About Casparini

The name of Caspari or Casparini is well known to anybody who takes interest in pipe organ history. This European dynasty of pipe organ builders was numerous and influential in XVII–XVIII c. Traces of their activities span from the Mediterranean Sea to the Baltic Sea.

Pipe organ 1703 by Eugenio Casparini at the Holy Sepulchre Church, Görlitz, Germany

Adam Caspar (ca 1590 – after 1665), a pipe organ master and mathematicus from Sorau, Silesia (present Žary, Poland), is considered to be the progenitor of the dynasty. Johann Caspar (1623 – 1706), son of Adam Caspar, came to Italy in 1642 after learning the trade and working in different locations in Germany. He stayed there for 40 years and made himself a name of a creative and ingenious master. In Italy, J. Caspar changed his name to Eugenio Casparini. His children and grandchildren already carried the name of Casparini. Because of the Italian sound of the name, many publications cite Casparinis as Italian masters. Unsurprisingly, Eugene Casparini has brought some ideas from Italy, such as the rank called Voce Umana, which proliferated in Middle European pipe organs in XVIII – XIX c. as Unda Maris. It makes sense to talk about Middle German – Silesian – East German pipe organ tradition that is characterized by certain Italian elements.

Adam Horace (1676 – 1745), son of Eugene that was born in Italy, worked in Breslau (present Wroclaw, Poland) after death of his father. This is where his son Adam Gottlob Casparini (1715 – 1788) was born. After studying from his father in Breslau and from the then famous Thuringian master Heinrich Gottfried Trost (1681-1759) in Altenburg (Germany), A. G. Casparini came to Koenigsberg in 1741. That year his cousin Georg

Organ by A. H. Casparini

Sigismund Caspari (1693 – 1741) died – a fine and influential pipe organ master who had been holding the title of the official pipe organ builder at the Koenigsberg palace. After beating his rivals, among which was Gerhard Arend Zelle from Vilnius, A. G. Casparini took over this prestigious title (privilegirter Hof Orgelbauer) in 1742. He built several dozens of pipe organs in Koenigsberg and in churches of the surrounding cities and villages that were highly appreciated by his contemporaries. There are known 68 works of A. G. Casparini, among them – at least 45 new instruments, others – repaired or renovated.

Though primarily he worked in East Prussia around Koenigsberg, he did some work in Lithuania as well. The master complained in 1744 that lack of work at home makes him travel far away – to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Groß Hertzogthum Litthauen).

Adakavo vargonai

The pipe organ in Adakavas

Unfortunately, most pipe organs of A. G. Casparini have been lost in the flames of WWII, and the remaining ones in the Soviet occupied part of the Small Lithuania (Kaliningrad District) have been destroyed by the regime. Parts of East Prussia have been transferred to Poland. Several pipe organs of A. G. Casparini have survived in churches there, though rebuilt and substantially mutilated. Only in Lithuania two well-preserved pipe organs of this master survived – in the Holy Ghost Church in Vilnius and possibly in Adakavas. The authorship of the later pipe organ, or more exactly its positive, has not been supported by documents. However, many signs suggest that it may have been built by A. G. Casparini or his associates. In Lithuania, there are no other surviving pipe organs of this master.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *