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Heinrich Nikolaus Trebs (Organ Builder)

Born: August 10, 1678 - Frankenhausen, Thuringia, Germany
Died: August 16, 1748 - Weimar, Thuringia, Germany

The German organ builder, Heinrich Nikolaus [Nicolaus] Trebs [Tröbst, Tröbs, Trebes], was the only son of a carpenter and Frankenhausen citizen. He learned the craft of organ building in Salzungen with Christian Rothe.

Not much is known about H.N. Trebs, apart from the few organs he is known to have works on. His historic importance is based on his association with J.S. Bach; the two were certainly together during J.S. Bach stay in Mühlhausen, immediately preceded the latter’s departure to Weimar (1708). Trebs arrived in Weimar in 1709, probably at J.S. Bach’s request. He and J.S. Bach collaborated on a new instrument in Taubach, Dorfkirche (1709-1710; 2/11); J.S. Bach inaugurated thast organ on October 26, 1710. In 1711 J.S. Bach gave trebs a handsome testimonial., and in 1713 he and Johann Gottfried Walther became godfathers to Trebs’ son.

However, H.N. Trebs’ greatest claim to fame is his rebuild of the Weimar palace chapel organ (Ludwig Compernius, c1758) at the instruction of J.S. Bach himself. A contract for the alterations was signed on June 29, 1712. Of this rebuild little is known, except that eith J.S. Bach or the Duke of Weimar has determinded that the instrument should include Glockenspiel, and that great trouble was taken over obtaining bells from dillers in Nürnberg and Leipzig. Trebs’ work was playable by the middle of 1714 (2/24), having completed two weeks of tuning by May and received final payment in September.

H.N. Trebs and J.S. Bach collaborated again in 1742 (over 25 years after the latter left Weimar) when Trebs was building the organ on Bad Berka. He died and buried in Weimar. As H.N. Trebs died, the privilege was transferred to his second son, Christoph Wilhelm Christian, who was also active as an organ builder.

The following organs are known to be works of J.N. Trebs:
Taubach (1709/1710)
Frohsdorf (1721)
Weimar, Jakobskirche (1721)
Niederroßla (1730)
Bad Berka (1742/1743)
In addition, major repairs in Apolda (1722), Wickerstedt (1738) and the Weimar Palace Church (1712/1719).

 

Source: The organ: an encyclopedia by Richard Kassel (Author: Jürgen Ehlers & David Smit); German Wikipedia Website (March 2011), English translation by Aryeh Oron (March 2011)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2011)

Organ in Places associated with Bach

Place

Church

Organ [main specs]

Bach Connection

Bad Berka/Ilm

Marienkirche

Trebs Organ (1742: could not be found) [new: 28, II, P]

Organ examination 1742

Taubach

Dorfkirche

Trebs Organ (1710: not survived) [new: 11, I, P]

Organ examination 1710

Weimar

former Schloßkapelle

Compenius Organ (1658: not survived) [rebuilt by H.N. Trebs; 23, II, P]

Organist and chamber musician 1708-1717
Organ examination 1712-1714

Links to other Sites

Heinrich Nicolaus Trebs (Wikipedia) [German]

 

Bibliography

Hans Löffler: J.S. Bach und der Weimarer Orgelbauer Trebs. in: Bach-Jahrbuch. Band 23 (Leipzig 1926) pp 156-158
Landratsamt Weimarer Land (Hrsg.): Königin der Instrumente. Ein Orgel-Führer durch die Region Weimar und Weimarer Land (Friedrichshafen, 2007)
Ulrich Dähnert: “Organs Played and Tested by J.S. Bach”, in J.S. Bach as Organist: His Instruments, Music and Performance Practices, Edited by George F. Stauffer & Ernest May (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986)
Werner David: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orgeln (Berlin: Gebr Hartmann, 1951)
Harmut Haput: “Bach Organs in Thuringia” in J.S. Bach as Organist: His Instruments, Music and Performance Practices, Edited by George F. Stauffer & Ernest May (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986)
Reinhold Janering: “Bach and Trebs”, in Johann Sebastian Bach in Thüringen. Edited by Heinrich Besseler

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Last update: ýMay 1, 2011 ý14:10:06