The Beckerath positiv organ

This organ used to be owned by the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.

This Beckerath organ used to be owned by the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. The two sets of knobs control the bass and treble parts of the keyboard.

Carl and I Carl had just finished playing a recital on the Beckerath positiv organ, which was later sold to Holy Innocents Episcopal in Maui.are in front of the Beckerath positiv organ, which was later sold to Holy Innocents Episcopal in Maui.

Carl had just finished playing the dedication recital (Jan. 1977) on the Beckerath positiv organ after it was moved to Maui.

I realize that when I wrote the last post, I didn’t clarify some of the details about the continuo organ at LCH at the first service I ever played here. It was the OTHER continuo organ, also called a positiv or positive, which the church purchased as an interim instrument when they decided to replace the aging and ciphering Aeolian organ. Yes, that’s right, instead of buying an electronic organ, they bought a real but small pipe organ from the firm of Rudolf von Beckerath to serve as an interim instrument while the larger organ was being built. It is larger than the church’s present continuo organ because it has more ranks of pipes (8 versus 3) and has a pedalboard. For you organ types, the specification can be viewed by clicking here.

A portative organ can sit in your lap.

A portative organ can sit in your lap.

From the St. Bartholomew Altarpiece.

From the St. Bartholomew Altarpiece.

You’ll hear small organs sometimes referred to as portative but this probably refers to organs which you can put on your lap, with one hand pumping the bellows and the other playing a small keyboard.  There is a famous painting of a woman playing a portative from the St. Bartholomew altarpiece (c. 1473-1480, 1510).

Anyway, back to the Beckerath positive organ — for a period of two years, the church enjoyed having the two organs on opposite sides of the nave, and it was great fun playing double organ concertos and alternating stanzas on the hymns. [Note: Since 2000, the church again has two organs.] Because the positiv organ had been used in a church in Sweden and had been pitched at A=444, it was decided to pitch the large organ also at A=444. Normally standard pitch is considered a=440. Apparently the higher pitch was more stable in the colder environment.

Clay came over from Maui for his lesson today.

Clay came over from Maui for his lesson today.

The present organist of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church is Clayton Logue who comes over from Maui about once a month for a lesson with me. A feature of that organ (as well as that of the present LCH continuo organ) is that it has a split keyboard.  That means it is possible to program (register) the bass and treble sections of the keyboard with different stops, to create a melody and accompaniment effect. Clay is really using his imagination to play a wide variety of repertoire on this organ! Some people could consider a one-manual organ limiting but one thing is certain, it forces one to become a better musician.

Carl is standing next to the Beckerath positiv organ, with McNeil Robinson standing on the organ platform.

Carl is standing next to the Beckerath positiv organ, with McNeil Robinson standing on the organ platform. Look closely! the fire exit door had not yet been punched out.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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One Response to The Beckerath positiv organ

  1. Paul K Lee says:

    Jinny remember Sundays – beautiful music

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