln fact, an organ can be compared to a group of flutes blown by a gigantic mechanical lung. The instrument at Mariana contains 964 pipes, activated through the keyboard and registral shifts. The embellishments are of Portuguese origin and represent Chinese motives "chinoiseries" influenced by the culture of Macau, which was a Portuguese colony at the time.

The blending of the Portuguese and Germanic traditions in this instrument gives it a somewhat atypical character. Schnitger, who was a reformed Protestant, nevertheless built the organ with views to the Catholic tradition in Portugal and the demands of its musicians. For example, when the organ was brought to Hamburg in 1977 to be restored, it was discovered that an internal structure to accomodate the pedals had been installed, but no pedals were added because, at that time, the Portuguese did not use them in their music. The pedals were then added, 276 years after the original construction.

Schnitger, who was to organ building what Stradivarius was to violin making, was responsible for the building and restoration of 169 organs, of which 60 still survive in different places around the world, and in varying degrees of preservation. The organ at Mariana retains 65% of its original material, of which the pipes constitute one of the most striking examples of the craftsmanship of that time. Installed in 1753 at the Cathedral of Mariana and maintained by the local community even during long periods of inactivity, the Arp Schnitger organ, built probably in 1701, has been recognized since the 1970's as a truly unique and remarkable instrument. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Diocese of Mariana, the Bishop D. Oscar de Oliveira, Dr. Francisco Afonso Noronha, then president of the CEMIG, and a pool of private companies that assisted Externa da Catedral" with financial support, the organ was restored and brought to life in 1984, after 50 years of silence. Since then, the instrument has been a constant presence in the liturgical and artistic life of the community, and has often been featured in a great variety of projects.

Immediately after its restoration, carried out by the Von Beckerath firm of Hamburg, Germany, with the assistance of a team of conservators from the CECOR - Federal University of Minas Gerais, the organ became the object of intense interest on the part of the local and international communities, prompting speculation about its building and provenance. In 1986, it was confirmed that the instrument was a product of the North Germany school of organ building, and more specifically that it was built by Arp Schnitger. This discovery led to a reassessment of its sound characteristics, in an attempt to arrive at a correct tuning and restore the organ as closely as possible to its original condition. This enterprise had significant implications for the musical culture of Brazil, because the majority of the organs scattered throughout the country are sorely neglected. This 300-year old instrument, therefore, has become both a historical testimony and an inspiration to musicians and the public.

Now, fourteen years later, we have once again the opportunity to reevaluate some of its characteristics, since almost all Arp Schnitger organs found throughout the world, as well as other instruments from the North German school, have been completely restored. This has created a valuable source of technical information available to the scholar, and has helped launch the current project under the auspices of PETROBRAS. Begun in July 1997, on the occasion of the visit to Mariana of the Dutch organ builder Bernhard Edskes, the present phase of the research aims at recreating the history of the instrument and addressing the following features: reconstitution of the system of air production through human action, without discarding the electric motor; restoration of Schnitger's original manuals, which had been stored in the galleries behind the organ; restoration of the pipes to their original height and tuning and replacement of the later pipes with copies made after Schnitger's originals. This work is expected to be completed in 2001, during which period the organ will continue to be in use.

The identification of another organ probably built by Schnitger, in Moreira near the City of Porto, Portugal, suggests that this instrument and the similar one in Mariana (both have 12 registers distributed in two manuals) correspond to the two organs built by Schnitger in 1701 and sent to Portugal. The dating and physical characteristics of the Portuguese organ have, therefore, important implications for the Mariana instrument.
Having the opportunity of using such a fine instrument has been a great privilege of Brazilian musicians. This eclectic instrument, which can be used for the performance of a significant portion of the international organ repertoire, carries the imprint of three countries and cultures: built in Germany, it remained for a long period somewhere in Portugal before being moved to Mariana in 1753, where it fulfilled important liturgical functions during a period when sacred musical composition flourished in that city. The pluralistic nature of this instrument, and the new phase of its restoration process, inspired us to register its rich sound in a total of four CD's covering a wide range of works. Bearing in mind that the restoration process would significantly affect the sound profile of the instrument, we aimed at the highest possible technical quality of the recording, in order to capture all its nuances. For that, we enlisted the services of Jean Claude Gabarel, a renowned Swiss technician with a vast experience in capturing and editing the special sound produced by historic organs, and who is also a very close friend of mine. Naturally, the idea of moving a complete recording studio from Neuchatel to Mariana was a very costly endeavor. Two of my colleagues, Julia Brown from Campinas, and Cristina Banegas from Montevideo, joined me in this recording project, each contributing a CD, and together with Paulus we managed to bring the technician and his studio to Brazil.

Thus, during the early hours of some days in March, 1998, we completed the recordings that are now before the public: two featuring Elisa Freixo ("Historic Organs of Brazil, vol. II", devoted to Germany and southern Italy, and "Mariana and Faro: Twin organs", featuring works from North Germany and the Iberian Peninsula); one featuring Julia Brown ("Christmas Concert", devoted to Christmas music from the 17th to the 19th centuries); and one featuring Cristina Banegas ("Latino-america—18th century", with works produced in the continent). We hope that the recording of such a diverse repertoire will foster a still greater interest in this instrument, and awaken the public for the need to preserve important historic instruments such as this.

Principal 8'
Gedackt 8'
Octave 4'
Flöte 4'
Quinte 2 2/3'
Superoctave 2'
Rauschpfeife II
Mixtur IV
Trompete 8'
Vox Humana 8'

Gedackt 8'
Holpijp 4'
Octave 2'
Spitzflöte 2'
Quinte 1 1/3'
Sifflet 1'
Sesquialter II
Dulzian 8'



In 1954, during the commemoration of the 4th centenary of the City of São Paulo, the Monastery of São Bento inaugurated its magnificent organ, built in Germany by Walcker. Considered a great instrument, it has 78 stops, four manuals and pedal board with 32 keys and approximately 7.000 pipes. In 1997, the organ was provided with a new console built by Laukhuff.

The present disposition is as follows:

I MANUAL(61 notes, C-c'''')     III MANUAL(61 notes, C-c'''')           PEDAL(32 notes, C-g')

Praestant 16'                   Lieblich Gedackt 16                     Untersatz 32'
Gedackt 16'                     Hornprinzipal 8'                        Prinzipalbass 16'
Prinzipal 8'                    Rohrflöte 8'                            Flötenbass 16'
Weitprinzipal 8'                Quintatön 8'                            Violonbass 16'
Holzflöte 8'                    Aeoline 8'                              Subbass 16'
Gedackt 8'                      Vox celeste 8'                          Quintbass 10 2/3'
Salicional 8'                   Fugara 4'                               Gedackt 16'
Oktave 4'                       Gemshorn 4'                             Quintatön 16'
Rohrgedackt 4'                  Stillgedackt 4'                         Lieblich Gedackt 8'
Quinte 2 2/3'                   Flageolett 2'                           Oktavbass 8'
Superoktav 2'                   Spizquinte 1 1/3'                       Flötenbass 8'
Rohrflöte 2'                    Scharf 4 fach                           Gedecktbass 8'
Cornett 3-5 fach                Oboe 8'                                 Choralbass 4'
Grossmixtur 5-6 fach            Vox humana 8'                           Gedecktpommer 4'
Kleinmixtur 4 fach              Rohrschalmey 4'                         Nachthorn 2'
Trompete 8'                     Tremolo                                 Posaune 16'
Trichterregal 4'                                                        Trompetenbass 8'
                                                                        Tromba 8'
                                                                        Rauschbass 4 fach
                                                                        Clairon 4'

II MANUAL(61 notes, C-c'''')    IV MANUAL(61 notes, C-c'''')            ACCESORIES

Quintatön 16'                   Spitzflöte 8'			
Geigenprinzipal 8'              Lieblich Gedackt 8'
Gemshorn 8'                     Flûte douce 8'                          II/I
Holflöte 8'                     Unda Maris 8'                           III/I
Viola di Gamba 8'               Praestant 4'                            IV/I
Prinzipal 4'                    Querflöte 4'                            III/II
Viola d'amore 4'                Gedacktpommer 4'                        IV/II
Blockflöte 4'                   Gemsquinte 2 2/3'                       IV/III
Nasat 2 2/3'                    Sesquialtera 2 fach                     SUB II/I
Oktave 2'                       Waldflöte 2'                            SUB III/I
Terz 1 3/5'                     Glöckleinton 2'1'                       SUPER II/I
Echomixtur 4 fach               Sifflöte 1'                             SUPER III/I
Dulcian 16'                     Cymbel 2-3 fach 1/2'                    I/PED
Tuba Mirabilis 8'               Krummhorn 8'                            II/PED
Clairon 4'                      Tremolo                                 III/PED

KERR, Dorotea M. "Possíveis causas do declínio do órgão no Brasil/Catálogo dos Órgãos no Brasil" (Master's Degree dissertation in Music), Rio de Janeiro, E.M./UFRJ, 1985, 2 volumes.


This organ was bought in 1786 in the city of Porto, Portugal under the reign of D. Maria I.  It was despatched to Brasil in the 1788. The origin of the instrument is probably from German manufacture. Its displayed registration is characteristic from the organs built in the southern part of Germany during the 18th century.

The instrument presents a single manual with four octaves (without pedalboard) and fifteen divided stops: seven for the left side and eight for the right side of the keyboard.

The case was designed by Salvador de Oliveira and carved by Antonio Rodrigues Penteado and Antonio da Costa Santeiro. In 1798, Manuel Victor de Jesus trimmed the majestic frame.

The half stops are divided into:

Left side:			Right side: 

Principal 8'			Principal 8'
Octave 4'			Octave 4'
Quinta 2 2/3'			Flöte 8'
Octave 2'			Octave 2'
Quinta 1 1/3'			Gedakt 4'
Mixtur 4f.			Waldflöte 4'
Cymbal 3f.			Mixtur 4f.	
				Cymbal 3f.
BROWN, Julia. "The Organ in Brazil: A cultural and musical perspective" (Ph.D. Thesis in Music), Evanston: Northwestern University, 1993.
Information also from Calimerio Soares and Ton van Eck  

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