(b Karow, nr Genthin, 13 April 1690; d Salzwedel, Altmark, 23 May 1749). German organ builder. He was probably taught by Matthias Hartmann of Magdeburg (a pupil of Arp Schnitger), and he worked for two years with Gottfried Silbermann in Freiberg, together with Zacharias Hildebrandt (from Silesia).
In 1719 Wagner built his first organ (Marienkirche, Berlin). At that time he set up his business in Berlin and immediately became the leading Prussian organ builder. In the following 30 years he built nearly 50 organs, including several in Berlin (his largest being in the Garnisonkirche), Potsdam (Erste und Zweite Garnisonkirche), Brandenburg (Cathedral (extant), St Katharinen, Gotthardkirche), Magdeburg (Heiliggeistkirche), Wusterhausen (St Peter und Paul; extant), Angermünde (extant), and Trondheim Cathedral, Norway (extant). Wagner's highly individual style derives from his synthesis of north German and Silesian styles with that of Silbermann, combined with his own new ideas and inventions.
Wagner's specifications are based on that of the Silbermann organ in Freiberg Cathedral (1710–14; seeOrgan, §V, 11, esp. Table 21 and Y.doc - S49194fig.42. Wagner adapted this model according to the size of his organs and added new features. The specification of the pedal organ is the same in his medium organs as in his large ones; therefore a coupler to pedal is not necessary. The Mixture in the Hauptwerk is a Scharff (Ger.: ‘sharp’, i.e. five ranks including a Tierce). If there is a Principal 16' in the Pedal, there will also be a conical Gembshorn 8' in place of an Octava 8'. Usually there is a Quinta 6' in the pedal organ. All Wagner organs have a compass of CD–c''' in the manuals, and CD–c' or d' in the Pedal. Wagner's style was copied by his pupils Peter Migendt, Ernst Marx, and Gottlieb Scholtze (who completed Wagner’s last organ at St Marien, Salzwedel, in 1751).
J.F.Walther: Die in der königlichen Garnisonkirche zu Berlin befindliche neue Orgel (Berlin, 1727)
H.H.Steves: ‘Der Orgelbauer Joachim Wagner’, AMf, iv (1939), 321–58; v (1940), 17–38
W.Bergelt: Die Mark Brandenburg: eine wiederentdeckte Orgellandschaft (Berlin, 1989)
W.Bergelt, D.Kollmannsperger and G.Raabs: ‘Joachim Wagner und sein Werk’, Der Orgelbauer Joachim Wagner (1690–1749), ed. E. Thom (Michaelstein, 1990), 5–31
Wagner, Johann Gottlob [Jean Théophile]
(b Medingen, 4 June 1741; d Dresden, 21 July 1789). German maker of harpsichords, clavichords, organs and pianos. He was a pupil of the Silbermanns before he established his business in Dresden. His younger brother, Christian Salomon Wagner (b Medingen, 1754; d Dresden, between 1812 and 1816), joined him as a partner in 1773, and assisted him in the invention of the clavecin royal in 1774. This was a four-and-a-half- or five-octave square piano, with the compass usually between F' and f''', and its action (illustrated in Harding and Cole) was a modification of Cristofori's, with different dampers and no intermediate lever. The wooden, uncovered hammers produced a tone resembling that of the harpsichord, and there were usually at least three stops operated by knee-levers: ‘Harfe’ (where a bar covered with shag is lowered on to the strings), ‘pianissimo’ (or half-blow, as the hammers are moved nearer the strings) and ‘forte’. Surviving clavecins royaux include examples at the Brussels Conservatory, the Bachhaus, Eisenach, and the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg.
After Johann's death Christian continued the business. In 1796 he invented a three-manual harpsichord (which he also called clavecin royal) and a method of quilling harpsichords, which he said made the replacement of quills unnecessary. The number of pianos and harpsichords that left their workshop is thought to have exceeded 800.
R.E.M.Harding: The Piano-Forte: its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Cambridge, 1933/R, 2/1978/R)
H.Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente in Bachhaus Eisenach (Eisenach, 1976)
M.Cole: The Pianoforte in the Classical Era (Oxford, 1998)
Wagner, Johann Michael
(b Schmiedefeld, 1727; d Schmiedefeld, 1801). German organ builder. With his brother Johann Christoph Wagner (b Schmiedefeld, c1725; d after 1770), Johann Michael (i) was the most prominent member of a family of organ builders resident over several generations in Schmiedefeld, Thuringia. The family history is not completely clear. Other members active as organ builders in the same workshop were Johannes Wagner (1733–1804), Johann Michael (ii) (1760–99) and Johann Friedrich (the two sons of Johann Michael (i)), Johann Michael (iii) (1798–1876), and Johann Gottlob (1771–1800). At various times members of the family worked with other organ builders: Johann Michael (i) was with Hofmann in Gotha from 1741 to 1747, and from 1747 to 1751 he worked with Johann Caspar Beck of Herrenbreitungen on the rebuilding of the organ in the Stadtkirche, Laubach, Hessen. He also collaborated with Johann Caspar Holland on the organ of the Kreuzkirche, Dresden (1789), one of the greatest of the Wagner instruments. He served as court organ builder to the principality of Bernburg, although his application in 1755 for the same position in Altenburg, to succeed T.H.G. Trost, was unsuccessful.
The Wagner workshop in Schmiedefeld supplied organs as far away as Saxony and the Netherlands. The specifications of the Wagner’s instruments display typical characteristics of central German organs of the 18th century: full Principal chorus, mutation stops and relatively copious reeds, but also various flute stops. Mixtures contain the Terz. The Wagners made their cases in the Rococo style. One innovation of the Wagner brothers – the division of wind in the main wind-trunk – became especially influential. Other organs by the Wagners (it is often not possible to ascribe instruments to particular family members) include those at Döschnitz (1750–1), St Marien, Suhl (1757–62), Vachdorf (1770), Schmiedefeld (1770), the Groote Kerk, Arnheim (1770), and Gersfeld (1784–7). They were also active as piano makers. Johann Andreas Heinemann was a partner in the Wagner workshop before setting up on his own in Laubach.
U.Dähnert: Historische Orgeln in Sachsen (Leipzig, 1980)
H.Fischer and T.Wohnhaas: Lexikon süddeutscher Orgelbauer (Wilhelmshaven, 1994)
H.Haupt: Orgeln in Ost- und Südthüringen (Bad Homburg, 1995)