During his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach was not just famous as a harpsichord and organ virtuoso; he also had an excellent reputation as an organ expert. From Lübeck to Karlovy Vary and from Mühlhausen to Dresden, people entrusted him with many, often well paid, organ inspections.


Residenzschloss Altenburg

Schloss 2-4
04600 Altenburg


In 1739, Johann Sebastian Bach was invited to the royal city of Altenburg to examine the organ in the palace church. It had been built over four years by the ducal court organ-builder Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost. With its tonal variety, coupled with its magnificent casing, the instrument is considered an outstanding example of baroque organ-building in central Germany.

Even Johann Sebastian Bach, who played Trost’s organ shortly before its inauguration in early September 1739, regarded its qualities highly. The organ was examined by Gotha court music director Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. Bach’s playing of the Altenburg organ was likely an unofficial examination of sorts, based on his friendly ties with Heinrich Gottfried Trost. A memorial plaque today continues to commemorate Bach’s time at the Altenburg palace church.

Thuringia 20 km