Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Hans Hummel

[Humell, Hommel; Hans, Hannsen]

* about 1570, Nuremberg (Germany)
† 11.2.1630, Levoča

He trained as an organ builder in Germany. In 1608 he opened an organ builder's workshop in Krakow in Poland. On April 22, 1615 he signed a contract with the Levoča magistracy to build an organ for the Church of St. James in Levoča. He began work, however, only in 1624. Because the construction was delayed and became more expensive, tension grew between both sides. Furthermore, on the application of the Church authorities King Sigismund issued a warrant for him, in which he was accused of stealing tin pipes from the Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krakow. Hans Hummel died in a fall from scaffolding during the building of the Levoča organ (probably he committed suicide). A chronicler reported that an evil spirit flung him down.

In Poland he completed a number of notable instruments, the best-known being the organ in Olkusz (1612 – 1623). In Slovakia we know only of the construction of the two-manual organ in the Roman Catholic Church of St. James in Levoča, which was long regarded as the largest organ in the Hungarian domain.

Text: Marian Alojz Mayer