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Jan Śliwiński: a Polish apprentice to Cavaille-Coll

Authors:
  • University of Social Sciences

Abstract

The importance of the person and work of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899) for the organ world is well known and undeniable. His Parisian company hosted large number of apprentices from all over Europe who wanted to learn the secrets of the profession from the best here[1]. In the last issue, I described one person who had been working at Cavaillé-Coll company and then started his own professional activity in Prague – Emanuel Štěpán Petr (1853-1930)[2]. In this article, I will follow the same path of Cavaillé-Coll’s pupils but focusing on the Polish lands. This time, it will be a story of Jan Śliwiński (1844-1903), one of the finest Polish organ builders of the 19th century being active in lands of Galicia. On the base of – very well described in the literature – Romantic tendencies in organ building in Western Europe[3], I described lately the different situation regarding the subject of our interest in Eastern Europe. All crucial factors referring to the Czech lands are similar to the Polish lands. Perhaps, we can even find the Polish situation more complicated due to the fact that many nationalities (Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish) were combined there creating a vibrant mix of cultures. The political history of the described geographical area was complicated and that’s why we cannot use the name Poland here. We consider the lands of Galicia which up to the end of the 18th century were incorporated into the Polish Kingdom, for the next 123 years were divided between Russia and Austria-Hungary, after World War 2 were incorporated – as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic – into the Soviet Union, and after 1991 has been finally located in borders of independent Ukraine. It should also be noted that in the 19th century no organs significant in comparison to the achievements of Western Europe were built in Galicia. The reasons for this situation were following: 1) Political issues in the form of frequent changes of state borders, which resulted in administrative and ownership consequences; 2) Property issues in the form of limited resources of the population, which were exploited by the partitioning powers as capture areas and from which all resources were used before the lands would fall into the hands of enemies; 3) Cultural and religious issues in the form of treating the organs as strictly liturgical instruments without concert inclinations. All these elements contributed to the limited size, the lowest possible price and high reliability to reduce maintenance costs – implies Galician instruments were mainly small organs (1- or 2-manual), devoid of expensive reed stops. Everything indicates that the local organ builders had the technical capacity to build larger instruments but the political, social and economic situation inhibited the implementation of such undertakings effectively. This argument is supported by the fact that there was a short distance and easy accessibility to large organ factories, such as the Rieger Brothers from Krnov, and yet the lack of large instruments of this company in Galicia in the discussed period[4]. We should mention some Polish organ builders being active in Galicia on the romantic wave (in alphabetical order): Wacław Biernacki, Roman Ducheński, Tomasz Fall, Franciszek Gajda, Jan Grocholski, Rudolf Haase, Mieczysław Janiszewski, Antoni Klement, Jakub Kramkowski, Bronisław Markiewicz, Andrzej Sitnicki, Mikołaj Sojkowski, Bartłomiej Ziemiański, Franciszek Zuch, Ignacy Żebrowski, Aleksander Żebrowski, Kazimierz Żebrowski[5] and also Jan Śliwiński who is the main person of this article. [1] Szostak Michał, "An appreciation of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll on the 120th anniversary of his death", in: "The Organ”, No 387, February-April (Winter) 2019, pp. 6-21. Szostak Michał, "Aristide Cavaillé-Coll: a Biographical Sketch", in: "Organ Canada", Vol. 33, No 1, Winter 2020, Royal Canadian College of Organists, Toronto, pp. 15-19 [2] Szostak Michał, “Emanuel Štěpán Petr a Czech Cavaillé-Coll”, in: “The Organ”, No 394, Nov.2020-Jan.2021. [3] Szostak Michał, “Romantic tendencies in 19th-century organ building in Europe”, in: “The Organ”, No 385, Summer 2018, pp. 10-27. [4] Maciej Babnis, “Organy lwowskiego organmistrza Jana Śliwińskiego na zamojszczyźnie”, in: “Zamojski Kwartalnik Kulturalny”, No. 1 (98), 2009, p. 16-27. [5] Сергій Каліберда, “Органи Львова і Галичини”, Видавництво Апріорі, Львів 2014, p. 362-400.
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Jan
´
Sliwi´nski
Cavaillé-Coll’s
Polish apprentice
Michaeł Szostak
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10 No 395 | T HE O R GA N | WINTER 2021
Jan ´
Sliwi´nski
A Polish apprentice to Cavaillé-Coll
Dr Michał Szostak
On the base of – very well described in
the literature – Romantic tendencies in
organ building in Western Europe,3
I described the different situations
regard ing the subject of our interest in
Eastern Europe. All crucial factors
referring to the Czech lands are similar
to the Polish lands. Perhaps we can even
find the Polish situation more compli -
cated, due to the fact that many
nationalities (Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish)
were combined there creating a
vibrant mix of cultures.
The political history of the geo graph -
ical area described was complicated and
that is why we cannot use the name
Poland throughout. We consider the
lands of Galicia which up to the end of
the 18th century were incorporated into
the Polish Kingdom, and which for the
next 123 years were divided between
Russia and Austria-Hungary. After
World War II they were incorporated (as
the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic)
into the Soviet Union, and after 1991
have been finally located in the borders
of an independent Ukraine.
It should also be noted that in the
19th century no organs, significant in
comparison to the achievements of
Western Europe, were built in Galicia.
The reasons for this situation were the
political issues of the frequent changes
of state borders, which resulted in
The importance of the personal character and work of Aristide Cavaillé-
Coll (1811-1899) for the organ world is well known and undeniable. His
Parisian company hosted large numbers of apprentices from all over
Europe who wanted to learn the secrets of the profession from the most
significant master of his craft.1 In the last issue, I described one person who
had been working at the Cavaillé-Coll company and then started his own
professional activity in Prague Emanuel Št ˘epán Petr (1853-1930).2 In this article,
I will follow the same path of Cavaillé-Coll’s pupils but focusing on those from the
Polish lands. This will be a story of Jan ´
Sliwi´nski (1844-1903), one of the finest Polish
organ builders of the 19th century who was active in the country in and around
Galicia (pictured right).
Galicia on the map of current Europe and its historical changes of borders.
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 11
Photo:Freepik.com
´
Sliwi´nski organ in the church of St. Catherine, Cracow.
Source: Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie; Jakub Hałun; Musicam Sacram.
12 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
administrative and ownership con sequences as well as property issues with
the limited resources of the population being exploited by the partitioning
powers as they captured areas and from which all resources were used before
the lands would fall into the hands of enemies. Finally, there were significant
cultural and religious issues in treating organs as strictly liturgical
Façade of Jan ´
Sliwi´nski organ (1890, 12 stops, 1M+P) in Holy Trinity church in Bie dziedza (Poland); drawing and realised design.
´
Sliwi´nski’s family grave at the Łyczakowski Cemetery in Lviv.
´
Sliwi´nski organ in Łuck cathedral.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 15.
´
Sliwi´nski organ in franciscans church in
Cracow.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 17.
´
Sliwi´nski organ in Music Conservatory in
Lviv.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 23.
The façade of the buildings of Jan ´
Sliwi´nski organ factory at 16 Kopernika
street, Lviv (Ukraine).
14 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
instruments without concert inclin -
ations.
Each of these elements contributed
to the limited size, the lowest possible
price and high reliability in reducing
maintenance costs implying that
Galician instruments were mainly small
organs (one- or two-manual), devoid of
expensive reed stops. Everything
indicates that the local organ builders
had the technical capacity to build
larger instruments but the political,
social and economic situation inhibited
the implementation of such under -
takings effectively. This argument is
supported by the fact that there was a
short distance from and easy access -
ibility to large organ factories, such as
the Rieger Brothers from Krnov, yet
there was a lack of large instruments of
this company in Galicia during this
period.4
We should mention some Polish
organ builders active in Galicia on the
romantic wave (in alphabetical order):
Wacław Biernacki, Roman Duche´nski,
Tomasz Fall, Franciszek Gajda, Jan
Grocholski, Rudolf Haase, Mieczysław
Janiszewski, Antoni Klement, Jakub
Kram kowski, Bronisław Markiewicz,
Andrzej Sitnicki, Mikołaj Sojkowski,
Bartłomiej Ziemia´nski, Franciszek Zuch,
Ignacy ´
Zebrowski, Aleksander ´
Zebrowski,
Kazimierz ´
Zebrowski5 and also Jan
´
Sliwi´nski who is the main subject of this
article.
Biographical Facts
Jan ´
Sliwi ´nski was born on
February 19, 1844 in the village
of Pisty in the Kołomyja dist -
rict, in Stanisławów (today, the
Ivano-Frankivsk) region. Due to
historical turbulences – includ -
ing two world wars and over 50
years of communism – only
fragmentary information about
his private life has survived.
We know that he was inter -
ested in organ building from
an early age. In 1863 (at the age
of 19) he took part in the
January Uprising of Polish
citizens against the Russian
invader, which was considered
a patriotic act, but participants
of this unsuccessful military action
were harassed by the Russian auth -
orities.
Cavaillé-Coll’s Workshop
Probably for this reason – and in search
of further professional development
around 1865 (at the age of 21) he went
abroad, first to Vienna, and then to Paris,
to work at Aristide Cavaillé-Coll’s
workshop for the next ten years.6 The
choice of the Cavaillé-Coll company
shows that ´
Sliwi´nski set the bar high for
himself, wanting to learn from the best.
At Cavaillé-Coll’s headquarters, he
initially worked as a helper assembling
and tuning small organs, and then dealt
with the large instruments. From his
account we know that at Cavaillé-Coll’s
he rose quite high, because in one of his
first advertisements he recommended
himself as “the former factory manager
of the organ builder famous all over
Europe.” In Paris, he gained proper
practice and thorough knowledge in the
art of organ building. It is also there that
´
Sliwi´nski built his first instrument, the
organ in an unspecified Saint-Pierre
church.7 Probably on the basis of this
instrument he was recognised as an
independent master in the field of organ
construction. I was not able to define
which Parisian church source ´
Sliwi´nski,
was referring to, but all ways lead to
Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre, Paris (rue
du Mont-Cenis, 18th district). In this
church the Cavaillé-Coll company built
in 1868-1869 a small organ (2M+P, 12
stops) in the case relocated from Notre-
Dame-de-Lorette (9th district). Next,
this organ was enlarged by Charles
Mutin (unknown date), and restored in
1960, 1991 and 2019. Perhaps, ´
Sliwi´nski
was especially responsible for building
this instrument at the Cavaillé-Coll
company? It is an interesting case but
we are left with no hard evidence here.
After leaving Paris, ´
´
Sliwi´nski probably
tried an independent organ building
activity in the south of France, and next
visited organ building companies in
England and Germany to learn about
their activities, instruments and meth -
ods of running a large factory operating
in the free market.8 Until then – due to
technological and trans port ation limit -
ations organ building comp anies
operated mostly locally; the industrial -
isation and new technical solutions
have expanded the possi bilities of doing
business in this field as well.
Cavaillé-Coll organ built in 1868-1869 in the church
of Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre, Paris (rue du Mont-
Cenis, 18th district).
´
Sliwi´nski organ in the church of Our Lady
of the Snow in Lviv.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwi zkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 19.
´
Sliwi´nski harmoniums.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwi zkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 51.
Cover of ´
Sliwi´nski’s catalogue of organs
and harmoniums (1892).
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów
ko cielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we
Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwi zkowa, Lviv 1892.,
The main organ rebuilt by ´
Sliwi´nski
(1899) in the Latin Catherdal in Lviv.
Source: Сергій Каліберда, “Органи
Львова і Галичини”, Видавництво
Апріорі, Львів 2014, p. 26, 28.
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 15
One of the press
advert for Jan
´
Sliwi´nski’s company.
16 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
Own Workshop
In 1876 (at the age of 32), after his long
stay abroad, enriched with new experi -
ences and professional knowledge,
´
Sliwi ´nski returned to his homeland to
set up his own organ company in Lviv.
Like every beginning craftsman, he
undoubt edly had difficulties selling his
products, but with time he became a
valued or even famous organ builder in
Galicia. The advertising activities distin -
guishing him from other Polish organ
builders were not without significance.
In September 1877, a year after the
company’s opening, he presented his
third instrument at the National
Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition in
Lviv. This organ, well received and being
praised for its strong sound and good
intonation, brought ´
Sliwi ´nski the first
major success: the jury awarded him
with a medal of merit.9
In 1878, the factory built the inst -
rument at the request of the manage -
ment of the Galician Music Society for
the Conservatory in Lviv. In the years
1878-1880, ´
Sliwi ´nski built several
instruments, including an instrument
for the Greek Catholic church in Iławcz.
In 1888, he built the organ for the
church of the Franciscans in Krosno.
Before April 9, 1891, the second of the
then largest instruments was built – the
20-stop organ in Lutsk cathedral. The
local Chapter in gratitude stated that
the organ belongs to “the most beautiful
instruments of this type in the Łuck-
ytomierz diocese.
Over time, the company had grown
into a large enterprise offering, apart
from organs, other own- and foreign-
made instruments. In 1885, ´
Sliwi ´nski
enlarged the plant and started addit -
ional production of harmoniums. At
that time, he signed a number of con -
tracts for the sale of these instruments:
in Warsaw the sales were through the
Gebethner & Wolff company, in Berlin
by the company of Johannes Kewitsch
(1847-1909), who was a manufacturer of
own-named pianos and harmoniums.
Wanting to be noticed by the Warsaw
clientele, ´
Sliwi ´nski gave one of his
harmoniums to the local musical
society.10
Prizes and Awards
In 1886, ´
Sliwi ´nski took part in the
exhibition in Czerniowce (Bukovina) and
“won the priority over Viennese manu -
facturers.He exhibited there an own -
brand organ and a harmonium, for
which he received the first state award.
In 1887 – 11 years after opening
´
Sliwi´nski already employed 20 workers.
Those employ ed, included among others,
Tomasz Fall (1860-1922), Bronisław
Markiewicz, and Wacław Biernacki
names that were written in capital
letters in the history of Polish organ
building.
Another important event was the
National Agricultural and Industrial
Exhibition in Cracow, which lasted from
1 to 30 September, 1887, where ´
Sliwi´nski
received the first medal of merit and a
government award for his organ and
harmoniums.
From 1888, the factory was located in
its own building at No. 16
Kop ernika street. The
build ing was erected
espec ially for ´
Sliwi´nski by
Jan Lewi ´nski’s company
on the basis of a design by
Jan Tomasz Kuleski (the
stucco work on the façade
was made by Piotr Harasi -
mowicz). The tenement
house, still at the same
address and number, has
survived to this day. The
facade of the building
over looks Koper nika Street,
while the main production
rooms were located in the
side wings of this spacious
building. The façade of the
house is still decorated with reliefs
depicting musical emblems. In the yard,
the wood used for making organs was
dried using natural conditions.
One of the most carefully made
instruments was undoubtedly the organ
in the parish church of Our Lady of the
Snow in Lviv. On April 9, 1891, a
reception of the organ took place in the
presence of music lovers and members
of the city council. In 1891, ´
Sliwi ´nski
undertook two major renovations – the
organ in the Przemys´l Cathedral and
that in St. Mary’s Church in Cracow.
Catalogue
In 1892, an extensive and carefully
prepared “Catalogue of the Organ and
Harmonium Factory” was published, in
which ´
Sliwi ´nski proudly wrote that his
“factory rivals first-class factories of the
organ building profession abroad.” The
author probably meant the scale of
activity (factory production, even mass
production, compared to a craft manu -
factory) and the market methods of
running a business: ´
Sliwi´nski had to be
well aware that his instruments were
inferior to the size and sound possi -
bilities of the instruments created at
that time in Western Europe by com -
panies of Cavaillé-Coll, Sauer and Willis.
Taking care of advertising his products
as the only one of his contemporary
Polish organ builders, he emph asised
that his instru ments do not change over
the years and do not need
any repairs.
It is worth paying att -
ention to certain con sid -
erations that ´
Sliwi´nski
was able to keep contacts
with the Polish aristo -
cracy. For example, the
organ in Szczeb r zeszyn
(built in 1893) was funded
by the Lubomirski family,
and the organ for the
Collegiate of Zamo´s´c was
founded in 1895 by Count
Maurycy Zamojski (1871–
1939).
Around 1895, the com -
p any acquired and inst -
alled a steam engine,
which significantly improved the work
of the factory, and in the last years of
the 19th century the company extended
its offer to the production and rental of
pianos and grand pianos (this area is not
well documented). ´
Sliwi ´nski’s profess -
ional competence was gaining more and
more recognition, resulting in his
appoint ment to the judges of the
national exhibition in Lviv in 1894. In
1896 he was appointed to the board of
the Austro-Hungarian Association of
Organ Builders based in Vienna, where
´
Sliwi´nski
professional
competence was
gaining more and
more recognition,
resulting in his
appoint ment to
the judges of the
national
exhibition in Lviv
in 1894
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 17
The main organ rebuilt by ´
Sliwi´nski (1899) in the Latin Catherdal in Lviv.
Source: Сергій Каліберда, “Органи Львова і Галичини”, Видавництво Апріорі, Львів 2014, p. 26, 28.
18 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
he was the only person representing
non-German nationality.11
Concert Organs
In the Lviv Opera House, built in 1895-
1900, the ´
Sliwi ´nski company installed
their first concert instrument. For this
purpose, a special gallery was built above
the stage. The organ had a solid, dense
sound and was used in performances
(its specification is now sadly lost).
In 1902, ´
Sliwi ´nski signed a contract
to build another large strictly concert
instrument for the Lviv Philharmonic. It
was the last and largest (32 stops) organ
that came out of his factory (the organ
does not exist anymore and its specifi -
cation is also unknown). Unfort unately,
´
Sliwi´nski did not live to hear its finished
sound. We know that before his death,
he made an offer to build an organ in
the Pauline Basilica in Czestochowa
(Jasna Góra) – the largest Polish Marian
shrine.
End
Jan ´
Sliwi ´nski died at the age of 59, on
January 29, 1903, after long suffering
and several operations at the Dr. Rudolf
Weigl sanatorium in Lviv (the diagnosis
was ‘twist of the intestines’);12 he was
buried at the Łyczakowski Ceme tery in
Lviv. After his death – as regards the
realisation of previously ordered organs
and harmoniums – the company was
run for several years by Aurelia
´
Sliwi´nski, the widow of the organ builder.
Probably it was related to the advance
payments taken for the comm encement
of work on specific instru ments, their
advanced condition in the factory and
the desire to maintain a well-function -
ing business as long as possible. The rest
of the remaining business activities
were limited to the trading and lending
of pianos and grand pianos only.
In 1907, Mieczysław Janiszewski, a
former student of ´
Sliwi ´nski, took over
organ-building activities. Between 1909
and 1911, the piano business became
the property of the company Konrad
Kaim & Son (located on the same street
at No. 11)13 and then, during the First
World War, the business was liquidated
completely.
Organ Building Activity
The factory, which was the largest
company of this type in Galicia, offered
various organs: from instruments of
small dimensions and possibilities –
with four registers and one keyboard (no
pedal section), to large organs with 50
registers with three manuals and pedal -
board. The organs with 10 to 26 registers
were in the greatest demand. Although
´
Sliwi´nski based such work on standard
patterns (described in the catalogue),
his instruments were adjusted to the
specific requirements of the client and
with regard to the acoustics of the
building where they were to be installed.
In 1892 (after 16 years of exist ence)
the company had more than 120 new or
rebuilt instruments to its credit. The
vast majority of organs were com m -
issioned by small Catholic churches.
Only at the turn of the 19th and 20th
centuries we note the construction of
larger organs for churches and the
appearance of buyers for concert and
salon instruments.
Jan ´
Sliwi´nski offered seventeen basic
organ models, which, if necessary, were
adapted to the requirements and cir -
cumstances. In the sound layer: we can
find distant analogies to the work of the
Parisian master, Cavaillé-Coll, but much
more closely his instruments drew on
the patterns of the German Romantic
organs. He was probably the first (or one
of the first) to offer con venient install -
ment repayment options for the
instruments. This kind of solu tion
shows that for ´
Sliwi ´nski, the business
approach was no less import ant than
the artistic approach.
The organs of ´
Sliwi ´nski company,
made of fine wood, well dried in a
natural way, did not require compli -
cated adjustments. The air mechanism
was simple and reliable, each register
received a sufficient amount of air. For
large organs, having several keyboards,
a pneumatic Barker system machine
was used, which served well and allow -
ed not only ease of keyboard connection
(couplers), but also easily to trigger
stops.14 Each register – sonorous and
melodic – had a sound well-balanced
with the other registers.
Selected Medium and Large Organs
Not many instruments built from start
to finish by the ´
Sliwi´nski factory, have
survived til today, but we find numerous
traces of its activity. If we want to
investigate the characteristics of his
instruments, we need to do some
special adjustments. I combine here 3
existing medium instruments in their
original form (before rebuilds), as well
as two examples of organ specifications
(40- and 50-stop) taken from the cata -
logue published in 1892. From such
material we will be able to draw some
general conclusions.
The first organ was built in the years
1893-1896 in the church of St. Catherine
(western gallery) in Cracow in the organ
case designed by Karol Knaus (1846-
1904). The instrument – existing to this
day – has 28 stops, two manuals with a
pedal and fully mechanical action – for
Left and right: ´
Sliwi´nski organ in the church of St. Catherine, Cracow.
Source: Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie;
Jakub Hałun; Musicam Sacram.
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 19
20 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
both keyboards and registers.
The second instrument was built in
1894-1895 in the Collegiate in Zamosc
(today a diocesan Cathedral of the
Lord’s Resurrection and St Thomas the
Apostle). The instrument – still existing
to this day (but rebuilt slightly in the
sonic structure) – has 25 stops (the
contract said about 24 stops), two
manuals with a pedal and fully
mechanical action – for both keyboards
and regi sters. This instrument was fully
built by ´
Sliwi´nski on the place of an old
organ the only part remaining from
the old instrument is the
King David figure put on
the top of the new organ
façade.
The third organ is an
instrument (25 stops,
2M+P) built by Roman
Duche´nski in the Lviv
Latin Cathedral in 1839
and rebuilt by ´
Sliwi´nski in
1899. The instru ment
existing to this day has
23 stops, two manuals
with a pedal board and
fully mechanical actions.
It was decided to keep the
neo-Gothic style of the
Duchesski’s instru ment
façade. The organ was
made in the form of two
neo-Gothic sections, bet -
ween which a large window with
beautiful stained glass by Teodor
Axentowicz (1859-1938), “Our Lady,
Queen of Angels” (1895), remained.
Characteristics of ´
Sliwi ´nski’s Organs
On the basis of the above organs as well
as the projects of dispositions of large
organs, we can draw some facts char -
acteristic to ´
Sliwi´nski’s instruments.
The specification of sound of
´
Sliwi´nski inst ruments can
be described in general as
German romantic aesth -
etics with some influences
of French symphonic
tendencies. Considering
all of his organs, we can
see the domin ation of 8’
stops of all types in each
section and quite a lot of
4’ stops. The main manual
section was equipped with
16’ own flue stop (first
Bourdon, next Principal).
We will not find any 2’
Principal (Octave) in his
instruments; instead we
can see 2’ Piccolo and 1’
Flautino (in larger
specifications only), but
these stops are very gentle
voices and give only additional “shade”
to the basic 8’ and 4’ stops. Second
manual was always softer and equipped
with lower number of stops. ´
Sliwi´nski
rarely used the harmonic stops. Very
sparing use of reeds was as a result of
reducing the costs of the instrument but
I. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Pryncypał 8'
2. Flet major 8'
3. Waldhorn 8'
4. Rurflet 8'
5. Holflote 8'
6. Salicjonał 8'
7. Quinta mora 8'
8. Octava 4'
9. Flauton 4'
10. Dolcan 4'
11. Kwinta 2 2/3'
12. Piccolo 2'
13. Flautino 1'
14. Mixtura harm. VII/I
II. Manual (swell box) (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Geigen principał 8'
3. Gemshorn 8'
4. Gamba 8'
5. Flaut harmonic 4'
6. Nasard 2 2/3'
7. Tercflet 1 3/5'
8. Vox humana 8'
Peda l(C-c1 = 25 t.)
1. Principal bass 16'
2. Subbas 16'
3. Violonbass 16'
4. Contra cello 16'
5. Oktavbas 8'
6. Doppelflet 8’I/PII/P
Mechanical key and stop action
Specification of the ´
Sliwi´nski organ (built in 1893-1896) in the church of St Catherine, Cracow (Poland).
Source: Jacek Kulig, “O organach historycznych Małopolski”, XX (2018) Małopolska, p. 191-226.
Specification
Keyboard at Zamos´c´(Poland)
The specification
of sound of
´
Sliwi´nski
instruments can
be described in
general as
German romantic
aesth etics with
some influences
of French
symphonic
tendencies.
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 21
I. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Pryncypał 8'
3. Flet major 8'
4. Portunal 8'
5. Geigen Pryncypał 8'
6. Valtornia 8'
7. Salicionał 8'
8. Octava 4'
9. Flet travers 4'
10. Dolce 4'
11. Flet minor 4'
12. Mixtura IV
Copula manual (II/I)
II. Manual (swell box) (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Gemshorn 8'
2. Kwintadena 8'
3. Gamba 8'
4. Amabilis 8'
5. Vox coelestis 8'
6. Flet major 4'
7. Piccolo 2'
Pedal(C-c1 = 25 t.)
1. Subbas 16'
2. Contrabas 16'
3. Flauto 8'
4. Cello 8'
5. Waldhorn 4'
6. Basson 16'
7. Copula pedale
Fortissimo
Mezzoforte
Expression (open/closed)
Tympanon mechanical key and stop
action
Specification
Specification of Jan ´
Sliwi´nski organ (built in 1893-1895) in the Collegiate in Zamos´c´(Poland).
Source: Own elaboration.
Royer-Puget Organ at Grignan Collgiale St Sauveur
22 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
allows us to infer this tendency as a
German root. In his opus magni, we can
find maximum two reeds in each
section – 8’ Trompet and 16’ Bombarde
in the pedal and in the main manual.
This is the evidence of Germanic
thinking: reeds were added at the end of
crescendi. Reeds in side manual
sections were gentle and used for solo
purposes mainly (the only difference is
in his 50-stop specifi cation). No 4’ reeds
were planned at all. ´
Sliwi´nski used low-
sounding aliquots mainly (fifths, thirds
and sevenths). Higher aliquots (1 1/3’
and above) were placed as elements of
mixtures. ´
Sliwi´nski’s pedal stops were
built as the sounding base for the whole
instrument consisting up to 4’ size stops
only. His windchests had the same wind
pressure in the whole range of scales.
´
Sliwi´nski initially used in his organs
a fully mechanical tracker action with
cone valve windchests, being able to
add the Barker levers if needed. Next,
the company was able to apply the
tubular pneumatic action with cone
valve windchests only. All remained
instru ments are fully mechanical
without Barker levers.
All of his instruments were equipped
with typical scale for early romantic
organs: 54 tones (C-f3) for keyboards and
25 tones (C-c1) for pedalboards. He did
not build keyboards with wider scales
than mentioned above. The reasons
were: 1. church destiny; 2. reduction of
production costs to reduce the selling
price.
´
Sliwi´nski’s organs were characterised
by fine intonation – both of the indi -
vidual stops and their groups as well as
the entire instrument. The sound is
I. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Pryncypał 8'
2. Portunal 8'
3. Salicional 8'
4. Unda maris 8'
5. Amabilis 8'
6. Octave 4'
7. Flute travers 4'
8. Flute minor 4'
9. Piccolo 2'
Mixture IV II/I
II. Manual (swell box) (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Flute major 8'
2. Gamba 8'
3. Julla 8'
4. Celeste 8'
5. Octave 4'
6. Dolce 4'
7. Flute 4'
Mezzoforte
Fortissimo
Pedal (C-c1 = 25 t.)
1. Subbas 16'
2. Violin Bas 16'
3. Contrabas 16'
4. Principal 8'
5. Cello 8'
6. Flute 8'
I/P
II/P
mechanical key and stop action
Specification of the
´
Sliwi´ nski organ (rebuilt in 1899) in Latin Catherdal in Lviv (Ukraine).
Source: Сергій Каліберда, “Органи Львова і Галичини”, Видавництво Апріорі, Львів 2014, p. 28.
Specification
Zamos´c´(Poland)
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 23
generally gentle and smooth. The shape
of the volume for each stop is charact -
eristic to German romantic tendencies.
It can be an example of flexibility of the
organ builder who, from a European
perspective, was able to adjust to the
local aesthetics of sound. From the
geographical perspective, Polish lands
were always closer to Germanic
aesthetics.
At first glance, ´
Sliwi ´nski’s consoles
refer to the aesthetic and technical
patterns of early Cavaillé-Coll solutions
and were generally of the detached type.
They were characterised by precise
craftsmanship and mainly made of soft
wood. ´
Sliwi´nski’s workshop produced a
uniform type of consoles, which was
characterised by following features: 1.
Manubria, in the form of draw knobs,
were always located on both sides of
keyboards; 2. Couplers and fixed com -
binations in the mech anical action were
in the form of small lever-pedals placed
above the pedal board (similar to
Cavaillé-Coll); descript ions of these
switches were put onto plates above the
manuals, for better view of the organist;
Specification
I. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Principal 16'
2. Principal 8'
3. Bourdon 8'
4. Waldhorn 8'
5. Flauto major 8'
6. Salicional 8'
7. Quintatön 5 1/3'
8. Octave 4'
9. Flauto 4'
10. Dolciana 4'
11. Septima 2 2/7'
12. Mixtura IV-VII
13. Trompett 8'
Copula manual II/I
Copula manual III/I
II. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Geinen principal 8'
3. Gemshorn 8'
4. Portunal 8'
5. Undamaris 8'
6. Octave 4'
7. Flauto minor 4'
8. Quintatön 2 2/3'
9. Cornet II-V
III. Manual (swell box)
(C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Flauto amabilis 8'
2. Flauto harmon 8'
3. Viola de Gamba 8'
4. Voix Celeste 8'
5. Euphone 8'
6. Rohrflet 4'
7. Piccolo 2'
8. Basson-hautbois 8'
Mezzoforte Fortissimo
Crescendo/Decrescendo
Pedal (C-c1 = 25 t.)
1. Subbas 16'
2. Contrabas 16'
3. Contra Cello 16'
4. Flute gross 16'
5. Quintatön 10 2/3'
6. Flauto 8'
7. Violoncello 8'
8. Waldhorn 4'
9. Bombard 16'
10. Trompett 8'
Copula pedal I/P
Copula pedal II/P
Specification of Jan
´
Sliwi´ nski 40-stop organ (not built) from his catalogue.
Source: Jan Sliwi ´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów koscielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia Zwi zkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 8-9.
Grignan Collgiale St Sauveur
24 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 25
Zamos´c´(Poland)
26 No 395 | T H E O R GA N | WINTER 2021
I. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Principal 16'
2. Principal 8'
3. Bourdon 8'
4 Waldhorn 8'
5. Flauto harmon. 8'
6. Flauto major 8'
7. Salicional 8'
8. Quintatön 4 4/7'
9. Octave 4'
10. Flauto 4'
11. Dolciana 4'
12. Tertia major 3 1/5'
13. Septima 2 2/7'
14. Mixtura IV-VII
15.Bombard 16'
16. Trompett 8'
Copula manual II/ICopula
manual III/I
II. Manual (C-f3 = 54 t.)
1. Bourdon 16'
2. Geinenprincipal 8'
3. Gemshorn 8'
4. Portunal 8'
5. Undamaris 8'
6. Octave 4'
7. Flauto minor 4'
8. Nazart 2 2/3'
9. Cornet II-V
10. Cor Anglais 8'
III. Manual (swell box)(C-f3
= 54 t.)
1. Flauto amabilis 8'
2. Rohrflet 8'
3. Viola de Gamba 8'
4. Voix Celeste 8'
5. Flet octaviante 4'
6. Rohrflet 4'
7. Doppeltflet 4'
8. Piccolo 2'
9. Superoctava 1'
10. Tuba magna 16'
11. Basson-hautbois 8'
12. Voix humana 8'
Mezzoforte
Fortissimo
Crescendo/Decrescendo
Pedal (C-c1 = 25 t.)
1. Subcontrabass 32'
2. Subbas 16'
3. Principalbass 16'
4. Contrabas 16'
5. Violonbass 16'
6. Quintatön 10 2/3'
7. Flauto 8'
8. Violoncello 8'
9. Bourdon 4'
10.Waldhorn 4'
11. Bombard 16'
12. Trompett 8'
Copula pedal I/P
Copula pedal II/P
Table 5. Specification of Jan
´
Sliwi´ nski 50-stop organ (not built) from his catalogue.
Source: Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki Organów koscielnych i Harmonium Jan ´
Sliwi´nski we Lwowie, ul. Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. 9-10.
Specification
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English text • tekst Polski • Český text
Recorded in August 2020
As featured in The Organ, No 394, Nov. 2020-Jan. 2021
Emanuel Štěpán Petr, a Czech Cavaillé-Coll
“Prague Impressions”
Music of Buxtehude, Bruhns, Lefébure-Wély, Chopin, improvisations
on the organ of Emanuel Štěpán Petr (1912, Op. 200) at the Church of
St. Ignatius of Loyola in Prague, Czech Republic – performed by
Dr Michał Szostak
W I NT ER 2 02 1 | TH E O RG A N | No 395 27
3. When pneu matic action was applied,
the fixed combinations were usually
placed in the form of small knobs below
the lover keyboard; 4. The swell box
shutter control was located in the right
part of the console above the pedal -
board in the form of a lever-pedal; it had
only two options (full open, closed).
The display of divisions inside the
organ case allowed, generally, for easy
maintenance work and tuning. Pipes
were mainly built exact on the size of
sounding tone which reduced the
tuning works to a minimum.
Conclusions
Referring to the topic of this article, let
us compare the achievements of
´
Sliwi ´nski and Cavaillé-Coll rememb -
ering of course that both figures were
working in different political, social and
economic circumstances. Among simi -
larities we can mention: 1. each came
from rural areas from local or totally
unknown organ-business families; 2.
they each started their professional
activities in the most important cities of
their countries (Lviv, Paris); 3. each were
also very dynamic persons in their
profession contacts with aristocrats
was natural way of looking for business
opportunities; 4. their companies, after
their death, reduced their commercial
reputations significantly and were
closed not long after; each introduced
revolutionary solutions in their prof -
ession and were open for the best
practices from other masters; 6. the
quality of their instruments and the
sound aesthetics (especially voicing)
were superior to other competitors. 7.
the design of detached consoles with
draw knobs located on both sides of
keyboards in the cascade style; even the
way of closing the consoles is the same;
8. they both ensured that there was
sufficient space in the organ case for
service and maintenance works.
With regard to differ ences we should
note: 1. Different sound aesthetics
´
Sliwi´nski: German romantic school with
some French influences; Cavaillé-Coll:
his own symphonic school); 2. Different
tech nical solutions ( ´
Sliwi´nski: German
fixed combinations, Crescendo roller,
Cavaillé-Coll: own invention of appels
d’anches, windchests with 2-3 different
wind pressures); 3. Different role of the
expression box ( ´
Sliwi´nski: for lower
dynamics levels: pianissimo-piano/
mezzoforte on the pattern of German
school; Cavaillé-Coll: for much wider
scope of dynamics because of reach
battery of reeds in Récit-expressif
section: pianissimo-forte/fortissimo); 4.
Different business app roach (´ Sliwi´nski
built inst ru ments up to and not
beyond – the customer’s requirements
and finan cial possibilities; Cavaillé-Coll
very often exceeded customer’s require -
ments and financial possi bilities caus -
ing own fin an cial problems pre destining
art beyond the mundane issues).
The company of Jan ´
Sliwi´nski , one of
the finest romantic organ builders in
this area of Europe, was a shining star
on the Polish firmament. He repres -
ented the best skills and trends in organ
building art which he brought to his
homeland from abroad, adjusting them
to the financial possibilities of local
customers. During the 26 years (1867-
1903) of its operation, his comp any
produced approx. 135 organs and
approx. 650 harmoniums (the number
of pianos produced is not possible to
determine). ´
Sliwi´nski’s legacy must have
been large, because even after his death,
pupils advertised with whom they had
studied. It should be remarked that
many of ´
Sliwi´nski’s organs were dest -
royed or have been rebuilt, and those,
which are still extant, are mainly in poor
condition – often for lack of funds.
´
Sliwi´nski gave his entire life to his work.
In the history of organ building, this
figure was one of the most outstanding
on the Polish lands at the end of the
19th and the beginning of the 20th
centuries. He deserves to be remem -
bered for his contribution to the
development of the musical and craft
cultures of Eastern Europe.
Footnotes
1. Szostak Michał, “An appreciation of
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll on the 120th
anniversary of his death”, in: The
Organ, No 387, February-April
(Winter) 2019, pp. 6-21. Szostak
Michał, “Aristide Cavaillé-Coll: a
Biographical Sketch”, in: Organ
Canada, Vol. 33, No 1, Winter 2020,
Royal Canadian College of
Organists, Toronto, pp. 15-19
2. Szostak Michał, “Emanuel Št˘epán
Petr a Czech Cavaillé-Coll”, in: The
Organ, No 394, Nov.2020-Jan.2021.
3. Szostak Michał, “Romantic
tendencies in 19th-century organ
building in Europe”, in: The Organ,
No 385, Summer 2018, pp. 10-27.
4. Maciej Babnis, “Organy lwowskiego
organmistrza Jana Sliwi´nski ego na
zamojszczy znie”, in: “Zamojski
Kwartalnik Kulturalny”, No. 1 (98),
2009, p. 16-27.
5. Сергій Каліберда, “Органи Львова і
Галичини”, Видавництво Апріорі,
Львів 2014, p. 362-400.
6. Jan Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki
Organów koscielnych i Harmonium
Jan Sliwi´nski we Lwowie, ul.
Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. XI-XII.
7. Ibidem, p. XV.
8. Maciej Babnis, “Organy lwowskiego
organmistrza Jana Sliwi´nskiego na
zamojszczyznie”, in: “Zamojski
Kwartalnik Kulturalny”, No. 1 (98),
2009, p. 16-27.
9. Marek Gierczak, “Jan Sliwi´nski –
najwybitniejszy polski
organmistrz”, in: “Kurier Galicyjski”
No. 2 (102) 2010.
10. Maciej Babnis, “Organy z ko´scioła
Franciszkanów w Kro´snie (obecnie
w Wyszatycach) i ich budowniczy –
organmistrz lwowski Jan Sliwi´nski”,
in: “Ko´sciół i klasztor
franciszkanski w Kro´snie –
przeszło´s´c oraz dziedzictwo
kulturowe”, Krosno 1998, p. 203-228
11. Maciej Babnis, “Organy lwowskiego
organmistrza Jana Sliwi´nskiego na
zamojszcznie”, in: “Zamojski
Kwartalnik Kulturalny”, No. 1 (98),
2009, p. 16-27.
12. Ibidem, p. 16-27.
13. Michał Piekarski, “Muzyka we
Lwowie. Od Mozarta do Majerskiego
– kompozytorzy, muzycy,
instytucje”, Wydawnictwo
Akademickie SEDNO, Warszawa
2018.
14. Jan ´
Sliwi´nski, “Katalog Fabryki
Organów koscielnych i Harmonium
Jan Sliwi´nski we Lwowie, ul.
Kopernika 16”, Drukarnia
Zwiazkowa, Lviv 1892, p. X.
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Sometimes, life is unpredictable. Restrictions, which reduce our big plans, can open new perspectives and allow us to focus on the areas which could be hidden for us in regular circumstances. This happens to me this year. Due to the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic I needed to cancel my North America concert tour and I started to look for another performance possibilities in closer distance with lover risk of cancellation. Using this strategy, I found some interesting romantic organs in Prague, Czech Republic. Step by step I discovered the unique works of Emanuel Štěpán Petr, a genial organ builder who had been developed Czech organ industry in many dimensions. I had the privilege to play this August two recitals on Petr organs in Prague: at the church of St. Ludmila and at the church of St. Ignatius de Loyola. Referring to Petr’s achievements and his role in Czech organ world, it is no exaggeration if we call him a “Czech Cavaillé-Coll”. Romantic tendencies in organ building in Western Europe are very well described in the literature. The situation regarding the subject of our interest in Eastern Europe was slightly different, and the main factor determining this state was far-reaching social and economic changes on the basis of national conflicts, great wars and political changes. Despite these turbulences, the culture of the Eastern European nations evolved in line with the trends present in Western Europe, albeit with a delay of dozen(s) years, and with adaptations to local historical circumstances and cultural factors.
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Organy lwowskiego organmistrza Jana Sliwiński ego na zamojszczy znie
  • Maciej Babnis
Maciej Babnis, "Organy lwowskiego organmistrza Jana Sliwiński ego na zamojszczy znie", in: "Zamojski Kwartalnik Kulturalny", No. 1 (98), 2009, p. 16-27.