Gentofte/Jægersborg, Jægersborg Kirke

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Marcussen-Orgel in Jægersborg bei Kopenhagen
Orgel im Raum
Orgelbauer: Marcussen & Søn, Aabenraa (DK)
Baujahr: 1944
Geschichte der Orgel: 1982 Restaurierung durch die Erbauerfirma
Temperatur (Stimmung): leicht ungleichstufig
Windladen: Schleifladen
Spieltraktur: mechanisch
Registertraktur: mechanisch
Registeranzahl: 25
Manuale: 3, C–f3
Pedal: C–f1
Spielhilfen, Koppeln: Koppeln: I/II, III/II, II/P, I/P


I Rygpositiv II Hovedværk III Brystværk Pedal
Gedakt 8' [1]

Principal 4' [2]

Rørfløjte 4' [3]

Quintatön 2' [4]

Scharf 2f [4]

Krumhorn 8' [5]

Principal 8' [6]

Rørfløjte 8' [7]

Oktav 4' [8]

Gedaktfløjte 4' [9]

Quint 22/3' [4]

Oktav 2' [4]

Mixtur 4f [4]

Trompet 8' [10]

Gedakt 8'[11]

Spidsgedakt 4' [12]

Principal 2' [4]

Nasat 11/3' [13]

Cymbel 1f [4]

Ranket 16' [14]

Subbas 16' [15]

Oktav 8' [16]

Gedakt 8' [15]

Fagot 16' [14] Regal 4' [17]

(Firmenunterlagen Marcussen vor August 1944, vor Änderungen, n. Damlund)

  1. C–H Oregon Pine, c–f3 Eiche
  2. C–h1 Kupfer, Prospekt, Forts. 55% Zinn
  3. C–dis Oregon Pine, e–f3 35% Zinn
  4. 4,0 4,1 4,2 4,3 4,4 4,5 4,6 C–f3 55% Zinn
  5. Becher 55% Zinn
  6. C–h Kupfer, Prospekt, Forts. 55% Zinn
  7. C–g Kiefer, gis–f3 35% Zinn
  8. C–f Kupfer, fis– f3 55% Zinn
  9. C–A Holz, B–f3 35% Zinn
  10. horizontal, Becher Kupfer
  11. urspr. Quintatön 8' (C–H Holz, c–f3 55% Zinn), C–f3 Zinn
  12. C–f3 35% Zinn, C–g zylindrisch
  13. C–f3 35% Zinn
  14. 14,0 14,1 Becher Eiche
  15. 15,0 15,1 C–f3 Eiche
  16. C–f1 Kupfer, tlw. Prospekt
  17. Becher Metall


Anmerkungen: Die Gesamtkosten betrugen 39.147 DKK (incl. 6 % Verteuerung wegen einiger Änderungen (2 Register Brustwerk, Koppel BW/HW, Pedalumfangserweiterung, HW: Trompete 8' statt Ranket 16' u.a.)

Anmerkung: Trotz oder gerade wegen der hier veröffentlichten Beiträge sei ein Erwerb des Buches (208 Seiten, Bezugsquelle) nachdrücklich empfohlen.

Mads Damlund: Om levende blev hvert træ i skov – et portræt af Jægersborg Kirkes orgel. Prolog, Vorwort, Epilog u. einige der englischsprachigen Beiträge:


If all the trees in the wood could sing,
each leaf as a tongue resounding,
they could not outdo the Lord our King
his mercy all speech confounding.

N.F.S. Grundtvig: from 3rd verse of the hymn
We Welcome with Joy this Blessed Day

Not many organs have a motto. But the organ of Jægersborg Church has. The organ front is teeming with troll-like creatures, leaves and birds, and on the pipes weird, singing goldfaces have been painted. As if Nature had come alive to burst into a hymn to God.

Inside it the organ hides a secret. „These years are hard on Denmark“, the inscription reads. For the country was occupied when the organ was being built, and in the organ workshop in Aabenraa the organbuilders could hear English bombers on their way to Flensburg with their ominous cargo.

But above the entrance of the organbuilding, great letters read SOLI DEO GLORIA. Glory to God Alone. And so even the best cannot be good enough.

This is a portrait of an unusual instrument, and of those who built it, played it and sang with it.


One bright summer day I paid my first visit to Jægersborg Church and entered a gloomy, dark organ loft. Working here must be dreadful, I thought, but changed my mind when I began playing the organ. It possessed a strong personality, magically attracting the player, at the same time being somehow enigmatic.

Now, after more than 13 years as an organist of the church, and in connection with the 75 years' jubilee of the organ, the idea came to me to write a book, telling and documenting the story of this organ.

This story has three leading characters, visionary and strong-willed men – the organbuilders Poul-Gerhard Andersen and Sybrand Zachariassen, and Finn Viderø, the organist. Together they created the Jægersborg organ in years of great transformations within art, architecture, churchmusic, building and organplaying.

The story begins with the evolution after the First World War, leading to the Organ Reform Movement. Next comes the story of building the Jægersborg organ, unfolded in private letters of the organbuilders from 1942–1944. Two chapters at first deal with organs of great importance of shaping the Jægersborg organ, followed by a guided tour through all of the technical details of the organ. We follow the further development of the three key figures, other persons around the organ, and what later happened to the instrument. Historical recordings in Jægersborg have their own chapter, including especially Karl Richter's LP-editions along with instances of recent music for the organ.

Three guest-writers also have their own chapters. Svend Prip, former cathedral organist in Haderslev, writes about the influence of the Jægersborg organ on later organs, and Frans Brouwer, Dutch organ scholar, writes about the Jægersborg organ and the influence of Danish Organ Reform Movement abroad. Hanne Sander, the former vicar of Jægersborg, relates how theology and music in Jægersborg Church go together.


Industrialization during the late decades of the 19th century resulted in organs produced by a host of specialists with no one having the full survey. The symphony orchestra was the great example, and the organ workshops grew into factories, producing bigger and heavier instruments far from the idea that an organ is a unique work of art.

But a change arose after the First World War – The Organ Reform Movement, seeking to revive the true sound of organs from renaissance and baroque.

The organbuilding firms, Frobenius and Marcussen, are situated far from each other in Denmark, and each of them were influenced by different currents within the Organ Reform Movement: Frobenius in Copenhagen followed the Alsacian movement of Albert Schweitzer, and Marcussen in South Jutland was generally characterized by the Hamburg-Lübeck organ-meetings in 1929, of which Hans Henny Jahnn was one of the leaders.

In 1922 Sybrand Zachariassen, just 21 years old, became the leader of Marcussen & Son, being next generation of the family-owned firm in Aabenraa. This part of the country had after the First World War changed from German to Danish rule, and his firm worked hard to find its bearings toward the Danish market.
Poul-Gerhard Andersen, having for some years studied technology in Copenhagen and in his sparetime received classes in organ-playing, in 1926 became an apprentice at Marcussen & Son.

A circle of persons contributed to evolving the instruments of the Marcussen firm, among them the conductor and organist Mogens Wöldike, and later his student, the organist Finn Viderø. Having heard Schweitzer playing in Copenhagen, Viderø was influenced by Schweitzer's ideas of the neo-baroque style. Technically, Viderø was a competent organplayer and soon created an image of himself as a pronounced organsoloist, with a radical style.
1942 he was appointed organist at the new-built Jægersborg Church, which yet had only a harmonium. But negotiations about building an organ were near the first step.


The organ in Jægersborg Church was inspired by classical organbuilding, yet without being a real style-copy. The organbuilders during the war could not travel abroad to study historic instruments, and as only a few historic instruments in Denmark still exist, they had to rely on intuition. Because quite a long time passed by before work on the organ began, P.-G. Andersen and Finn Viderø changed a good many details on the way. Later both of them expressed that the Jægersborg organ was an amalgation of their ideas to a degree that now it was difficult to remember who had thought up what.
The slim organ house had a clear werk structure with Hauptwerk, Pedal, Rückpositiv and Brustwerk. Zachariassen later says that By such a natural structure of the façade, the structure of the organ werks will become visible, too, and those that see or hear the organ through that will achieve a living contact with the instrument. How meaningless is on the other hand an organ stage set.
P.-G. Andersen in 1956 compares façade ornaments with the jubilant coloraturas of Gregorian song as described by Augustin. The ornamentation of the Jægersborg organ was inspired by a verse from a hymn by Grundtvig, the famous Danish hymn-writer: We welcome with Joy this Blesséd Day. Perhaps it was also a hidden protest against the occupation during the war.
Copper pipes are known already from medieval manuscripts, and for instance the 220 12th century pipes in the Franciscan Museum, Jerusalem, are made of a copper-alloy. In recent times Christhard Mahrenholz and Hans Henny Jahnn have recommended copper as pipe material, and in a few instances it has been used for front pipes. But in Jægersborg P.-G. Andersen developed this praxis by having them decorated with goldleaf patterns, and this work was carried out by the painter Victor Steensgaard – two weeks before the inauguration.
The elegant console has been executed with great care. The keys of the manuals are made of ivory and ebony, and the stop knobs of oak, teak and ivory. As a special detail the doors of the Brustwerk can only be opened and closed by using ones hands, and so the worst of misuse – the crescendo-effect – is excluded (P.-G. Andersen). Viderø got this idea from the Stellwagen organ.
Slider chest and tracker action, an essential part of the aesthetics of the Jægersborg organ, was still relatively new. In his lecture from 1952, Zachariassen explains, that Everyone knows that the tone attack by this is much more noble and steady than by the pneumatic chest. Just as well-known is that the tones merge much better, when the pipes stand at ine channel and – if I may say so – breathe from a joint supply of air.
When building the organ, the specification of stops went through certain alterations.
Work on the organ in the concert hall of the Danish State Radio led to the decision of giving the Jægersborg organ a chamade trumpet, too. Originally Rankett 16' stood in the Hauptwerk, but when the horizontal trumpet was added, the Compenius-inspired Rankett was moved to the Brustwerk, at the same time adding Cymbel 1'. Because of acoustic problems, several stops of the Brustwerk had to be changed in order to make the werk sing with the proper delicate sharpness. The Pedal had a Regal 4' instead of Spidsfløjte 4', and only three weeks before the inauguration the shape of the resonators of Fagot 16' was decided.
You could want string stops and a tremolo in the organ, and a greater richness of flute stops than as much as four Gedakt-stops. But the idea of the organ first and foremost was to be a counterpart of the 19th century romantic instruments, and to create the strongest possible contrast between the four werks. Unfortunately there was no room, or money, for more Pedal stops, or for a Sesquialtera.
Scaling and voicing were, on Viderø's initiative, inspired by Spanish organbuilding and by the Stellwagen organ in Lübeck, but the organbuilders adapted the stops to the acoustics of the church room (viz, Jægersborg Church is not a Spanish cathedral). Viderø thought that the Stellwagen organ had an especially soft intonation, but probably this was also due to a romantic re-intonation, made before his visit in 1929. In Jægersborg the so-called „nicks“ (small vertical grooves at right angles to the flue) were used only sparsely, and voicing with open pipe toes had not yet come into use. These voicing devices later became a dogma that marked the Danish Organ Reform Movement, and resulted in organs that sometimes had so hard a sound that the audience, in the words of organ-consultant Rung-Keller, ought to wear sunglasses on their ears.
Besides, P.-G. Andersen pragmatically had subdued the organ house of the Brustwerk with celotex-plates, that later were removed, however.
Nowadays, when you hear the organ in Jægersborg Church, you will observe its bright and clear sound that after all is without aggressiveness. Even if it does not sound particularly strongly, the sound of chamber music on the other hand merges so well that the stops can be used in all combinations imaginable – the objective for any skilled intonator.
The Jægersborg organ became an instrument with a consistent structure and an elegant and colourful sound, influenced by Spanish and German baroque and spiced with the sound of the Compenius renaissance organ.
This instrument was a triumph for all those involved, and contributed to launching a quite new era of Danish organbuilding after the war.


After the war great interest in Danish organs arose, and Marcussen & Son received many orders from abroad. Organbuilders went on journeys studying among other organs the Schnitger instruments in the Netherlands, and this led to a change concerning the ideals of voicing. Sybrand Zachariassen travelled in many European countries with his lecture on organbuilding, in this way spreading knowledge of the name of Marcussen. At his death in 1960 he left a flourishing firm. Now his grandchild Claudia Zachariassen is head of the firm, being the seventh generation of the Marcussen-Zachariassen family.

In 1963 P.-G. Andersen became independent and built and designed a large number of organs. Before that, in 1956, his great work The Organ Book, Sound-Technique, Architecture and History had been published (Title of the English translation 1969: Organ Building and Design). Today it is still used as instruction in knowledge of the organ. In his book P.-G. Andersen mentions the Jægersborg organ as the first example of an instrument representing the Danish Organ Reform Movement.

Andersen's ideals of voicing gradually developed, among other things inspired by the mild Principal stops of Italian organbuilding. His attitude was to take from history everything worth using and not be afraid of combining this with modern technical solutions. The universal organ was the ideal, a synthesis of façade, structure and church room that could be used for almost the entire organ literature.
His influence, through his organs as well as his design of many organ façades, his articles and lectures, and through his education of colleagues, has left its mark to this very day.

Finn Viderø had a complex personality that was reflected in many anecdotes, but also caused conflict. When he came to Trinitatis Church after Jægersborg and had a new instrument built, he thought that the organ did not live up to his expectations, and this led to a rupture between him and Marcussen & Son.
He was a much sought-after organ teacher, attaching importance to a good and sure technique. At the University he lectured on organ- and harpsichord- music, had a lot of international students and also had classes at The Academy of Music, Copenhagen. He utilized a distinct legato-playing, as it appears in his much used Organ School, something that later would make his playing anachronistic. His extensive knowledge and sarcastic tone in debates and articles, made him feared in the organist-milieu to a degree that only a few dared discussing with him in public.

His years in Jægersborg, when he was taking part in building the organ, perhaps were one of the most harmonious periods in his working life.

The only larger change of the Jægersborg organ came in 1982. Charley Olsen, organ-consultant of Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs, declared that the organ had been immensely much used. Especially the mechanism was worn, and a renovation was needed. Besides, more experience of mechanical organs and slider-chests had now been obtained, as well as solving problems with variations of temperature in heated Church rooms. The objective was a future-proofing of the organ with the new-found methods.
The renovation was entirely in keeping with P.-G. Andersen's spirit. The sounding material, the pipes, remained untouched as far as possible. But technical improvements were carried out, such as self-regulating mechanism, aluminium roller-frames, slides of etronite, and in some places a simplified mechanism.

Today, using original materials will no doubt be preferred and technical alterations avoided. Nevertheless, the result is that a minimum of repairs on the organ has been carried out since 1982.
A mild after-intonation of the organ was carried out. Finn Viderø claimed that the entire organ earlier had been reintonated according to the ideal of open pipe feet, and that the latest reintonation had not redeemed this. Unfortunately, this assumption probably was due to Viderø's hearing that over time had become rather bad.

Cleaning the organ was necessary, too, as a fire broke out during the renovation! An unlucky organbuilder wanted to make some coffee and happened to switch on a toaster that started the fire. Fortunately the organ, like its model, the Compenius organ, escaped being consumed by the fire. Another accident happened a few years ago, when one of the organ's ornaments fell down, taking a pipe with it. Luckily the damage could be repaired.

Recently the organ has got company in the shape of a choir organ, built 2004 by the firm P.-G. Andersen & Bruhn, and as late as 2014 a harpsichord came, built by Matthias Kramer, Hamburg.

On the organ loft there is a memorial tablet in honour of Peter Wessel Fyhn, former choir singer and member of the resistance movement. He was executed by the occupation power one month before the liberation of Denmark in 1945.


Through the years I have heard many comments on Karl Richter's Bach-recordings in Jægersborg, but you can hardly overestimate their importance in a time where recording an LP was something exclusive, and recordings with organ music were few.
Richter recorded four LP's in 1964, 67, 67 and 69, all of them with music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Later it turned out that he had a connection to the Danish singer Hanne Maria Fischer, who had studied in Munich 1963–64 and after that had returned to Copenhagen. Fischer had been a church singer in Jægersborg, and she showed the church and the organ to Richter, which led to the four recordings.
The method of recording included a vast number of microphones and record-equipment that totally filled up the porch. The producer continually interrupted Richter, and even the smallest sequences were cut and stuck together. Afterwards P.-G. Andersen could not recognize his own organ in the recordings.
In 1968 Richter gave just one single concert in the Cathedral of Copenhagen, and hastily left the organ without bowing. Next morning the organist found the blower still running. But some years later music critic Hansgeorg Lenz is annoyed that music life of Copenhagen obviously has lost contact to Richter.
The American Joseph Brogan published several LP's with Finn Viderø and Mogens Wöldike on his brand The Gramophone Shop. Half of Viderø's recordings took place at the Jægersborg organ and the other half at the Compenius organ. Organ music by Scheidt, Praetorius, Scheidemann, Froberger, Tunder and Weckmann was here recorded for the first time ever. Besides, Viderø recorded an LP in Jægersborg with music by Walther and Böhm.
Henrik Glahn, the next organist in Jægersborg, in 1949 recorded Buxtehude's Prelude and Fugue in D major for His Master's Voice, but by the way was reticent with the number of concerts.
Leif Thybo, Danish organist and composer, took an interest in the possibilities of the organs of the Organ Reform Movement, and throughout a year worked out an organ transcription of Stravinskij's chamber concert Dumbarton Oaks from 1937, working partly in Jægersborg Church. This work was not approved by Stravinskij, who did not like organs, and it had only a few performances. But now Schott the publishers prepare a publication to make this work available to everyone.
In 1976 vicars and organist ordered a Christmas Liturgy from the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. On Christmas Eve the work was performed at the services, and was accepted with reservations by the congregation. But at the revival next year uproar broke out, and the vicar and the organist had to flee through either end of the church. Later the Liturgy has been performed at church concerts and has been received favourably.
In connection with the 75 years' jubilee of the church, Peter Navarro-Alonso Kastensson composed a suite, The Jægersborg Organ Book, especially dedicated to the organ. This work has greetings to among others György Ligeti's music, a Swedish lullaby, Pink Floyd and a movement composed over the tune of We Welcome with Joy – the motto of the organ. So it appears that the old organ can still surprise and inspire composers and audience as well – and without the organist needing to flee from an angry congregation with torches and hay forks!


Much has happened since the Jægersborg organ had its heyday.
Today you can build uncompromising organs that in historic ways of building revive baroque organbuilding far more authentically. But imitation of some other instrument or era never was the ambition with the Jægersborg organ. On the contrary, the objective was to create a beautiful work of art. And so it was done.
Well – the instrument has some limitations, and you could easily imagine converting and changing this detail or another, and then you would get – something eise. As the organ now stands, every pipe has its proper place in the entirety. So you must take the organ as it is, and adapt yourself to it.
Today no one would think of building a Jægersborg organ 2.0. After all, that would be contrary to the spirit of the entire instrument, and yet it might inspire to something quite new and different? Knowing your roots is important when you will renew yourself, and this book, I hope, can be a contribution to that aim.
The founders of Jægersborg Church would shake their heads, if they could see what is going on today: baby hymn singing, mini candidates for confirmation, literature circles, lectures, children's choir and so on.
But still a grain of their spirit is alive – in their pride of the church life that has been created to embrace the local tradition of this place and at the same time make it a living and contemporary church.
This is a real experience every Sunday – when music pours out from pipes that were made 75 years ago by proud, enthusiastic men building an instrument for present and coming generations.

If all the trees in the wood could sing,
each leaf as a tongue resounding,
they could not outdo the Lord our King
his mercy all speech confounding.
Literatur: Mads Damlund: Om levende blev hvert træ i skov – et portræt af Jægersborg Kirkes orgel. (dänisch, englisches Vorwort u. einige zusammenfassende Beiträge (hier tlw. veröffentlicht))
Beiträge von Mads Damlund, Frans Brouwer, Svend Prip und Hanne Sander; mit Audio-CD (s.o.). Slotsforlaget, Store Heddinge 2019, ISBN 978-87-970044-1-8, Inhaltsverzeichnis (PDF), 207 Seiten, erhältlich auch über die Kirchengemeinde

Frans Brouwer: A rare example of historicism from the early Organ Reform. In: The Organ Yearbook 48 (2019), hgg. von Paul Peeters. Laaber-Verlag, Lilienthal 2019, ISBN 978-3-89007-927-1


Discographie: s. Website der Kirchengemeinde



Inhalt der CD des Buches von M. Damlund (s.o.; Registrierungen sind mitgeteilt):
Mads Damlund:
J.S. Bach (BWV 544/1), S. Scheidt (Warum betrübst du dich), J. Brahms (O Welt, ich muss dich lassen), Peter Navarro-Alonso Kastensson (aus „Jaegersborg Orgelbog“ (2017)), Finn Viderø (2 Orgelchorale aus „Min arbejdsbog ved Jaegersborg Kirke“: Nu takker alle Gud, Denne er dagen, som Herren har gjort; Passacaglia)

Chor und Orgel (Janne Korsager Solvang og Synnöve Ekström (Sopran), Mette Bjærang Petersen (Alt), Love Persson og Kristoffer Emil Appel (Tenor), Kasper Borchersen (Bass), Ruben Munk (Orgel), Mads Damlund (Dirigent):
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen („LYS“)

Historische Aufnahmen:
Karl Richter: J.S. Bach (BWV 565)
Jørgen Ernst Hansen: J.P. Sweelinck (Echofantasie)
Henrik Glahn: D. Buxtehude (BuxWV 139)
Finn Viderø: J.G. Walther (Choralpartita „Jesu, meine Freude“)

Organ improvisations – Gerben Mourik at the organs in Jægersborg & Stege, Denmark. Daraus: CD 1: Advent in Jægersborg Church. Helikon HCD 1095-96, 2019, Doppel-CD; Rezension auf (maschinenübersetzt)

Weblinks: Orgelvorstellung auf der Website der Kirchengemeinde, YouTube-Kanal

Wikipedia (da), maschinenübersetzt

Eintrag beim Dansk Organist og Kantor Samfund

Eintrag auf

Kirchengeschichte in der Festschrift anlässlich des 75jährigen Kirchenjubiläums 2016: Online (PDF; 29 MB)

Kirchenbeschreibung auf

Zeitungsartikel zur Buchveröffentlichung: „I Jægersborg står der et orgel“ (maschinenübersetzt) – Orglet med den stærke personlighed (maschinenübersetzt)

Buchrezension in Organists' Review (englisch)


Uropførelse af Jægersborg Orgelbog – Mads Damlund:

Peter Navarro-Alonso: Sång – Mads Damlund:

D. Buxtehude: Præludium E-dur (BuxWV 141) – Inge Bønnerup:

D. Buxtehude: Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl (BuxWV187) – Inge Bønnerup:

J.S. Bach: Triosonate Nr. 2 c-Moll BWV 526 - 1965 Recording, DG – Karl Richter:

Karl Richter - Johann Sebastian Bach Orgelwerke Album - Side 1 (Playlist 2 LP):

Karl Richter - Johann Sebastian Bach Orgelwerke Album - Side 4:

Matthias Weckmann Toccata in E Minor (Finn Videro, c. 1949):

Buxtehude Toccata in F Major (Finn Videro, c. 1949):