The German organ builder, Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost, was a member of a distinguished family of organ builders that included Christian Förner (1610-1678), builder of the Weißenfels court chapel organ and inventor of WATER GAUCH to measure WIND PRESSURE. After apprenticing with his father Johann Tobias Gottfried Trost (d 1721), T.H.G. Trost built the organ in Grossengottern (1714-1717, 2/26). He moved his residence to Altenburg in 1718 and became court builder there in 1723,. However, he remained active in Central Thuringia, winning the contract to build the largest instrument in the Walterhausen Stadtkirche (1722; 3/47; restored 1998). While it seems likely that J.S. Bach was familiar with the organ, it is documented that J.S. Bach played Trost’s organ in Altenburg castle chapel (1739, 2/37; restored by Eule, 1974-1976) in September 1739, remarking that it was durably built and that the organ builder had taken pains to voice each stop with its proper tone quality and delicacy.
The Trost organ at Walterhausen Stadtkirche was heard to be mild and elegant, unlike the powerful organs of Thuringian Trost’s Saxon contemporary, Gottfried Silbermann. Trost organs were known to J.S. Bach and admired by him, their plena are much less brilliant and thus easier to endure over many minutes of musical declaration, yet the sound is crystal clear and thus ideal for counterpoint. Very forward looking, the organ is a precursor to the gallant style prevalent fifty years later. Trost introduced new features to organs which are included in this rare, extant, example among the 30 organs he is believed to have built. As do other Thuringian organs, it emphasises fundamental tonality with a great number of 8’ stops, transmissions from the Great to the Pedal, mixtures with thirds, and unusual stops such as Unda Maris and Doppelflöte. Unlike earlier and north German organs, this epitome of the Thuringian organ does not follow the werkprinzip in the layout of divisions and casework.