Cover Feature

Austin Organ Company, 

Hartford, Connecticut 

Opus 1215

St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hanover, Pennsylvania

The St. Matthew Lutheran congregation was organized on April 14, 1743. The present granite church building was completed in 1924 and is the fifth structure in which the congregation has worshiped during its long, continuous history. “Hanover, Penn., is the city made famous by Mr. J. Herbert Springer, St. Matthew’s [sic] Lutheran Church, and a grand lady . . . ” (“Organ in St. Matthew’s, Hanover,” The American Organist, October 1937).

Austin Organ Company’s Opus 1215 was born in 1924, installed following the construction of the current church building. It was conceived by J. Herbert Springer, organist of the church and given by Mrs. Clara Glatfelter Moul. The original instrument had a scope of 87 speaking stops and nearly 5,000 pipes. It was dedicated on January 13, 1925. The divisions of the organ were placed in chambers on both sides of the chancel and on both sides of the gallery. Over the years it has been enlarged to the extent that it ranks as the eighth largest pipe organ in the world, depending upon which website one were to consult. The organ currently has 14,470 pipes and 238 ranks of pipes. Wind for this massive instrument is supplied by four blowers which have a total of 37 horsepower. The main blower is located in the basement. The remaining three are located in the bell tower above the Echo chamber, supplying pressures varying from 7 to 20 inches water column.

While the organ was conceived in 1924, it was slightly expanded before the factory construction was complete. In 1929, Mr. Springer saw to it that the organ attracted much attention. He writes: “It is altogether fitting that for the finest rendition of this worshipful service, a great organ should be built, and the donor expressed willingness to make it complete and artistic in every detail.”  

Meanwhile, the organ was beginning to attract attention around the country as it was growing in size. William H. Barnes, in his regular column in The American Organist, “The Organ,” wrote: 

Mr. J. Herbert Springer, in his interesting account of the very large organ in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Hanover, Pa., makes the statement that though the church seats 1,200 people, and their present organ of 5,000 pipes is quite large enough for any use of the church, or for recitals too, for that matter, yet no great work of art was ever created purely from necessity. (The American Organist, October 1930, page 603).

In 1929, about 2,800 pipes were added to the specification. No sooner was this completed than the Echo division was increased from 10 to 21 ranks and a new console was necessary. As the work progressed on these additions a large loft was discovered above the chancel ceiling. The donor was willing to support Mr. Springer’s dream to create a 31-rank Solo division in this chamber. She went a step further and donated funds to cut a significant hole in the area by the Solo chamber roof to install a room that sticks out above the slate roof like an attic dormer (or as some say, an outhouse!). This chamber is home to the 19-rank String division. Following the addition of these 5,000 pipes and the new chambers, the organ was rededicated on December 1, 1931.

Further additions followed in 1934, as by this time, the fine old German organ music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was being rediscovered, appreciated, and played. This intricate, polyphonic music sounded best on an organ of bright, clear tone. The need was felt for still more brilliance in the higher pitched ranks of the organ. There was a new Great Diapason chorus (the new scaling and halving ratios as developed by Austin tonal consultant/director James B. Jamison); also included were new mixtures in both Great and Swell divisions and a brilliant new trumpet for the Swell. Several decades passed without further change to the instrument, although there remained a bequest from the original donor for the completion of Mr. Springer’s plans. In 1959 it became possible to proceed with another stage, an independent Pedal division. This involved the construction of a new chamber beside the Swell divison which would comprise 14 ranks. The Pedal division would speak through the Swell openings. This new section was completed and dedicated in 1964. At this time, the console was returned to the factory for a complete reconstruction. Also, further additions were made to the Solo, including the new Trompette Royale and Orchestral Horn, voiced on 20 inches wind pressure. In 1971, a few more stops were added, bringing the total count to 231 ranks.

During the next generation, the organ received regular maintenance, and in 1988, Mr. Fredericks added a mammoth 198-Bell Maas-Rowe Carillon to the organ. The carillon cost was covered by various memorials and gifts. Maas-Rowe manufactures unique electronic carillons that employ struck metal “miniature bells” to produce an authentic “live bell” sound. The carillon was playable from the console on the Solo and Great manuals plus Pedal, with the sound coming from either the Great or Celestial chambers or both simultaneously. The carillon also played from the church tower either live or from previously recorded files. Apart from a church building renovation with a new pipe façade in 1999, there were no large-scale, capital improvements made to the instrument. 

In 2007, Austin was summoned to Hanover once again to discuss the instrument with minister of music Scott Fredericks. A plan was developed by Mr. Fredericks with assistance from former associate minister of music Karen L. Buckwalter, and a contract was signed in 2011. The scope of the project was somewhat limited, due in part to the size of the instrument. While it would have been an awesome challenge to return the entire instrument back to the factory for complete reconstruction, budget and the church schedule would not permit the organ being completely out of service for what would be a number of years. With these limitations in mind, Austin was charged with replacing all chest actions, repairing various wind leaks, some cleaning and releathering regulators, and various other mechanical repairs and upgrades. Along with that scope of work, Austin built a new drawknob console and entirely replaced the 1920s-period cloth-covered wiring to meet current code compliance. Tonally, various flue and reed stops were returned to the factory for renovation and revoicing. The former Echo division was removed entirely. A new specification was developed and, utilizing some of the original pipework supplemented with new ranks, an Antiphonal division was created. Voiced on 7 inches wind pressure, this division was conceived as an “antiphonal voice” to reassert the Great plenum. It comprises a new principal chorus, from 8 Principal to Mixture, a flute chorus, three sets of strings and celestes, a brilliant Mounted Cornet, and three reed stops along with an independent Pedal 8Principal and 16Subbass.

Initially, there was some skepticism over the addition of some digital voices, but after a bit of experimentation, we certainly found justification for their inclusion. For example, the Pedal department is somewhat thin on the “Choir/Great” side of the chancel (incidentally where the console and choir are situated) and the Gallery Pedal was very small. As a result, it was very difficult to achieve a balanced registration. Also, the original organ had a 32 Bourdon and an ailing 32 Contra Bombarde. In an instrument of this size, it was reasonable to expect some variety in “sub-sub-bass” dynamic, and so several 32s were added in the chancel and gallery through the digital medium, along with some additional 16 and 8 Pedal stops. The Celestial harp was in need of repair but in light of cost and space issues a digital harp was added to the Celestial and a new Concert Harp was added to the Solo division. Several digital percussions were added including Pedal chimes, a glockenspiel, piano, timpani, cymbal, and bass drum. MIDI voices are available on all keyboards.

There was discussion about the fact that this somewhat large instrument would only have a four-manual console. It was decided with the various floating divisions and for ease of performance, choir loft visibility, and comfort, a four-manual console would be ideal. This sentiment was presupposed in the 1937 TAO article: “Mr. Springer showed exemplary commonsense when he required a four-manual console instead of a five. A five-manual console is excellent as a show-piece for theaters, but it’s an abomination to an organist. That fifth manual is in the way all the time; it throws everything else out of kilter.”

That being said, the organ is perfectly controllable, thanks to modern electronic systems, and guest organists seem to gain the confidence of comfort within a very few minutes seated at the console. Some of this is, in part, due to the very thoughtful layout worked in collaboration between Mr. Fredericks and Austin’s design staff. Every conceivable convenience has been integrated, and as a result, sitting at the console one has the instant sense of comfort, like slipping one’s feet into a well-worn pair of sneakers.

Tonally, the organ does not blow you away. It was never conceived to do that. This instrument was designed primarily as a service instrument. Mr. Springer wrote: “I do not feel that the liturgical service should be pushed aside for a performance . . . We put all our energies into the anthems and liturgy.” As Mr. Fredericks will often assert: “The St. Matthew organ will wrap you in its beauty: It has more variety of beautiful voices than any organ you may ever hear.” And it really is true.

The organ has been dedicated in a number of concerts. The first was presented by Richard Elliott on October 23, 2016, to a capacity audience. This recital was followed by a concert presented by Peter Richard Conte and Andrew Ennis (trumpet/flugelhorn) on November 20, 2016, to a similar audience. Future performances include those by Monte Maxwell, organist and director of chapel music, United States Naval Academy, who will perform April 23 at 4:00 p.m., and The King’s Brass and Tim Zimmerman with Karen Buckwalter on June 4 at 4:00 p.m. These are ticketed events (no charge). For tickets, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to St. Matthew Lutheran Church. See the church website for details: www.stmattlutheran.org.

One final thought comes from that 1937 TAO article: 

 

The era of struggling to make the organ smaller, smaller, smaller has about passed; and good riddance. A small organ is as poverty stricken as a small orchestra. When our great orchestras begin the process of reducing their forces to a dozen men will be time enough for the organ world to again try to reduce the organ to a dozen ranks.  Hats off, then, to a truly adequate church organ.

We are grateful to members of the Austin Organ’s family for their hard work completing this project: To Victor Hoyt, who spent untold hours working on mechanical systems in the organ, assisted by several members of the factory crew, field service folks and friends, including Michael Chiaradia, Colin Coderre, Curtis Hawkes, Arthur Herzog, and Pedro Flores. We also thank Nick Schroeder and Phil Swartz, who spent the entire summer of 2015 working in the church!  Much pipe repair was required and was completed by Stew Skates and Tony Valdez, assisted by John Rivera. Tonal work in the factory and onsite was completed by Dan Kingman, Annie Wysocki, and Mike Fazio. Layout and design executed by Floyd Higgins. Onsite tuning and regulating completed by Mike Fazio, assisted by Michael-James Hart and Ben Boellner. 

Deepest appreciation and admiration goes to Ray Albright and Bruce Coderre, who aside from building the console, coordinated the construction of several new chests and tirelessly worked to complete the mammoth project of rewiring the entire organ, installing thousands of new Austin actions, the control system, many chests, pipes, and parts for months on end. Without their faithful attention to detail, this project would not have had such a successful outcome.

—Michael Brian Fazio

President & Tonal Director

Great Organ –  Manual II

7 wind pressure

16 Double Diapason 61

16 Bourdon 85

8 First Diapason 61

8 Second Diapason 61

8 Harmonic Flute 61

8 Clarabella 61

8 Stopped Flute (ext Bourdon)

8 Violon Cello 61

8 Gemshorn 61

8 Gemshorn Celeste 61

513 Quint 61

4 Principal 61

4 Octave 61

4 Flute Ouverte 61

4 Lieblichflöte (ext Bourdon)

315 Tenth 61

223 Twelfth 61

2 Superoctave 61

2 Waldflöte 61

135 Seventeenth 61

IV–VI Mixture 12-15-19-22 330

V Fourniture 15-19-22-26-29 305

IV Scharf 22-26-29-33 244

16 Double Trumpet 73

8 Trumpet (ext 16)

8 Tromba 73

4 Clarion (ext Tromba)

8 Trompette Royale (Solo)

8 Orchestral Horn (Solo)

Piano (D)

Trompette Royale Melody

Swell Organ –  Manual III
7
wind pressure

16 Contra Geigen 73

16 Lieblich Gedeckt 73

16 Double Dulciana 97

8 Diapason 73

8 Harmonic Flute 73

8 Rohrflöte (inverted chimney) 73

8 Zartflöte 73

8 Holzgedeckt 73

8 Flute Celeste II 134

8 Quintadena 73

8 Violin 73

8 Viole de Gambe 73

8 Viole Celeste 73

8 Salicional 73

8 Voix Seraphique II 134

8 Dulciana (ext 16)

8 Dulciana Celeste 73

4 Principal 73

4 Octave 73

4 Flauto Traverso 73

4 Chimney Flute 73

4 Violina 73

4 Dulcet (ext 16)

4 Dulcet Celeste (ext 8)

223 Rohr Nasat (inverted chimney) 61

2 Fifteenth 61

2 Piccolo 61

135 Tierce 61

113 Larigot 61

V Sesquialtera 12-15-17-19-22  305

V Plein Jeu 12-15-19-22-26 305

III–IV Acuta 24-26-29 220

16 Contra Fagotto 73

16 Heckelphone 73

8 Harmonic Trumpet 73

8 Cornopean 73

8 Oboe  73

8 English Horn 73

8 Vox Humana 61

4 Clarion 73

4 Hautbois Octaviante 61

Tremulant

8 Trompette Royale (Solo)

Choir Organ – Manual I
7
wind pressure

16 Flute Conique 85

16 Contra Viola 73

8 Geigen Principal 73

8 Chimney Flute 73

8 Flute Conique (ext 16)

8 Flute Celeste 61

8 Quintaten 73

8 Viola de Gambe 73

8 Dulciana 73

8 Unda Maris (TC) 49

4 Principal 73

4 Waldflöte 73

4 Flute d’Amour 73

4 Viola d’Amoure 61

223 Nasard 61

2 Blockflöte 61

135 Tierce 61

113 Larigot 61

1 Sifflöte 61

IV Plein Jeu 15-19-22-26 244

III Zimbel 36-40-43 183

16 Baryton 73

8 Trompette 73

8 Oboe d’Amoure 73

8 Clarinet 73

8 Regal 61

8 Vox Humana 61

4 Rohr Schalmei 73

Tremulant

8 Trompette Royale (Solo)

8 Orchestral Horn (Solo)

Harp (Deagan) 61 bars

Solo Organ – Manual IV
10
wind pressure

16 Bourdon 73

8 Diapason 73

8 Grossflöte 73

8 Doppelflöte 73

8 Orchestral Flute 73

8 Dulzflöte 73

8 Gamba 73

8 Gamba Celeste 73

8 Violoncello 73

8 Violoncello Celeste 73

4 Octave 73

4 Flute Ouverte 73

4 Zauberflöte 73

223 Harmonic Stopped (12th) 61

2 Piccolo 61

II Terzian 17-19 122

IV Fourniture 12-15-19-22 244

16 Bass Trombone 85

16 Bass Clarinet 73

8 Trompette Militaire 73

8 Trompette Royale 73

    (20 wind pressure)

8 Tuba Sonora 73

8 Trombone (16)

8 Orchestral Horn 61

    (20 wind pressure)

8 French Horn 73

8 Corno di Bassetto 73

8 Bassoon 73

8 Orchestral Oboe 61

4 Clarion 73

Tremulant

8 Harmonic Trumpet (Swell)

Concert Harp (D)

String Organ – 10 wind pressure

16 Double Violes II 122

8 Violes d’Orchestre II 122

8 Violes d’Orchestre II 122

8 Violins II 122

8 Violas d’Amoure II 122

8 Violes Sourdine II 122

4 Octave Viols II 122

4 Viola d’Amore 61

III Cornet de Violes 10-12-15 183

8 Vox Humana 61

Tremulant

Zimbelstern (Klann) 4 bells

Celestial Organ – 7 wind pressure

16 Contra Salicional 61

8 Diapason 61

8 Hohlflöte 61

8 1st Unda Maris II 122

8 2nd Unda Maris II 122

8 Aeoline 61

8 Voix Celeste II 122

4 Octave 61

4 Harmonic Flute 61

4 Flauto Mistico II 122

II Rauschquint 12-15 122

8 Tromba 61

16 1st Vox Humana 73

8 1st Vox Humana (ext)

8 2nd Vox Humana 73

4 2nd Vox Humana (ext)

Tremulant

Celestial Harp (D)

Chimes (Mayland) 25 tubes

Antiphonal Organ
7
wind pressure 

16 Bourdon (1–12 digital) 49 

8 Principal 61

8 Melodia 61

8 Gedeckt 61

8 Gemshorn 61

8 Flauto Dolcissimo 61

8 Flute Celeste (TC) 49

8 Viola da Gamba 61

8 Viole Aetheria 61

8 Vox Angelica (TC) 49

4 Octave 61

4 Fernflöte 61

4 Dulcet 61

4 Dulcet Celeste 61

2 Fifteenth 61

IV Mixture 19-22-26-29 244

V Mounted Cornet 1-8-12-15-17  150

16 Double Trumpet (ext 8) 12

16 Waldhorn (ext 8 Corno) 12

8 Trumpet 61

8 Corno d’Amore 61

8 Voce Bassetto 61

Tremulant

Pedal Organ – 7 wind pressure

32 Open Wood (D)

32 Principal (D)

32 Sanft Bass (D)

32 Contra Bourdon (Solo ext.) 12

16 Contra Bass 32

16 Diapason (Great)

16 Contra Geigen 32

16 Violone Bass (D) (Choir)

16 Soubasse (D) (Choir)

16 Bourdon (Great)

16 Stopped Flute (D) (Choir)

16 Lieblich Gedeckt (Swell)

16 Violone 44

16 String Celeste II (String)

16 Viola (Choir)

16 Flute Conique (Choir)

16 Dulciana (Swell)

1023 Quint 32

8 Principal 32

8 Octave (Great Double Diapason)

8 Gedeckt 32

8 Violoncello (Violone 16)

8 Bass Flute (D) (Choir)

8 Flute Conique (Choir)

8 Viole Celeste II (Swell)

8 Dulciana (Swell)

513 Twelfth 32

4 Choral Bass 32

4 Super Octave (Great)

4 Nachthorn 32

4 Flute (D) (Choir)

2 Kleine Octave 32

2 Blockflöte 32

V Grand Cornet 12-15-17-19-22 160

IV Cymbale 22-26-29-33 128

32 Contra Bombarde (D) 20

16 Bombarde 44

16 Trombone (Great)

16 Fagotto (Swell)

16 Baryton (Choir)

8 Bombarde (16)

8 Trombone (Great)

8 Bassoon (Solo)

4 Clarion (Swell Harmonic Trumpet)

4 Trompette (Choir)

4 Rohr Schalmei (Choir)

Chimes (D)

Gallery Pedal – 7 wind pressure

32 Contra Bourdon (D)

16 Open Diapason (D)

16 Subbass 32

16 Bourdon (Antiphonal)

16 Violone (D)

16 Viola da Gamba (Antiphonal ext) 12

16 Salicional (Celestial)

8 Principal 32

8 Octave Bourdon (16Subbass) 12

8 Violone (D)

8 Viola da Gamba (Antiphonal)

4 Choral Bass (ext Principal) 12

4 Fern Flute (Antiphonal)

16 Double Trumpet (Antiphonal)

16 Waldhorn (Antiphonal)

8 Trumpet (Antiphonal)

4 Clarion (Antiphonal)

Chimes

Bells/Percussion

8 Celeste Bells (37 notes)* 

8 Harp Bells (37 notes)

4 Minor Bells (37 notes)

8 Major Bells (37 notes)

8 Symphonic Carillon (37 notes)

8 Flemish Bells (37 notes)

16 Pedal Bourdon Bell (13 notes)

8 Pedal Bourdon Bell (13 notes)

8 Pedal Flemish Bells (13 notes)

1 Slide Whistle 10 wind (Robert 

    Morton type)

Bass Drum (D)  

Cymbal Crash (D)  

Pedal Grand Timpani (D)

Pedal Minor Timpani (D)

Drum Roll (D)

Glockenspiel (D)

 

* All bells are Maas-Rowe

 

String, Celestial, and Orchestral divisions are floating and available on all manuals.

 

D = Walker digital stops

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt><dd><i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Email Subscriptions