Slovene Organ Builders in Croatia


  • Ladislav Šaban



Although organist Matthew, who repaired the organ of the Zagreb Cathedral, is mentioned in the Maribor archives already in 1501 and 1502, true contacts between Slovenia and Croatia were established only towards the end of the 17th century. Ever since, for nearly three hundred years, organs for Croatia have been ordered from mostly three Slovene building centres: Ljubljana (from 1688 up to today), Celje (only during the 18th century) and Maribor (from the latter half of the 18th century up to 1938). Apart from these centres, throughout the 19th century, there is a number of independent builders in smaller towns; however, their workshops were, the enterprize of one person or family only, lasting for a rather short period of time and usually terminated when the master died. Historically, older Slovene organ builders mostly transplanted building knowledge from various foreign centres. Thus, the organ builders of the 17th/18th century Ljubljana circle import influences from Southern Germany (I. Faller) or Salzburg (I. J. Eisl), those from Celje influences of the Czech school (I.F. Janeček, A. Scholz), whereas the Maribor builders bring in characteristics of the Styrian circle in Graz (S. + J. Otonič). In the 19th century, in the romantic period, the transition to which is represented by P. Rumpel from Kamnik, the Ljubljana circle takes the lead (A. F. Malachovsky, F. Goršič, F. Ks. Dev), followed by L. Ebner in Maribor, whereas in the 20th century, I. Milavec in Ljubljana, brothers Zupan in Kamna Gorica and J. Brandl in Maribor become the main representatives of modern organ building. This line finishes with F. Jenko. According to the organ inventory made in 1975 there exist in Croatia 153 organs built by Slovene masters from 1759 up to the present; of the number mentioned, 24 organs belong to the 18th, 24 to the early 19th century, whereas 106 organs were made since 1890. The article reveals 27 names of masters from Slovenia whose works have survived in Croatia; together with 16 names of other assistants there are altogether 43 organ builders that have been active in Croatia. In the appendix the catalogue gives the general data about the place and disposition of organs, whereas organs mentioned in brackets either do not exist any more or are known of only from archivic sources or press. Of the 762 organs registered in Croatia, one fifth originates from Slovene masters who represent the most numerous group of organ builders of non-Croat nationality. The aim of the article is to offer a kind of inventory of work done by Slovene builders in Croatia and thus to contribute to the history of building organs in Slovenia.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

Šaban, L. (1979). Slovene Organ Builders in Croatia. Musicological Annual, 15(1), 13–41.