Wilhelm Carl Friedrich Sauer (March 23, 1831 – April 9, 1916) was a Prussian pipe organ builder. One of the famous organ builders, Sauer and his firm built over 1,100 organs during his lifetime, amongst them the organs at Bremen Cathedral, Jerusalem's Church, and Berlin Cathedral, which is considered to be "his final great masterpiece".
Wilhelm Sauer was born in Schönbeck, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on March 23, 1831. He was the son of blacksmith and self-educated organ builder, Carl Adolph Ernst Sauer (1799–1873), and his wife Johanna Christine Elizabeth (1800–1882). His parents married in 1822. He was the brother of Johann Ernst Sauer (1823–1842).
When Wilhelm was seven years old, the family moved to the neighboring town of Friedland, where his father built a factory and started the commercial organ business. Wilhelm spent his youth there, attending school, with the idea that he would transfer to the Berlin Academy. However, when his older brother Johann died in December 1842, it was decided that Wilhelm would be the one to inherit his father's business and continue the work he had started building organs. Wilhelm received an early education about organ building from his father. He left home in 1848 to further his education in this business, including studying with E.F. Walcker (1851–1853) in Ludwigsburg and with Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in Paris.
In 1855, Sauer took over the management of the German crown branch in his father's factory, which had been opened there for the Prussian market in order to avoid customs duties. On March 1, 1856, Sauer finally opened his own business as Wilhelm Sauer, organ builder in Frankfurt (Oder), which grew quickly with temporary branches in Königsberg (1860). International orders soon followed. By 1882, he had completed 380 organs. In 1883, Sauer was awarded the Distinction of Akademischer Künstler and in the following year, on April 18, 1884, he was named by the cabinet as "Royal Organ Builder".
In his lifetime, Wilhelm Sauer and his staff built more than 1,100 organs. His largest and most famous organs are, amongst others, in Berlin Cathedral (1903, IV/113), Thomaskirche in Leipzig (1888/1908, III/88), and in Görlitz City Hall (1910, IV.72). Two of his 1897 organs are in Namibia: one in Windhoek's Christ Church and another in Swakopmund's Lutheran Church. In 1910, Sauer sold the company to his longtime manager and deputy Paul Walcker, son of E. F. Walcker.
At least ten of his organs were installed in Latvia.
He married Minna Auguste Penske in 1859, the daughter of a cantor, and the couple had a daughter named Johanna (1859–1887); she died in 1876. On 7 September 1878, he married his second wife Anna Bauer (January 18, 1848 – August 11, 1924). She was the daughter of a brewery owner and member of the city council in Potsdam. They had two sons: Wilhelm (1879–1962) and Franz Gustav Adolf (1883–1945 missing). His grandson, Wolfgang Sauer (1920–1989), went to the United States in 1964 and became a professor of German history at the University of California, Berkeley. Wilhelm Sauer's grave stone is now in Kleistpark in Frankfurt (Oder), where he died.
|1857||Dobbertin||Dobbertin Abbey||II/P||20||Built by his father Ernst Sauer; 1978, changes by Wolfgang Nußbücker (Plau); 1990, expansion of the pipework.|
|1898||Wuppertal-Elberfeld||Friedhofskirche (Wuppertal)||Teilsanierung 1995|
|1905||945||Fulda||Heilig-Geist-Kirche (Church of the Holy Ghost)||II||16||1990, restored to the original version of 1905|
|1906||981||Kloster Neuzelle||St. Marien Kirche||II/P||24||Reconstruction by Christian Scheffler, Sieversdorf, 2001.|
|1908||Potsdam||St. Nicholas' Church||III/P||49|
|1908||Bad Homburg||Church of the Redeemer||The sound of the "Fernwerk" appears in the above the altar.|
|1909||1025||Bad Salzungen||Stadtkirche Bad Salzungen||III||41||The organ was built according to the ideas of Max Reger, and restored from 1994 to 2000.|
|1910||Jerusalem||Augusta Victoria Hospital||The Sauer foot blower is still operational. Unique in the Near East as of 2011.|
- Falkenberg, Hans-Joachim (1990). Der Orgelbauer Wilhelm Sauer, 1831–1916: Leben und Werk. Orgelbau Fachverlag Rensch. ISBN 978-3-921848-17-3.</ref>
- Incorporated Association of Organists (1997). Organists' review. Incorporated Association of Organists. p. 326. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Blume, Friedrich; Finscher, Ludwig (2005). Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik. Bärenreiter. p. 1984. ISBN 978-3-7618-1134-4. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- American Guild of Organists; Royal Canadian College of Organists; Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (1992). The American Organist. American Guild of Organists. p. 69. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "History". Sauerorgelbau.de. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- The Organ. Musical Opinion. 1995. p. 151. Retrieved 8 April 2012. "For nearly 50 years the 1905 Wilhelm Sauer four manual organ stood, damaged and vandalised, in Berlin's Cathedral. It has been restored to its original specification by the Sauer firm..."
- Kassel, Richard (2006). The organ: an encyclopedia. Psychology Press. pp. 483–. ISBN 978-0-415-94174-7. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Mehlis, Georg; Kroner, Richard (1922). Logos: Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie der Kultur. J.C.B. Mohr. p. 162. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Green, Janet M.; Thrall, Josephine (1908). The American history and encyclopedia of music ... (Public domain ed.). I. Squire. pp. 266–. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Bush, Douglas Earl; Kassel, Richard (13 April 2006). The Organ: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press. pp. 21, 487–. ISBN 978-0-415-94174-7. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- Fiseisky, Alexander (August 2007). "A History of the Organ in Latvia". The Diapason (Scranton Gillette Communications) 98 (8). Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Gilbert Allardyce (July 1971). The Place of Fascism in European History. Prentice-Hall. p. 162. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Organ of the Church of the Ascension - Augusta Victoria". Israel Organ Association. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
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