Carl Frei Jr. and Sr. Remembered
By Wolfgang Brommer
|Dear friends, upon the death of Carl Frei Jr. we might take the opportunity to tell a little about the Frei family.|
Father Carl Frei Sr. was born April 4th, 1884, in Schiltach. When he was 14 he began his apprenticeship as a music designer with Firma Wilhelm Bruder und Soehne. Along with Franz Bruder II there were several gifted musicians, and there Frei made his first early music pieces.
In 1901 Frei went to the Gavioli branch in Waldkirch, and then in 1902 he went to the main Gavioli factory in Paris. He entered military service in 1906, and then changed to the Mortier firm, and by 1910 he was an independent organ maker!
The First World War interrupted his work; when he returned from Russia in 1919 he worked a short time with Alfred Bruder, and then in 1920 he travelled with his wife and son, Carl Jr., to Breda in Holland. Once again work was interrupted by war.
After WW2 the family returned to Waldkirch. Starting in 1950, up to today, the Frei's worked in the Kandelstrasse [the extension of the market street, beyond the church in Waldkirch].
Carl Frei Jr. was born November 7, 1912. When Frei Sr. died in 1967 he took over his father's business, and manufacured big organs with the graceful Waldkirch scales known as the "Frei Scale".
Likewise he was always well-employed with the construction of the 20-key hand-organs. In 1995 he officially closed the business, but he continued working hard. His wife died May 1, 1996, and starting then he wanted to do nothing more. Carl Frei Jr. passed away on March 25th, 1997, at the age of 85 years.
Only a few days ago Mr. Frei was still with us. We had ten years with him; we could hear much from him and question him. We will hold his works in honorary commemoration. With the death of Mr. Carl Frei Jr. a family tradition succumbs that was crucial to the success of the Waldkirch organs.
The Frei name heard world-wide is well known. His daughter lives in Waldkirch; daughter, son-in-law and grandsons will not lead Carl Frei's work further. Consequently it falls to us to take further the great history of the Waldkirch organ industry. The remembrance of Carl Frei, as all the great organbuilders here, will be our task and honor: to succeed in this and to carry the reputation further as "The Organ- building City of the World". We will honor the memory of Carl Frei Jr.
Heinz Jaeger und Wolfgang Brommer
Orgelbaumeister in Waldkirch
[ Translated by Robbie Rhodes ]
[ Wolfgang notes that there remain only two from the good old days:
[ Otto Wernet (almost 90 years) who arranged under Gustav Bruder, and
[ Siegfried Fromm, the last organbuilder to learn at Firma Wilhelm
[ Bruder Soehne. Wolfgang says, "When these two gentelmen die there
[ will be no one left who experienced the good old times."
(Message sent Sat 29 Mar 1997, 11:19:00 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)