In 1996/1997, I started this Casparini site. Even 20 years later, the information about the Casparini's is still is scattered in the literature as bits and pieces. The exception is the discussion concerning Adam Gottlob Casparini's organs in RENKEWITZ, JANCA & FISCHER 2008.
For the study of historical sources, it seems to be advisable to have at least basal command of English, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish to be able to read the existing literature.
NB: this site is restricted to literature study only. I just tried to combine the various sources, as cited in the literature list, next to providing some internet-links.
This site was referred to by in a scientific paper (POVILIONIS 2005: 28). Dr. Povilionis also kindly suggested some corrections. All this urged me to make an update to the site (2016). Also, since the last major update in 2006, new information surfaced. This was mainly the result of the enormous international attention for the Casparini organ in Vilnius, resulting in several publications, a congress in Göteborg, which leaded to the wonderfull sounding reconstruction of this instrument in the Eastman School in Rochester (N.Y., U.S.A.).
The name of the organ builders named Casparini is known to most of those who are interested in the organ and its history. The facade of the "Sonnenorgel" in Görlitz (BRD) is world famous. It is less known that there were several members in the family, all mainly active in the eastern parts of Germany especially in those parts which have been added to Poland or Russia after 1945.
Virtualy no one knows these days what a Casparini - organ should sound like, because nearly all instruments of these organ builders have been destroyed. Of the Görlitz organ only the facade remains. Silesia and its churches were nearly totally in ruins by 1945, with only fragments of instruments and some cases remaining. What remained (after romantic rebuildings) of the East-Prussian instruments has nearly totally and even on purpose been destroyed.
Only in Lithuania, some organs, possibly approaching the original sound, still can be found of this dynasty.
For organs in former German cities and villages in Silesia (Schlesien, now Slask) and East-Prussia (Ostpreußen, now divided between Polish Masuria and the Russian Kaliningradskaja Oblast), I'll use German and Polish or Russian names in the headers, but German names in the text and in the bar-menu's as this is consistent with the larger part of the organ-literature and especially with the original sources (such as contracts and design-drawings). For instance: the Casparini organ of St. Bernhardin in Breslau was destroyed before the city was officially renamed to Wroclaw. Consequently, no reference is found anywhere about a Casparini organ in Wroclaw's St. Bernhardin. The decisions of history are facts and not the subject of dicsussion here: these web pages are intended as a contribution to organ history and not as a political study.
Adam Caspar(i) was in all probability the stem father of the dynasty, himself not being an organ - builder. The family had 6 members who were active as organ-builders:
|Johann Eugenio||Casparini||Italy, Schlesien||1623 - 1706|
|Georg Adam||Caspari (ni)||Schlesien||1631 - 1682|
|Adam Horatio (Orazio)||Casparini||Schlesien||1676 - 1745|
|George Sigismund||Caspari||Ostpreußen||1693 - 1741(or 1749)|
|Adam Gottlob||Casparini||Ostpreußen, Lithuania||1715 - 1788|
|Adam Eugenius (Ignaz)||Casparini||Ostpreußen||17?? - 18??|
In several of his valuable pioneer treatments on Polish organs, Mr. Jerzy Golos attributes several of the here treated organs to an organ builder with the name Dominik Adam Casparini. This combination of names probably never existed for an organ-builder of the Casparini-dynasty, as was pointed out by McCREA & GRAHN (1995: 25)
Relations with that part of the family which called itself by the name of Caspari in stead of Casparini have not been totally cleared. It is possible that Georg Adam called himself Caspari, which makes it possible that Georg Sigismund was his son. GAUSE (1996: 111) places Georg Sigismund (Siegmund) as son of (pastor) David Caspari from Königsberg/Riga who, in turn, should have been a son of Johann Eugenio. Georg Sigismund would then have been a grandson of Johann Eugenio, while his father was the only member of the generation not to have been an organ builder.
If Georg Sigismund should be the son of Georg Adam however, he would have been a nephew of Johann Eugenio and clearly have descended from the organ builder dynasty. This descendance is adopted here.
The following reconstruction is based on BURGEMEISTER 1973 (132-143 and 310-311).
|Johann Eugenio||----||Georg Adam|
|Adam Horatio||Georg Sigismund|
Johann Eugenio Casparini and Georg Adam Caspari(ni) were brothers, sons of Adam Caspar(i).
Adam Horatio was the son of Johann Eugenio
Adam Gottlob was the son of Adam Horatio
Adam Eugenius was the son of Adam Gottlob
Georg Sigismund Caspari was the son of Georg Adam Caspari(ni)
FLADE 1926 and FLADE 1953 also provide an extensive account of the family-structure. The way in which GOLOS 1967 and GOLOS 1992 deal with the matter illustrates that there is still uncertainty about the names and number of family-members.
Some of the stops built by members of the Casparini-family are occurring only in (German) organs from their workplaces. Some of them are discussed here. Details can (sometimes) be found in SCHNEIDER 1958. A combination of several of these stops in an organ in Eastern europe, usually points to a member of the Casparini-dynasty or one of their pupils. It may be considered a proof of the beautiful (romantic?) sound their organs may have had, that the Casparini's were allowed to practice the use of, at the time, unknown stops.
Do you have any pictures or information about Casparini-organs? Please send me E - mail:
about Casparini-organs to: Dr Rob Kruijt, The Netherlands.
Last update: October 16, 2016