CHRISTIAN, Johann Josef
(b. 1706, Riedlingen, d. 1777, Riedlingen)
Benedictine Abbey, Ottobeuren
The stalls and woodwork of the organ in the "Swabian Escorial" were done by Josef Christian, sculptor, Martin Hormann, cabinetmaker and Karl Josef Riepp, organ-maker, who together created one of the most beautiful musical instruments of all time. The relationship of masses and supports on the triple-storied organ, beneath the frescoed vault, the exuberance of forms in the cabinetwork and stuccoes, the variety in the sculptural vocabulary for the atlantes and the gilded reliefs - in themselves suggesting a harmony appropriate to 18th-century musical forms - combine in the ideal, total masterpiece that was to transmit the monks' prayers to the Heavens. It is the only 18th-century organ that still preserves entire its original form.