Yesterday, one day after the magnificent 40th Anniversary celebration of the Beckerath organ, twenty members of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists came to “The Marble Palace in the Sky,” (my condo) — for the members’ annual meeting and to see the newest pipe organ in Honolulu: the “box organ” built by Klaus Grüble of Kerpen, Germany. He already put a picture of it on his website which you can explore by clicking here.
The organ was delivered last Tuesday afternoon and came with one sheet of instructions (in German, of course!) and the movers said to me, “Do you know how to put this together?” and I answered, “He’ll put it together!” pointing to Hans-Ulrich Erbsloeh, the original installer of the Beckerath organ who came to attend Sunday’s concert. As he and his wife, Christiane, started to assemble the bench and music rack, I thought to myself, “This is just like buying something from IKEA! Some assembly required!”
Designed and built by Klaus Grüble of Kerpen, Germany, the case of the organ is made of maple, the pipes are white oak, and the keyboard is made of plum wood. The pedalboard was actually made by Rieger thirty years ago, but has never been used until now. Klaus said that when he heard the organ was going to Hawaii, he thought he would use the image of surfboards as an inspiration for the side panels!
By the time Hans had regulated the action and tuned the organ, it was nightfall before I was able to play the first notes and hear its sweet voice. And what a beautiful and mellow sound it has, just perfect for condo living — not too loud and not too soft, just right!
The instrument has just one rank of pipes, but has a unique coupling system so that I can play 8′ and 4′ on the manual, and 8′ and 4′ on the pedal, making it very versatile as a practice organ. I was even able to play a trio, “Herr Jesu Christ dich zu uns wend” from the Great Eighteen chorales, by playing the left hand part down an octave.
So last night, after a catered dinner in our 8th floor party facility, everyone came upstairs to see the little organ. What a lot of fun!