Opus 46 (2004)

2m + P 13 stops. House organ in North German style (after designs by Arp Schnitger and his family) for Dr Peter Rose, London.

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Peter Rose, writing in 2015, about his house organ, Opus 46:

The goal of Opus 46 was two-fold: to create an instrument that could render the great North German/Dutch repertoire of the Renaissance and Baroque periods in a convincingly authentic manner in a domestic setting, and secondly, to demonstrate that it is possible to construct a convincing house organ in the North German style both in terms of the tonal specification and of the case and facade design.

The instrument was conceived to stand in a room with a floor space of approx 5m by 5m, and with a ceiling height of 2.9m; the restriction imposed by the latter was the determining factor in both the internal layout and the proportions and design of the facade. By designing a very compact action it was possible to set the lower margin of the impost at 1.4m above the floor which permitted the Hauptwerk to have a classical "Hamburg" facade, incorporating the Prinzipal 4' (from D#) above a well-proportioned lower case and console. To save space, the seldom-used C# was sacrificed on both departments (the compass being C, D-c''').

The Positif department is accommodated in the space between the manuals and Pedal back falls, as in the famous Compenius organ at Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark; the longest pipes of the 8' flue are accommodated horizontally in two stacks at the back of the lower case.

The blower, a single-fold wedge bellow reservoir, the pneumatic tremulant, and Todestrommel (two beating pipes) are accommodated in an elongated case alongside the rear of the lower case, and the top surface of this case serves as a tuning gangway for the Hauptwerk.

In keeping with many North German and Dutch "Dorforgeln", there is no independent pedal or 16' register: the pedal can be coupled to either or both (manual) departments as required. Owing to restrictions of space, manual coupling is somewhat unconventionally Hauptwerk-Positif. Interestingly, this has proved to be probably more versatile than the more conventional Positif-Hauptwerk might have been.

Tonally and taking into account the constraints of space, the instrument was conceived to provide the basic tonal resources of a small North German instrument of the 17th century. Thus, the Hauptwerk carries the principal chorus of 4', 2' and Cymbel (2 ranks) in metal. This is supported by a Gedakt 8' of oak, as a stop of this material possesses a mellower, less "breathy" speech at close quarters than one of metal.

To provide contrast to the Hauptwerk, both principal and flute registers of the Positif are made of wood. In keeping with the North German tradition, the principal chorus is pitched an octave higher than the Hauptwerk, at 2', and carries a Quinte 1 1/3'. Apart from the Gedakt 8' on the Hauptwerk, the flutes are disposed on the Positif and consist of a lovely Floete 4' which is stopped in the bass and open in the treble, and a Plockfloete 2'. All these registers are supported by a beautiful, somewhat slow-speaking, wooden Quintadena 8', designed in the North German tradition.

Of great importance, if not essential, to the North German repertoire are the wide-scaled, gently-tapered Nasat 2 2/3' and the principal-scaled Terz 1 3/5' which have been placed on the Hauptwerk where they blend with the Gedakt 8' and principal chorus to form several striking tone colours. The tonal resources of the instrument are completed by a transparent-toned Trompet 8' on the Hauptwerk, and the contrasting, short-length double-conical Krumhorn 8' on the Positif where its gentler, buzzing tone, slightly rattling in the bass octave, complements the flutes admirably.

The Tremulant, Cymbelstern, Vogelgesang and Todestrommel complete the resources of the instrument as required by the repertoire.

Since completion, a delightful, interesting and unexpected distinction in the characters of the two departments has become apparent. The Hauptwerk looks back to the High Baroque, circa 1680-1700, and recalls the Hauptwerk departments of some of the one-manual Schnitger organs of that period, such as those at Dedesdorf, Eenum and Nieuwe Scheemda. In contrast, the Positif, with its Quintadena 8', wooden flue choruses and Krumhorn 8', presents an unmistakably early Baroque or late Renaissance flavour which brings to mind Compenius at Frederiksborg or the Brustwerk departments at Luedingworth or Steinkirchen. Despite their differing characters, the two departments balance well when played in contrast, and blend well when coupled.

Through my playing of this instrument over the years, I have found that a rich variety of tone colour can be achieved on this modest but versatile instrument. The absence of a 16' register is a slight limitation, but is not particularly restrictive, and experience with the Todestrommel has demonstrated that there is very marked variation in resonance in the contrabass octave throughout the room, so that a reasonably uniform level of sound at these low pitches is probably not achievable in this site.


Specification

Hauptwerk C - D to c"'
Gedackt 8' Oak and Walnut
Principal 4' 70% tin, in case facade.
Nazard 2 2/3' 25% tin, tapered bodies
Octave 2' 25% tin
Tierce 1 3/5' 25% tin, from tenor c
Cymbal II 25% tin
Trompet 8' 60% tin, half length bass
Unterwerk C - D to c"'
Quintadena 8' Oak and walnut
Gedackt 4' Oak, maple and walnut
Principal 2' Maple and walnut
Blockflote 2' Oak, maple and walnut
Quinte 1 1/3' Maple and walnut
Krumphorn 8' Resonators of 25% tin (double cone shape),
Shallots of rosewood, Blocks of Beech,
Boots of Oak


Tremulant to whole organ.
Parallel and flat oak pedalboard, with separate couplers to each manual.
Intermanual "shove" coupler.
Solid quartersawn oak casework and soundboards.
Wooden playing actions
Cymbalstern with six bells.
Nightingale.
Timpani (2 low-pitch beating pipes)
Stylistic gilded and carved pipeshades and other case decorations by the owner.

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