The organ builder König and the organ at Alden Biesen

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 93 | (1997) | Issue 5

Jozef Mertens & Michel Lemmens

The organ builder König and the organ at Alden Biesen

het ORGEL 93 (1997), nr. 10, 26-38 [summary]

Literature on the organ builders König is rare. The origins of Balthasar König (ca. 1685-1756/1757) from Ingolstadt, said to be the earliest ancestor of the family, are not yet certain. Ludwig König (1717-1789) was the most important organ builder of the family. He influenced the concept of the organs in the Rheinland (Germany) until the middle of the 19th century.

The famous König-organ at the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen (1776)

Foto Henk Erich

In 1797 the French government confiscated the clerical possessions in the Southern Netherlands. As a result, the König-organ at Alden Biesen, built in 1787-1788, was moved to the St.-Janskerk at Waalwijk (Holland) by the company Gebroeders Franssen (Horst). Johannes Vollebreght repaired and changed the organ in 1846. After that, Broekhuijzen wrote a description of the instrument. The combination of this description and some photographs of the organ from 1922, offer the opportunity to reconstruct the original König instrument: it was placed on the gallery rail, with an 8 Hoofdwerk (Great, 13 stops) and a 4 Onderpositief (Positive, 5 stops).

In 1876-1877 Pierre Schyven (from Brussels) renovated the organ. In 1923 the instrument was torn down along with the church. A new church was built. In it Bernard Pels & Zonen (from Alkmaar) built a electropneumatic organ with 16 stops. This organ contains 4 stops from the original König organ at Alden Biesen.