1761-2005 Johann-Andreas Silbermann/Metzler Organ

Arlesheim Cathedral  /Baselland, Switzerland


Short Introduction and History

The French style organ of Arlesheim – the only Silbermann instrument remaining in Switzerland – currently comprises 36 stops, divided over three manuals (Great, Choir, Echo) and Pedal. German influences include the full compass 16-foot Pedal and certain stops such as the Sifflet 1‘.

Silbermann‘s later works, which include this instrument, have Mixtures with a higher composition causing them to sound brighter and sharper. J. A. Silbermann expanded the concept of the French half-compass Echo division to include the full compass by adding a Fagott 8‘ to the bass along with a Prestant, Nazard and Doublette. The treble is comprised of a Cornet composé.

A landmark restoration and reconstruction of the instrument, along with additions to the Pedal division, took place in 1959-1962 by the Swiss Metzler company. Additional work followed in 1981-2005.

The Arlesheim organ is currently considered the most important work of Johann Andreas Silbermann and allows the interpretation of  most Baroque and early Romantic organ literature.

This famous organ is especially well-known by the complete Bach recordings of Lionel Rogg/CH in 1970.
The church has a wonderful warm and rich acoustics with up to 5 s reverberation.

See Location in Googlemaps


Recording technique

The organ was recorded in May 2008 with 48 kHz, 24 bit, multi-channel for Hauptwerk 3, using the multi-release technique introduced by OrganArt.
The stops were recorded with multiple releases for short, medium and long key attacks for optimal acoustical mapping.
All ranks were additionally recorded with the original tremulant sound (except Bourdon16, Fourniture and Cymbale)


I would like to thank titular organist Jean-Claude Zehnder and the parish of Arlesheim for supporting this project.
Special thanks are due to Wilfried Schnetzler, CH, for setting up contacts and Peter Koller for local assistance

Virtual Console



Organ Temperament: Vallotti temperament, a1= 415 Hz  ("Italian chamber tone")

Positif (C–c3)*

01. Bourdon 8
02. Prestant 4
03. Flûte 4
04. Nazard 2 2/3
05. Doublette 2
06. Tierce 1 3/5
07. Larigot 1 1/3 (M)
08. Fourniture 3fach  (M)
09. Cromorne 8'  (M)

Hauptwerk (C–e3)*

01. Bourdon 16
02. Montre 8
03. Bourdon 8
04. Prestant 4
05. Nazard 2 2/3
06. Doublette 2
07. Tierce 1 3/5
08. Sifflet 1
09. Fourniture 3fach  (M)
10. Cymbale 2fach  (M)
11. Cornet 5fach **
12. Trompette 8 (M,W)
13. Voix humaine 8  (M)

** Cornet: c1- c3

Récit/Echo (C–c3)*

01. Bourdon 8
02. Prestant 4
03. Nazard 2 2/3
04. Doublette 2 (M)
05. Tierce 1 3/5 (c1(M)
06. Basson/Trompette 8  (W,M)

Pedal (C–d1)*

01. Subbass 16
02. Octavbass 8
03. Quinte 5 1/3  (M)
04. Prestant 4  (M)
05. Fourniture 3fach (M)
06. Bombarde 16 (M)
07. Trompette 8  (M)
08. Clairon 4  (M)




Tremulant Hauptwerk + Echo
Tremulant Positif

* Extended Mode:
Manuals C–f3
Pedal C–f1

Pipework original by Johann Andreas Silbermann, except
Metzler 1962
Wegmann/Alsace 1840

Blower System
Two one-fold wedge bellows (Edskes 1998), electric blower
Wind pressure: 66 mm


Loaded Version

Memory Requirements 3)

Processor Speed 2)

16-bit, compressed1), all loops

4500 MB

≥ 2 GHz  DualCore

20-bit, compressed, all loops

6600 MB

≥ 2 GHz DualCore

24-bit, compressed, all loops

7900 MB

≥ 2 GHz  DualCore

Lossless compression (no loss of sound quality!)

Minimal configuration (Single loop loading, some ranks disabled): Dual-Core, 4 GByte RAM
Optimal configuration: QuadCore, 8 GByte RAM

3) To load this organ into Hauptwerk you will need enough free memory in your computer, due to the amount of playable stops, not including the operating system or any other programs that may be running!         

We recommend a professional audio card (e.g. RME-Series) and a studio headphone (e.g. AKG Reference Headphone K701, K712) for optimal sound and room impression.


The following demo pieces were recorded with the Hauptwerk Advanced Edition software and the virtual organ sample set, with no additional effects processing:

Under construction

Numerous other live recordings can be found on the ConcertHall Website
(Advanced Search "OAM - J.A. Silbermann-Metzler, Arlesheim")

© OrganArt Media, all rights reserved
No demo sounds may be used or transmitted in any form for public purposes without the prior written permission of the publisher!

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