Porto, Portugal São Salvador de Moreira Monastery

More photos and information about the organ at the folowwing websites:
Website of Christoph Metzler: http://www.terz.ch/restaur/moreira.htm (Christoph Metzer was the restorer of all pipes in 2000)
For further details visit http://arpschnitgermoreira.blogspot.com/ and Facebook of Henrique Rodriguez (Organist of the church)

Text by António Mendes Melo, CCRN by E-mail 13 and 14 April 2000.

Recording by Sietze de Vries in 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdWsjHQO9N0

At the bottom of this page photos from Henrique Rodrigues from Portugal

Book about the Schnitger-organs in Portugal: Take a look at the bibliography

Photos by the organbuilder
Orguian Lda
Georg Jann Mestre Organeiro
Rua da Agra, 95
4470-0826 AVIDOS (V. N. FAMALICÃO)
Tel. (+00 351) 252 327 890
E-mail: orguian@iol.pt
Web: http://orguian.com 

Notice of the organbuilder with photos of several scriptures in the organ (in German)
Article of the organbuilder in the book "O Mosteiro Crúzio de Moreira - Historia Arte e Música".

Chronology of facts around the Portuguese Schnitger organs.

Since 25 June 1992, the specialists Mr. Uwe Droszella and Mr. Franz Thalhammer, and the German organbuilder Georg Jann (ORGUIAN, Santo Tirso, Portugal), have studied the organ of the Moreira da Maia Monastery, near Porto. They conclude that it is an authentic 1701 Arp Schnitger organ.

  1. The design, the proportions and the characteristics of the case and the pipes are in concordance with the principles used in other Arp Schnitger organs. The material and the manufacture are very good, like other organs exported by Schnitger.
  1. 1. The dimensions and proportions are also found back in Hamburg: 286,57 mm. It is possible that the case was made by Allart Meijer, sculptor in Groningen. It was possible for us to compare the tool marks with the ones found in the organ of Uithuizen (Groningen), built just before.


a overall height of the organ case 13,5’
b overall width of the organ case 7,50’
c height of the upper case 6,75’
  height of the lower case 6,75’
d height of the lateral tower of the upper case 5,00’
e height of the central tower - height of the lateral tower 1,75’

a : b = 9 : 5
a : c = 2 : 1
b : c = 10 : 9 : 2
b : d = 3 : 2
c : d = 27 : 20 = 13,5 : 10
d : e = 20 : 7 = 10 : 3,5
  1. The description equals the description by Siwert Meijer: 12 stops, 2 manuals and 1 bellows.

    Lower manual:

    1 Principal 4’ 2 Holzflöte 8’ (C-H closed, after cº open
    Upper manual:

    3 Gedackt 8’ (metal) 4 Holzflöte 4’
    5 Octava 2’ (metal) 6 Quinte 3’
    7 Quinte 1 ½ ’ (metal) 8 Superoctava 1’
    9 Sesquialtera 3f 10 Mixtur 4f
    11 Dulcian 16’ 12 Trompete 8’
  2. The organs of Faro Cathedral (Portugal) and Mariana Cathedral (Brazil) don’t fit the Siwert Meijer description. But, probably, their later date of construction accounts for the fact that this organ from 1701 was built along other standards.
  3. The Arp Schnitger pupils, Matthias Hartmann and Hans Henrich Ulenkamp, were working on the organ of Magdeburg, in 1701.
  4. In the interior of the organ , the organbuilder Georg Jann found Arp Schnitger's signature dated 9 May 1701.
  5. The organbuilder Georg Jann saw that the organ was changed to be played from behind so that it was compatible with the lateral balcony of the church. The organ has been restored and conserved with its primitive character. Work has been carried out to enlarge the lateral balcony. At the moment the organ is played from the front side. The intonation of the organ is being finished at this moment.
  6. In the extensive documentation concerning the monastery the researchers have not yet found any significant documents about origin and date of this organ. But we can think between certain limits: :
  1. The Arp Schnitger organ of 1701 - with 12 stops 2 manuals and without pedal - can play music from before J.S. Bach (and from this composer himself the music for harpsichord only).
  2. In the course of the XVIII century it is natural that the more important churches
  1. It is natural that a church contracts a new organ when the principal interior decorations are finished. The first Baroque carvings in the S. Salvador de Moreira Monastery are from 1730. Only at such a point of time is it natural to purchase a new organ.
  2. The inventory list of S. Salvador de Moreira from 1770 said that it was "an organ on a lateral balcony of the church". Was it the present organ?
There are several hypotheses:

1st - the organ came directly to Porto in 1701: Porto had extensive commercial relations with the north (London, Amsterdam, Hamburg) and the south (Africa, Brazil) There were Portuguese merchants in Amsterdam and Hamburg.The most important possibilities in 1701 are:

2nd - the organ came to Lisbon in 1701 and afterwards it went to Oporto: This date is a date of change in the political alliances with England, Holland, Germany and Austria. It is possible that 2 organs came from Hamburg or Groningen to the important churches of Lisbon (Royal Chapel, Cathedral, S. Vicente de Fora, Bemposta Chapel). But when did they come to the Moreira da Maia Monastery? The main possibilities are:

Gedackt 8'

In this moment, at the Municipal Library of Maia, there are microfilms of all the documents concerning the ancient Canonical Monastery of Moreira da Maia. Only a study of these documents can clarify the questions.

Porto, the 13 April 2000









2010: In July, Georg Jann came to Portugal for a revision of the organ, Photos of this revision you can find on the website http://arpschnitgermoreira.blogspot.com/.
Pictures from the restoration in a film.

 Photos from Henrique Rodrigues

Photos with text-signs of Arp Schnitger


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