Hildesheim St. Andreas

Rudolf von Beckerath Organ, St. Andreas Hildesheim (1965-66)

The organ of the St. Andreas church in Hildesheim was built in 1965-66 by prominent organbuilder Rudolf von Beckerath. It is one of the largest instruments of its kind in Northern Germany. And it must be said, it is one of von Beckerath's best instruments. It has 63 speaking stops with a total of 4,734 pipes on four manuals and pedal. The Swiss organ builder Beat Grenacher participated in the final voicing of the organ. (Grenacher was in later years head of the Goll organ company from Lucerne and was responsible for the rebuilding of the Beckerath organ of Marktkirche Hannover.) The construction of this organ has some unique and innovative features, such as the mechanical action made of composite materials that still functions perfectly after 60 years without the need for any repairs. The organ has two consoles: The upper gallery houses a large 4-manual console and the lower gallery, which offers space for vocal and instrumental ensembles, has a separate single-manual console controlling the Rückpositiv alone. In the decades since its installation, the von Beckerath organ in St. Andrew's Church has become famous far beyond the borders of the city of Hildesheim. Renowned organists from across the globe perform on the instrument and use it for radio and recordings. In 1963, the famous north german composer Hans Friedrich Micheelsen from Hamburg dedicated his last organ concerto "Orgelkonzert VII - Der Morgernstern" to Reinhold Brunnert, the organist of St. Andreas at that time, to be performed during the inauguration concert.

In recitals and through recordings, the sound of the Hildesheim organ has inspired an entire generation of organists. American organist Erik Simmons comments: "This organ was important to me when I was learning to play. I first heard it on the Bach CD recorded by Michael Murray when I was just graduating from college in the 1980s. The sound was so different from all the American organs I was hearing at that time. (The CD is on YouTube now; search for "Murray Bach Hildesheim".) Murray's playing is dated by today's standards; he was a student of Dupré, with legato playing and mathematical precision on things like repeated and dotted notes. But those were the Bach editions I learned from back then as well, and the sound from Hildesheim was both ear-opening and inspiring. We "know better" today, but this was the standard at the time."

The organ has the typical features of its time: narrow reeds, smooth foundations voiced with an expressive "chiff", and a plethora of unusual aliquotes that represent the progressive element of organ design in search of new colors that one encounters in many instruments from this period. The reeds of this organ are often best paired with a foundation stop as part of the aesthetics of the time (the so-called "covering" of reeds). Their sound is generally too thin if used alone - though music written at the time this organ was built often has special registrations exploiting these sounds by themselves.

The organ has numerous mixtures and mutations, but unlike many other organs from the same period it is not voiced to "scream" or "pierce". The plenums on each manual are formidable, but balanced and beautiful. The arrangement of the five divisions follows the North German organ building tradition, the so called "Hamburger Prospekt". The organ is strictly built on the Werkprinzip design, so much so that there is no coupler between HW and Pedal. The organ does not need one, because the Pedal is a complete division by itself (and therefore we did not add it in Hauptwerk). A German organ expert advised: "It is particularly important to me that this excellent organ is preserved in its uniqueness. It is not a modern universal organ like Billerbeck or Görlitz, where you can add couplings, stops, etc. almost as desired. If you understand the principle of a baroque organ and its divisions, then you also understand this organ. And this is what you should convey to users: think, pause and recognize the principle of the divisions." The ten largest pipes of the Prinzipal 32' are seen in the façade, the C pipe is around 11m high. They were originally made of zinc, but those pipes were replaced by tin pipes in 1995. The sound of this organ unites remarkably well with the church acoustics. The reverberation time is almost 8 seconds! The generous acoustics of the church contribute to the power and beauty of the sound.

Further reading:






The samples are offered in 48kHz/24bit resolution. The multiple releases have three levels: short, mid and long. Hauptwerk v4.2 and higher supported. The sample set is offered in a plain wave format, no encryption.

Reverb time

The reverb time is ca. 8 seconds.

Keyboards, pedalboard

The original compass of the keyboards is 56 keys, extendable to 58 keys via a mixer switch. The original compass of the pedal division is 30 keys, extendable to 32 keys via a mixer switch.


All ranks of the RW and OW were recorded with and without tremulants for the most convincing tremulant behavior. However, loading the authentic tremmed ranks consumes large amount of RAM. It is possible to select to use the artificial tremulant instead to save RAM (the switch is located on the mixer tab).


RAM consumption: 6-channel surround

  • 16-bit, other settings default:  49 GB
  • 20-bit, other settings default:  81 GB
  • 24-bit, other settings default:  91 GB

Screen resolution 1280x1024 px or more.

Polyphony of 12.000 voices recommended for the full suround.

Surround format

The sample set is offered in a Surround variant (6 channels). There are direct channels, diffuse channels, and rear channels. To reproduce the surround format, an audio card with at least 4 output channels is required, dedicating the direct and diffuse channels for the front speakers, and other two channels for the rear speakers.

The Specification

I Rückpositiv C–g3
Prinzipal 8′
Rohrflöte 8′
Quintadena 8′
Oktave 4′
Blockflöte 4′
Quintflöte 223
Oktave 2′
Gemshorn 2′
Quinte 113
Sesquialtera II 223′      
Scharfmixtur V     1 13
Dulzian 16′
Bärpfeife 8′
II Hauptwerk C–g3
Prinzipal 16′
Oktave 8′
Koppelgedackt     8′
Oktave 4′
Quinte 2 23′      
Oktave 2′
Mixtur VI 2′
Scharf IV 23
Trompete 16′
Trompete 8′
Trompete 4′
III Oberwerk C–g3
Quintadena 16′
Violprinzipal 8′
Holzflöte 8′
Oktave 4′
Rohrflöte 4′
Nasat 2 23′      
Hohlflöte 2′
Terz 1 35
Septime 1 17
Sifflöte 1′
None 89
Scharf IV-VI 1′
Klingend Zimbel III    16
Englisch Horn 16′
Oboe 8′
IV Brustwerk
Holzgedackt 8′
Holzprinzipal 4′
Waldflöte 2′
Gemsquinte 1 13′      
Schwiegel 1′
Schlagtöne III 25
Scharfzimbel IV    12
Regal 8′
Schalmei 4′
Pedal C–f1
Prinzipal 32′
Oktave 16′
Subbass 16′
Oktave 8′
Holzflöte 8′
Hornaliquot II
Oktave 4′
Nachthorn 2′
Rauschpfeife III    4′
Mixtur VI 2 23
Posaune 32′
Posaune 16′
Trompete 8′
Trompete 4′
Zink 2′

Couplers: I/II, III/II, IV/II, I/P, III/P  (no HW/Ped coupler)






Console view:

this is the general console view. It serves to define the keyboard MIDI inputs for all the divisions. The only active part of this view are the manuals and the pedals. Specifying the MIDI inputs is done by right-clicking on the desired manual or pedal. All the other screen components are image-only.




Mixer view:

The output levels of the direct, diffuse, and rear ranks can be adjusted here. Also the blower and tremulant noises can be adjusted.

The pipe coupling and pipe detuning features can be adjusted. The sound gets somewhat mistuned with higher settings, giving the "chorus" effect to the overall sound, often found pleasingly "floating".

The mixer settings can be stored, retrieved, reset. 3 different mixer settings can be stored/recalled any time.

The switches:

Select the sampled (real) tremulant or the artificial (Hauptwerk model) tremulant.

Select the mixtures sounding as recorded (casually mistuned) or purely tuned.

The compass extension allows for the top most added keys to be heard.

Blower switch must be always on (to give virtual air into the organ, allowing it to speak).


Left+Right Jambs view:

for dual touch screens, split jambs were created. They allow for portrait or landscape orientation, according to the orientation of the touch screens.




Left + Right Jambs Vertical view:

the dual stop jambs offer vertical (portrait) orientation as an alternative.






Simple Jamb:

simplified version of a single jamb to allow for more readable version of the stop names on small LCD touch screens. There are two variants: landscape and portrait.

All the stops of the organ can be found here.

Physical pistons or draw stops can be assigned to a virtual button on screen by right-clicking on the button.

The indicators for BW swell shutters show the actual position of the pedals.


Single Jamb:

All the stops are available on a single screen.




  1. Hildesheim, Beckerath virtual organ, Vol.1

    Hildesheim, St. Andreas - Rudolf von Beckerath Sample Set, vol. 1. Direct, diffuse, rear channels. 21 sounding stops. Minimum Hauptwerk version: 4.2. (Also works in all higher versions.) No encryption. Free volume.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €0.00 Incl. Tax *: €0.00 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order

  2. Hildesheim, Beckerath virtual organ, Vol.2

    Hildesheim, St. Andreas - Rudolf von Beckerath Sample Set, vol. 2. Direct, diffuse, rear channels. All stops. Minimum Hauptwerk version: 4.2. (Also works in all higher versions.) No encryption. Works together with vol. 1 forming the complete sample set.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €400.00 Incl. Tax *: €484.00 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order