Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Martin Zorkovský sen.

[Zorkowsky, Zorkofski, Zorgovsky; Martin, Martinus]

* about 1659, place unknown
† 15.8.1746, Kremnica

A prominent Kremnica organ builder. He was not only a burgher but also a member of the 70-strong Town Council in Kremnica and from 1726 a member of the more select Council of Twenty Four. In 1716 he paid 2 sovereigns 40 dinars to the town treasury in tax, which was a relatively large contribution. In the later period his sons Martin and Jakub helped him at his work. He was one of the well-known organ builders: in the register of the dead he was described as "famosus ille organifex". There are, however, circumstances which indicate that he did not always meet his deadlines. He is the first Kremnica organ builder to whom we can definitely attribute instruments that are still extant today.

Organ builder’s workshop

Only the output of five and eight stop Positives can characterise Zorkovský’s workshop, as no larger instrument nor even a note of the specification has been preserved. His work differs in detail from the then tonal practices in use. Among his peculiarities, there is, for example, the double provision of a two foot stop in larger positives and a preference for conical pipes. Equally unusual are the notes on which the Mixture breaks and chiefly the fact that Zorkovský provides the 1⅓’ rank, without considering whether it is an independent stop or part of the Mixture, consistently taking it up to c3 in the treble without breaking back.

Text: Marian Alojz Mayer