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Loviisa Church
  • Zachariassen, Jens Alexander 1898
  • 35 stops, 3 manuals and pedal
  • pneumatic action and pneumatic stop action

Loviisa Church was designed by G.Th. Chiewitz and completed in 1865. It is a red-brick cruciform church with elongated nave in early Neo-Gothic style. Jens Alexander Zachariassen built a three-manual organ in the loft above the main entrance some three decades after the church was completed. The Loviisa organ is the largest preserved Zachariassen organ anywhere and the only one with three manuals. It is a valuable instrument because of its size and its sound properties.

Veikko Virtanen repaired the Loviisa organ in 1971, adding a new choir organ and a fourth manual. The existing parts of the instrument remained practically intact. The Late Romantic sound did not change, but the new division expanded the range of tonal colour towards the bright tones favoured at the time of the repairs. The Oboe stop on Manual III was replaced during the repairs.


The faηade is exceptionally handsome in both design and details. The architect who designed the church participated in its design. The faηade is tripartite; the middle section consists of three flats, and the flanking sections of two flats each. The pillars between the flats rise up high, terminating in finials. Some of the faηade pipes belong to the great Principal stop of Manual II. The mouths of the faηade pipes have small ears. The faηade is amply decorated. Even the side walls, usually left fairly plain, are furnished with ribs terminating in pointed arches.

The organ is large, and the loft is limited in size. Because of this, the builder was forced to abandon the symmetry typical for the structure. The chests of Manual II (originally Manual I, since the choir organ is now played on Manual I) are stacked in two layers to the left behind the faηade. The Manual III division is behind the Manual II division and the maintenance space, and behind that, slightly higher up, is the Manual IV division. The Pedal division in its entirety is to the right.

Technical features

The chests are pneumatic stop channel chests of the kind developed by Zachariassen in the late 1880s. The action was originally pneumatic, but in the repairs it was converted to electro-pneumatic. The chests were fitted with relays, where a valve operated by the backfall magnet mediates between the electrical and pneumatic components. A similar change was naturally made to the stop action too.

The double-rise reservoir is located under the Manual III division. The bottom board is fitted with four wedge-shaped feeder bellows with pumping pedals, four pedals in all for two pumpers. In front of the pedals there is an indicator showing the position of the reservoir. A blower was later added for normal use. The wind trunks have been fitted with concussion bellows.

In the repairs, a new four-manual console was built in the middle of the lower part of the faηade. The old console was put on display in the church porch.

Musical properties

The action is slightly faster now that it is electric, compared with the fully pneumatic, but the feel or ‘touch’ is scarcely different. It is a large instrument and feels that way to the organist; it takes some getting used to.

The pipes are different from the ones that Zachariassen commonly manufactured in the 1870s and 1880s. The metal pipes have French mouths, with semi-circular termini to the upper and lower lips. The flue is open from side to side, whereas in earlier pipes the ends of the flue were soldered shut. The tuning slots are long and narrow, and flared in a round shape at the top with a diameter about twice that of the slot. The smallest pipes have tuning cups. In some of the character stops, the mouth is narrower at the top than at the bottom. Several stops have curved upper lips. Most of the pipes are turned with the lips facing backward.

The mensurations are typical of Zachariassen in their progression. They are expansive but not unusually broad. The comparatively loud sound stems from the high mouths combined with strong activation. The wind pressure is slightly over 90 mm in the neutral state but decreases by 7% to 8% with large combinations.

The German Romantic tradition is clearly evident in the disposition. The main division has numerous strong stops. The largest Principal is lower than normal, and there are two choir stops and a Trumpet too. Because a Gemshorn is almost equal to a Violin, there are two of these slender stops. There are also two great Flutes.

Manual III (originally Manual II) has a low stopped stop, several 8’ stops and two high overblown stops. A quiet solo reed stop rounds out the disposition. Manual IV (originally Manual III) is a small division with quiet 8’ character stops and two quiet octave stops. The Flauto dolce 4’ typical of Zachariassen may be found here. Closing the swell cabinet dims the sound of this division to almost nothing.

The large number of stops of the same foot length is remarkable. This arrangement is necessary for a varied palette of tonal colour and a gradual dynamic scale with frequent, almost imperceptible levels between fortissimo and pianissimo. Acoustic measurements demonstrate that the sound of the organ is even and controlled. The effect of volume on tonal colour is minimal, which is in keeping with Late Romantic principles.


Present disposition

Manual I C-g3 (1971)

Manual II C-g3

Manual III C-g3

Gedackt 8’

Principal 16’

Gedackt 16’

Kvintadena 8’

Borduna 16’

Principal 8’

Principal 4’

Principal 8’

Koncertflöjt 8’

Rohrflöte 4’

Flauto major 8’

Salicional 8’

Nasat 2 2/3’

Dubbelflöjt 8’

Dolce 8’

Waldflöte 2’

Gamba 8’

Flauto traverso 4’

Terzian 2x

Gemshorn 8’

Piccolo harmonique 2’

Scharf 3x

Octava 4’

Oboe 8’

Krummhorn 8’

Hohlflöjt 4’

Kornet 2-5chor

Mixtur 4chor

Trompet 8’

Manual IV C-g3

Pedal C-f1


Geig.principal 8’

Principal 16’


Liebl.gedackt 8’

Violon 16’

II-Ped 8’, III-ped 8’, IV-ped 8’

Flauto amabile 8’

Subbass 16’

II 4’, IV 16’

Aeoline 8’

Principal 8’

I-II, I-Ped

Voix celeste 8’

Violoncello 8’

Fixed couplers:

Salicet 4’

Dolce 8’

Manuals I and II: forte, tutti

Flauto dolce 4’

Octava 4’

Manual III: piano, forte

Bassun 16’

Pedal: tutti

Plenum: forte, fortissimo

Roller crescendo

Further information

Pentti Pelto: Kaksi suomalaista urkuperinnettä. Sibelius Academy, Vammala 1994.