The neo-gothic cathedral of Billerbeck (Germany), dedicated to the honor of St. Ludger, was built in 1892–98. At that time, only a small organ was supplied because of the lack of funds. The organ had 32 stops and was built by Friedrich Fleiter from Münster. The historic organ case is still preserved today. In 1948, the organ was enlarged to 42 stops. The original two-manual organ console was re-used in the church of Aulendorf, where it remains today.
In 2001, an association of friends and supporters of the St. Ludger organ was founded and funds were raised for the construction of a new, large instrument. In 2008, Orgelbau Fleiter began to construct the organ, which was built in several stages and completed in 2014. Orgelbau Friedrich Fleiter was established in 1872 in Münster, and it has supplied numerous organs to churches of the Münster area for the past 150 years. Since 2007 the company is directed by Eberhard Hilse, who was the designer of the present Billerbeck organ. The instrument has 72 speaking stops distributed across four manuals and pedal.
The organ has been designed predominantly in the French symphonic style, although it incorporates elements from other traditions so that the result is an eclectic universal organ. It has five divisions: four manuals and pedal. The Hauptwerk and Chamadenwerk are located in the organ case on the right side (north side). The Schwellwerk is in the case on the left (south side). The Pedal sits at the back, behind both the historical cases and offers, among other stops, three 32' voices. The Rückpositiv on the balustrade of the organ gallery is enclosed in a swell box and contains 12 voices of mixed (French and German) traditions. The Hauptwerk and Schwellwerk voices were inspired by the French style of voicing developed by A. Cavaillé-Coll. The flutes of the Schwellwerk, including the mutations (aliquotes), are made of overblowing pipes. The Chamadenwerk offers solo stops in addition to the en chamade trumpets, namely the Vox Ludgeri, a clarinet-like reed, and the Flûte harmonique.
Special thanks to: Kantor Lukas Maschke, Martin Kondziella, and Eberhard Hilse.
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