Christ Church, United Methodist - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
 
Click on images to enlarge
Christ Church, United Methodist

520 Park Avenue at 60th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021
http://www.christchurchnyc.org



Organ Specifications:
520 Park Avenue at 60th Street (since 1933)
IV/76 Casavant Frères, Op. 2588 (1960); rev. 1997
• III/ Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Inc., Op. 293-C (1933)
IV/86 W.W. Kimball Co. (1932) – not installed
Madison Avenue at 60th Street (1884-1933)
III/30 Hutchings-Votey Organ Co. (c.1903)
III/34 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 201 (1883)
           
Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church - New York City (photo: Byron Company, 1896)  
Madison Avenue M.E. Church
 
   
   
The church known today as Christ Church, United Methodist, began with the organization on October 16, 1881, of the Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. This society was founded to provide a Christian ministry for the increasing number of affluent families then establishing homes on the east side of Central Park; many of the group that formed the new church came from the Fourth Avenue M.E. Church located at 23rd Street. A corner lot measuring 100 feet on Madison Avenue by 89 feet on East 60th Street was purchased on December 24, 1881, and the cornerstone for a church was laid on July 31, 1882. Designed in the Romanesque style by R. H. Robertson, the church was constructed with Belleville stone and was notable for its open bell tower that rose 175 feet above the main entrance on Madison Avenue. The auditorium was finished in antique oak with tinted walls and could accomodate 750 persons in large and comfortable pews. There were galleries on all four sides, with the organ loft and choir situated in the gallery on the left side. The pulpit stood on a platform under an arch, and above the nave and aisles was a barrel-vaulted ceiling that provided excellent acoustics. Built from 1881-83 at a cost of $160,000, the church was dedicated on November 11, 1883.

From the beginning, the church had the full assortment of activies: worship services for all ages, welfare work, social service, strong missionary spirit, the full complement of committees and societies and social life among its members. The congregation was active in various institutions supported by Methodism in and near New York City, and its members numbered among representatives in the national undertakings of the denomination. By the early 1920s, it became apparent that the building was inadequate to meet growing needs. An adjoining lot at 31 East 60th Street was purchased for expansion, but it was decided that a new site should be acquired in the immediate neighborhood for a more modern and spacious building. Early in 1929, the present site measuring 90 feet on Park Avenue by 119 feet 9 inches on 60th Street became available, and on April 29, 1929, a contract was signed to purchase the present site at the northwest corner of Park Avenue and East 60th Street. The seller purchased the Madison Avenue site, including the 31 East 60th Street lot, but possession was to be delivered only after the new church on Park Avenue could be sufficiently completed to accomodate the congregation and its organizations. Title was taken September 30, 1929, the eve of the stock market crash. On November 19, 1930, the corporate name of the church was changed to "Christ Church, Methodist Episcopal, of New York City."

Christ Church, United Methodist - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)  
   
   
In the early 1930s, Dr. Ralph Adams Cram was hired to design the new church on Park Avenue. Cram, who was perhaps best known for his Gothic churches, combined Romanesque and Byzantine styles in his design, creating a well-proportioned exterior that takes its place harmoniously among its taller and more massive neighbors. Cram's plans provided for a church seating 800 people, an adjacent chapel that seated 110, and a parish hall that would seat 250. The parish house included a gymnasium, women's parlors, a men's lounge, clubrooms, Sunday school rooms and administrative offices. On November 15, 1931, the cornerstone was laid for the church that was estimated to cost $3 million, defrayed by the sale of the Madison Avenue church property. Additional funding would come from the sale of the Sixty-first Street Methodist Episcopal Church, which merged into Christ Church on November 3, 1933. A few weeks later, on November 26, 1933, Bishop McConnell officiated at the dedication of the nave and chapel. However, the bare concrete walls would not be decorated with mosaics for another fifteen years, due to financial conditions and, later, shortages brought on by World War II. Work resumed on the interior in 1948 and was completed in summer 1949.

Christ Church was known throughout the country as the home of the National Radio Pulpit, featuring the Rev. Dr. Ralph W. Sockman on NBC radio, from 1928 to 1962. Dr. Sockman was associated with Christ Church for 50 years, from 1911 until his retirement on December 31, 1961. He was minister emeritus until his death on August 29, 1970.
           
  Casavant Frères organ, Op. 2588 (1960) at Christ Church, United Methodist - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Casavant Frères, Limitée
St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada – Opus 2588 (1960)
Electro-pneumatic key action
Solid-state stop and combination action
4-manual Casavant drawknob console in Chancel
3-manual Austin stopkey console in Nave (1982)
4 manuals, 72 stops, 76 ranks






The present organ in Christ Church was designed by Lawrence Phelps of Casavant Frères, Ltée., and installed in 1960. The organ is divided on two sides of the chancel with no facade pipework, and the Echo-Antiphonal division is enclosed in a chamber above the rear gallery of the church. In 1982, a three-manual movable Austin console was added for use in the nave. Casavant returned in 1997 to install a solid-state memory system, and again in 1999 to add the Trompette en chamade in the gallery.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Violone
61
2
  Super Octave
61
8
  Principal
61
1 2/3
  Fourniture IV ranks
244
8
  Gedackt
61
2/3
  Cymbal IV ranks
244
8
  Gemshorn
61
8
  Trompette Harmonique
CH
4
  Octave
61
    Chimes
CH
4
  Chimney Flute
61
    MIDI  
2 2/3
  Quinte
61
 
     

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblichgedackt
68
16
  Bombarde
68
8
  Geigen Principal
68
8
  Trompette
68
8
  Rohrflöte
68
8
  Hautbois
68
8
  Viole de Gambe
68
8
  Vox Humana
68
8
  Voix Céleste [GG]
61
4
  Clarion
68
8
  Spitzflöte
68
    Tremulant  
8
  Spitzflöte Céleste [GG]
61
    Chimes
CH
4
  Principal
68
    Swell 16'  
4
  Flûte Ouverte
68
    Swell Unison Off  
2
  Octavin
61
    Swell 4'  
2 2/3
  Sesquialtera II ranks
122
    MIDI  
2
  Plein Jeu VI ranks
366
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Viole
68
8
  Krummhorn
68
8
  Viole Céleste [GG]
61
8
  English Horn
68
8
  Concert Flute
68
4
  Rohrschalmei
68
8
  Gedackt
68
8
  Trompette Harmonique
68
8
  Dulciana
68
    Tremulant  
4
  Prestant
68
    Chimes *  
4
  Koppelflöte
68
    Harp *  
2 2/3
  Rohrnazard
61
    Celesta *  
2
  Blockflöte
61
 
  Choir 16'  
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
 
  Choir Unison Off  
1
  Sifflöte
61
 
 
Choir 4'
 
1
  Scharf III ranks
183
    MIDI  
16
  Fagott
68
   
* from previous organ

     

     
Echo-Antiphonal Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Principal
68
8
  Trompette en chamade **
61
8
  Cor de Nuit
68
    MIDI  
8
  Violes Célestes II ranks
129
       
4
  Gemshorn
68
16
  Echo-Antiphonal Pedal
12
8
  Trompette
68
   
Cor de Nuit [ext. 8']
 
    Tremulant      
** added by Casavant in 1999;
uses orig. Viole Céleste drawknob
    Antiphonal 4'      

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Bourdon [ext.]
12
2 2/3
  Mixture IV ranks
128
16
  Principal [metal]
32
32
  Contra Bombarde [ext. Tbn.]
12
16
  Bourdon
32
16
  Trombone
32
16
  Violone
GT
16
  Bombarde
SW
16
  Lieblichgedackt
SW
16
  Fagott
CH
8
  Principal
32
8
  Trumpet [ext. Trombone]
12
8
  Gedacktpommer
32
8
  Fagott
CH
8
  Flûte
SW
4
  Clairon [ext. Trombone]
12
8
  Cello
GT
4
  Fagott
CH
4
  Choralbass
32
    Chimes
CH
4
  Rohrflöte
32
    MIDI

               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Great 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Antiphonal to Great 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 8', 4'
    Antiphonal to Pedal 8'   Antiphonal to Swell 8', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   All Swells to Swell
               
Combination Action
   
Antiphonal Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb & toe)
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (thumb & toe)
               
Reversible Pistons
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Swell to Great (thumb)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb)   Choir to Great (thumb)
    Choir to Pedal (thumb)   Swell to Choir (thumb)
    Antiphonal to Pedal (thumb)   Tutti (thumb & toe)
               
Balanced Pedals
    Swell Expression      
    Choir Expression      
    Antiphonal Expression      
    Crescendo on all stops and couplers      
               
Austin Organ console in Nave of Christ Church, United Methodist - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)   Antiphonal Trompette en chamade of Casavant Frères organ, Op. 2588 (1960) at Christ Church, United Methodist - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Austin console in Nave
 
Trompette en chamade
           
Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Inc.
Boston, Mass. – Opus 293-C (1933)
Electro-pneumatic action


After the contract with W.W. Kimball was broken, the church contracted with the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston to rebuild (with some additions) the existing Hutchings-Votey organ from the old Madison Avenue building. It is a mystery why this job was given opus number 293-C, as Op. 293 is for the First Presbyterian Church of New York City. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.

In 1960, this organ was moved to Wappingers United Methodist Church, Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
           
Planned organ for Christ M.E. Church:

W.W. Kimball Co.
Chicago, Ill. (1932) – not installed
Electro-pneumatic key action
4 manuals, 76 stops, 86 ranks


Plans for the new Christ Church edifice included a four-manual, 66-rank organ to be built by the W.W. Kimball Company of Chicago. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints of the new building, undoubtedly complicated by the Depression, the contract with Kimball was broken.

Following is a description of the planned organ, excerpted from an article appearing in the March 1932 issue of The Diapason.

     "New York City is to have a new four-manual organ of outstanding importance, which will be installed in the beautiful new edifice of Christ Methodist Episcopal Church. The contract, one of the most interesting and important to be awarded this winter, has been given to the W.W. Kimball Company of Chicago. There will be seventy-six speaking stops, with a total of 5,956 pipes, besides harp and chimes. Supplementing the main four-manual console, which will be of the drawknob type, there will be a two-manual console, to be placed in the chapel, which will be used to play a part of the main organ. A feature will be the antiphonal-echo division in the gallery, with resources of sixteen stops and a set of chimes. Fifty-six combination pistons, eleven reversibles and fifty-one couplers will complete the console equipment.
     "Dr. Clarence Dickinson of the Brick Presbyterian Church and head of the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary, drew up the specifications, acting as consultant for the purchasers. The Kimball Company was represented by Robert P. Elliot and C.A. Woodruff."
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Double Diapason
73
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Diapason I
73
    Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Diapason II
73
8
  Tromba
73
8
  Geigen Principal
73
16
  Ophicleide
SO
8
  Gross Flöte
73
8
  Tuba Sonora
SO
8
  Wald Flöte
73
4
  Clarion
SO
8
  Erzähler
73
    Chimes
ANT
4
  Octave
73
   
Harp [Deagan De Luxe]
61 bars
4
  Harmonic Flute
73
    Celesta  
2 2/3
  Twelfth
61
    Tremolo  

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [unit]
73
4
  Lieblichflöte [ext. 16']
24
8
  Diapason I
73
2 2/3
  Flute Twelfth [ext. 16']
8
  Diapason II
73
2
  Flautina [ext. 16']
8
  Melodia
73
    Dolce Cornet, 3 ranks
183
8
  Gedeckt
73
    Mixture, 5 ranks
305
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
61
16
  Waldhorn
73
8
  Gamba
73
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Gamba Celeste
73
8
  French Trumpet
73
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Oboe (open)
73
8
  Voix Celeste
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Muted Viole
73
4
  Clarion
73
8
  Muted Viole Celeste
73
    Chimes
ANT
4
  Octave
73
    Harp
GT
4
  Violina
73
    Celesta
GT
4
  Muted Violes II ranks [ext.]
24
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute Triangulaire
73
    Vox Humana Tremolo  

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Contra Dulciana [unit]
109
    Harmonics V ranks  
8
  English Diapason
73
         [collective, draws * stops]
8
  Concert Flute
73
16
  Bassoon [ext. Eng. Horn]
12
8
  Spitzflöte
73
8
  English Horn, orchestral
73
8
  Dulciana
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
73
8
  Diapason Phono
SO
8
  Viol Celeste
73
8
  Melophone
SO
8
  Kleine Erzähler
73
8
  Tuba Sonora
SO
8
  Kleine Erzähler Celeste
73
8
  French Horn
SO
4
  Dulcet
8
  Orchestral Oboe
SO
4
  Flute d'Amour *
73
8
  Orchestral Flute
SO
2 2/3
  Nazard *
61
    Chimes
ANT
2
  Piccolo *
61
    Harp
GT
2
  Dulcetin
    Celesta
GT
1 3/5
  Tierce *
61
    Tremolo  
1 1/7
  Septieme *
61
       
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Diapason Phonon
73
8
  French Horn
73
8
  Melophone
73
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Violoncello
73
4
  Tuba Clarion [ext. Oph. 16']
24
8
  Cello Celeste
73
    Chimes
ANT
4
  Orchestral Flute
73
    Harp
GT
16
  Ophicleide
73
    Celesta
GT
16
  Tuba Mirabilis
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Tuba Sonora
73
       

     

     
Antiphonal-Echo Organ – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Contre Viole [unit]
97
8
  Tuba
73
8
  Diapason
73
8
  Corno d'Amour
73
8
  Viole
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Vox Angelica
73
   
Chimes [Deagan A]
25 tubes
8
  Wald Flöte
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
61
    Vox Humana Tremolo  
4
  Octave Viole
    Antiphonal-Echo Pedal  
4
  Chimney Flute
73
16
  Diapason [ext. manual]
12
2 2/3
  Viole Twelfth
16
  Contre Viol
ANT
    Carillon III ranks
183
8
  Viol
ANT

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Contra Bourdon [ext.]
12
8
  Dulciana
CH
16
  Diapason I
44
8
  Still Gedeckt
SW
16
  Diapason II
44
5 1/3
  Octave Quint [GT Diap.]
16
  Diapason III
GT
4
  Super Octave [GT Diap.]
16
  Bourdon (large scale)
56
4
  Flute [Bourdon]
16
  Violone
44
32
  Bombarde [ext. Ophicleide]
12
16
  Contra Dulciana
CH
16
  Trombone
32
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Ophicleide
SO
10 2/3
  Diapason Quint [GT Diap.]
16
  Waldhorn
SW
10 2/3
  Stopped Quint [Bourdon]
16
  Bassoon
CH
8
  Octave I [Diap. I]
8
  Tromba [ext. Trombone]
12
8
  Octave II [Diap. II]
8
  Waldhorn
SW
8
  Flute [Bourdon]
4
  Clarion [ext. Trombone]
12
8
  Cello [Violone]
    Chimes
ANT
         
Organ in Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church:

Hutchings-Votey Organ Co.
Boston, Mass. (c.1903)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 31 stops, 30 ranks


The second organ in the Madison Avenue Methodist Church was built c.1903 by the Hutchings-Votey Organ Co. of Boston. In 1933, this organ was rebuilt and enlarged by Aeolian-Skinner of Boston, who moved it to the new Christ Church building as Op. 293-C. The following stoplist is from the files of Charles Scharpenger. Pipecounts were not given but are suggested, based on similar Hutchings-Votey organs of the era.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Diapason
61
8
  Gross Gamba
61
8
  First Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Diapason
61
4
  Flute Harmonique
61
8
  Gross Flöte
61
8
  Trumpet
61

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
61
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
8
  Diapason
61
4
  Violina
61
8
  Horn Diapason
61
4
  Flauto Traverso
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
2
  Flautino
61
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Cornopean
61
8
  Vox Celeste
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Aeoline
61
  Tremolo

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Violin Diapason
61
4
  Wald Flute
61
8
  Concert Flute
61
8
  Clarinet
61
8
  Dulciana
61
  Tremolo

     

     
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Diapason
30
16
  Violone
30
16
  Bourdon
42
8
  Flute [ext. Bourdon]
16
  Gedackt
30
       
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal       Choir to Great 16', 8'  
    Choir to Pedal       Great to Swell  
    Great to Pedal       Swell to Choir  
    Swell to Great 8', 4'       Swell to Swell 16', 4'  
           
Organ in Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church:

J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 201 (1883)
Tubular-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 32 stops, 34 ranks


The original organ in the Madison Avenue Methodist Church was built in 1883 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes (3-1/4" pressure)
16
  Double Open Diapason
58
3
  Twelfth
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
2
  Fifteenth
58
8
  Gamba
58
    Sesquialtera 3 ranks
174
8
  Doppel Flute [Gross Flute]
58
8
  Trumpet *
58
4
  Principal
58
   
Carillon
32 bells
4
  Harmonic Flute
58
   
* harmonic treble

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
58
    Cornet 3 ranks
174
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  French Horn *
58
8
  Salicional
58
8
  Oboe & Bassoon
58
8
  Quintadena
58
8
  Vox Humana
58
4
  Violina
58
    Tremulant  
2
  Piccolo
58
   
* harmonic treble

     

     
Solo Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
8
  Dulciana
58
4
  Fugara
58
8
  Lieblich Gedact [sic]
58
2
  Flageolet
58
4
  Flute Traverso
58
8
  Saxaphone [sic]
58

     

     
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Bourdon
30
16
  Trombone
30
               
Couplers
    Swell to Great       Great to Pedal  
    Swell to Solo       Solo to Pedal  
    Swell to Pedal       Solo to Great  
            Bellows Signal  
               
Combination Pedals
1.
  Forte drawing full Great  
4.
  Forte drawing full Swell
2.
  Mezzo reducing to Diapason  
5.
  Piano reducing to Salicional & Quintadena
3.
  Piano reducing to Doppel Flute  
6.
  Balanced Swell Pedal
           
Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site: http://aeolian-skinner.110mb.com/
     Book of Remembrance, publication of Christ Church Methodist. New York City: 1971.
     Christ Church, United Methodist web site: http://www.christchurchnyc.org
     "Church in New York Orders Large Organ," The Diapason (March 1932). Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     W.W. Kimball Company advertisement in The Diapason (March 1932). Stoplist of unbuilt organ.
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     "Lay Church Stone in Park Av. Today," The New York Times (Nov. 13, 1931).
     Odell, Edward. Factory Specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell Organ, Op. 201 (1883).
     "Opening a New Church," The New York Times (Nov. 12, 1883).
     Scharpeger, Charles. Stoplist of Hutchings-Votey organ (c.1903). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Scheer, Stanley. Factory Specifications of Casavant Frères Organ, Op. 2588 (1960).
     Stern, Robert A.M., Thomas Mellins, and David Fishman. New York 1880: Architecture and Urbanism in the Gilded Age. New York City: The Monacelli Press, 1999.
     "The New Methodist Church," The New York Times (Nov. 19, 1883).
     "The Works of R. H. Robertson," The Architectural Record (Oct-Dec. 1896).
     Trupiano, Larry. Electronic correspondence (June 11, 2012) in re Hutchings-Votey organ (c.1903) in Madison Avenue M.E. Church.

Illustrations:
     Byron Company (New York). Exterior (1896) of Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church.
     Lawson, Steven E. Color exterior and interior; Casavant Frères Organ, Op. 2588 (1960).
     "The Works of R. H. Robertson," The Architectural Record (VI:2:Oct-Dec. 1896). Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church.