In Hungary, most of the historical organs have been destroyed in recent centuries. There are two main reasons for this. On the one hand, the organs were destroyed by frequent wars. On the other hand, many old organs were destroyed and new ones built in their place between 1880-1940. This was made possible by the country’s economic recovery and the attitude at the time, which favored its new construction rather than the reconstruction of old organs. During this period, 1-2 manual organs were built in villages and small towns, and 3-4 manual organs in larger towns, with a late romantic disposition. There were two large organ factories in Hungary at that time, the Rieger organ factory in Budapest and the Angster organ factory in Pécs, and these two organ factories built the majority of Hungarian organs. A significant part of my organ samples are also made up of products from these two factories.
The Rieger brothers founded the Budapest branch in 1894, which later became independent and was the most important Hungarian organ factory in the first half of the twentieth century. Its largest organ, with 70 registers, is located in the Cultural Palace in Marosvásárhely
(Târgu Mureş, Transylvania). After World War II, the company was nationalized, lost its name, and was primarily engaged in organ repair. Most of his new organs made at this time were of poor quality due to a lack of good raw materials, but the workers carried on the expertise of the Rieger factory. In 1976, the company was renamed the Aquincum Organ Factory
and was privatized after the regime change. The Aquincum organ factory has been the country’s leading organ factory for 2 decades and has produced many high-quality new organs. My sample sets also include several Aquincum organs. What the communists failed to achieve was realized by the market economy: by the beginning of the 2010s, the Aquincum organ factory became indebted, and then it had completely ceased its activities, ending the history of the Rieger organ factory in Hungary.
Angster organ factory in Pécs
The organ factory was founded by József Angster
in 1867. József Angster studied the profession in Vienna and other German cities, then studied for three years at Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in Paris. He was involved in building the organ of Notre-Dame. Returning home to Pécs, he soon became the leading organ manufacturer in Hungary. Initially he built mechanical and then pneumatic organs, his organs reflecting the influence of Cavaillé-Coll. After his death in 1918, organ production was continued by his children. In 1949, the Communists closed the factory without a successor. The organ builders pulled themselves together in the organ repair workshop of the Pécs Cathedral and passed on their knowledge to the next generation.
The Pécs Organ Manufactory
(POM) was founded in 1992 by Attila Budaváry. The ancestors of the founder were the defining masters of the Angster organ factory, so POM considers itself the legal successor of the Angster organ factory. POM has produced a number of good quality neo-baroque organs and organ replicas in recent decades. Their biggest work is the organ of the Budapest Palace of Arts
, which was built in 2006.
Other Hungarian builders
In addition to the two large organ-building factories, several small companies have operated and continue to operate in the past and present. You will find organs from the following smaller manufacturers among my samples.
Foreign organ producers
This is a very heterogeneous group. Among them are organs made by foreign companies for Hungarian orders (eg Jehmlich organs, Buckow
organ, Mauracher). Other foreign organs were given as gifts by Hungarian churches (Klais, Stahlhuth, Walcker, Ziegler). Again, I made sound samples of other organs in co-production (e.g. Aeolian-Skinner, Grenzing, Mascioni).
Grouping of samples by organ builders