Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (photo: Marble Collegiate Church)

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Marble Collegiate Church
(Reformed Church in America)

1 West 29th Street at Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10001
http://www.marblechurch.org



Organ Specifications:
III/83 Austin Organs Inc., Op. 2689 (1984)
• III/31s Austin Organs Inc., Op. 2006 (1937)
III/14 Skinner Organ Company, Op. 525 (1925)
III/42 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 296 (1891)
• III/40 Henry Erben (1854)




The Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York was organized in 1628 under Peter Minuit, Director General of the New Netherland. It has the distinction of being the oldest Protestant denomination with a continuous ministry, and was also the first corporation in the United States. The first church, officially named St. Nicholas but known as the Stone Church, was completed in 1642 on a dusty lane (now Pearl Street) in The Fort of New Amsterdam. In 1692 it was taken over by the British troops, used as a military garrison, and eventually burned. A new church was built on Garden Street (now Exchange Place) in 1693. Known as the Garden Street Church, it was later called the Old South Church because of its geographical location in relation to the other Collegiate churches. In 1696, William III King of England granted a Charter to the church, thus ensuring religious liberty in the new colony. Along with the charter, the crown presented the church with nearly 500 acres of land located in what is now part of the Bronx, in New York City, and a section of Bronxville just north of the present city limits in Westchester County. In 1723, John Harpending, a pioneer tanner and shoemaker, gave an irregular tract of rolling farmland known as Shoemaker's Meadow. This property, which stretches between Maiden Lane and Ann Street and Broadway and William Street, today provides substantial income for the Collegiate Corporation.

Interior of Marble Collegiate Church, ca. 1856 - New York City (photo: Marble Collegiate Church)

 

Interior, ca. 1856
Recognizing the northward expansion of the population, which by the 1850s had swelled to more than one million, the Consistory decided to build a new church at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 29th Street at a time when Fifth Avenue was a dirt road, and the city limit was six blocks south at 23rd Street. Architect Samuel A. Warner designed an Early Romanesque Revival church with Gothic trim, which was built between 1851-54 of Tuckahoe marble blocks quarried in Hastings-on-Hudson, floated down the Hudson River, and then carted across town on large horse-drawn wagons. The 215-foot Wren-like steeple is topped by a gilded weathercock, a symbolic reminder of Peter's denial of Christ. The bell tower originally contained a Seth Thomas clock that had to be hand-wound once a week; it was later converted to electricity. The church interior featured free-hanging galleries on three sides, possibly the first example of this architectural device in the country. Known at first as the Fifth Avenue Collegiate Church and later as the Twenty-ninth Street Church, its name was officially changed in 1906 for the material of which it is made.

Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)  
During its first 18 years, the church relied on the rotating service of four ministers, a practice imported from Holland known as the "collegiate system". This system was discontinued in 1871 when the church called its first permanent minister. As the city expanded northward, the church benefited from being in the midst of a prosperous and fashionable residential neighborhood. By the 1930s, however, the city had moved further uptown, and the church was in a serious decline; this was abruptly reversed in 1932 with the beginning of Norman Vincent Peale's 52-year tenure as minister. Dr. Peale's books and televised services brought national fame to Marble Church.

Since its founding in 1628, the Collegiate Church built a total of 22 different churches and chapels on Manhattan Island. Today, there remain four Collegiate Churches: Marble, Middle, West End, and Fort Washington.
           
  Austin Organ, Op. 2689 (1984) at Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
   

Austin Organ, Op. 2689 (1984) at Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Austin Organs Inc.
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 2689 (1984)
Electro-pneumatic action
Solid-state combination action
3 manuals, 81 stops, 83 ranks



By 1983, the organ was in need of urgent attention, and the decision was made to award a contract to Austin for an entirely new instrument (Opus 2689). At this time, the choir and organ console were returned to their original gallery location. The current instrument comprises 84 ranks over seven divisions, two of which are in free-standing cases flanking the chancel. The tonal concept, designed by then-Music Director Kevin Walters, is neo-Classic French style. Located in the ornate gallery case are the Récit and Choeur divisions on the lowest level, with the Pédale and Grande-Orgue divisions above. Austin retained the Flute Celeste from the E.M. Skinner chancel organ. The organ was dedicated on January 23, 1985, by Simon Preston; the dedicatory series continued with a recital by William Whitehead, and a concert for organ, brass and choir conducted by Jack Ossewaarde, with Kevin Walters as organist.
               
GALLERY ORGAN
               
Grand-Orgue (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Montre
61
  Cornet III ranks *
122
8
  Principal
61
 
  Fourniture IV ranks
244
8
  Montre [ext.]
12
 
  Cymbale III ranks
183
8
  Bourdon
61
8
  Trompette
61
8
  Flûte harmonique
61
    Tremblant  
4
  Prestant
61
8
  Trompette en chamade
61
4
  Flûte à cheminée
61
 
  Cloches  
2
  Doublette
61
 
  Muet  
2
  Flûte conique
61
   
* also draws 2' Flûte conique

     

     
Récit (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon doux [ext.]
12
    Sesquialtera II ranks [TC]
98
8
  Montre
61
 
  Plein jeu V ranks
305
8
  Flûte à cheminée
61
16
  Basson [ext.] [half-length]
12
8
  Viole de gambe
61
8
  Trompette
61
8
  Voix céleste
61
8
  Hautbois
61
8
  Flûte douce
61
8
  Voix humaine
61
8
  Flûte céleste [TC]
49
4
  Clairon
61
4
  Prestant
61
    Tremblant  
4
  Flûte octaviante
61
    Récit 16'  
2
  Octavin
61
    Muet  
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
 
  Récit 4'  
1
  Flageolet [ext.]
12
8
  Trompette en chamade
GO

     

     
Choeur (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
 
Quintaton
preparation
16
  Cor anglais [1-12 L/2]
61
8
  Bourdon en bois
61
8
  Cromorne [mahogany]
61
8
  Viole
61
4
  Chalumeau à cheminée
61
8
  Viole céleste
61
    Tremblant  
4
  Principal
61
    Harpe [TC]
4
  Flûte à pointe
61
   
Celesta
49 bars
2 2/3
  Nasard
61
 
  Choeur 16'  
2
  Quarte de nasard
61
 
  Muet  
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
 
  Choeur 4'  
    Cymbale IV ranks
244
8
  Trompette en chamade
GO

     

     
Pédale – 32 notes
32
  Contre Bourdon [ext.] *
8
2
  Flûte [ext.]
12
16
  Contre Basse
32
 
  Fourniture IV ranks
128
16
  Soubasse
32
32
  Contre Bombarde [ext.]
12
16
  Montre
GO
16
  Bombarde
32
16
  Quintaton
CH
16
  Basson
RÉC
16
  Bourdon Doux
RÉC
16
  Cor anglais
CH
8
  Octavebasse
32
8
  Trompette [ext.]
12
8
  Bourdon
32
4
  Clairon [ext.]
12
8
  Flûte à cheminée
RÉC
4
  Chalumeau à cheminée
CH
4
  Basse de chorale
32
8
  Trompette en chamade
GO
4
  Cor de Nuit
32
 
 
* Notes 1-4 resultant

     

     
CHANCEL ORGAN

     

     
Antiphonal (Manual II) – 61 notes
8
  Montre
61
 
  Fourniture III ranks
183
4
  Prestant
61
8
  Petite Trompette
61
2
  Doublette
61
 
  Muet  

     

     
Positif (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Flûte à cheminée
61

  Cymbale III ranks
183
4
  Flûte à fuseau
61

  Tremblant  
2
  Flûte à bec
61

  Muet  
1 1/3
  Quinte
61

  Clochettes  

     

     
Pédale – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon
32
4
   Octave
32
8
  Principal
32
 
     
               
Couplers
    Grand-Orgue to Pédale 8'   Positif to Grand-Orgue 8'
    Récit to Pédale 8', 4'   Antiphonal to Récit 8'
    Choeur to Pédale 8', 4'   Positif to Récit 8'
    Antiphonal to Pédale 8'   Grand-Orgue to Récit 8'
    Positif to Pédale 8'   Récit to Choeur 16', 8', 4'
    Récit to Grand-Orgue 16', 8', 4'   Antiphonal to Choeur 8'
    Choeur to Grand-Orgue 16', 8', 4'   Grand-Orgue to Choeur 8'
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Récit Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Grand-Orgue Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Choeur Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Pédale Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb & toe)
General Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 (thumb & toe) 13-14-15 (thumb)
               
Reversibles
    G.O. to Pédale (thumb & toe)   Antiphonal to Récit (thumb)
    Récit to Pédale (thumb & toe)   Positif to Récit (thumb)
    Choeur to Pédale (thumb & toe)   Récit to Choeur (thumb)
    Antiphonal to Pédale (thumb)   Tutti I (thumb & toe)
    Positif to Pédale (thumb)   Tutti II (thumb & toe)
    Récit to G.O. (thumb)   32' Contre Bourdon (toe)
    Choeur to G.O. (thumb)   32' Contre Bombarde (toe)
    Antiphonal to G.O. (thumb)    
               
Expression
    Balanced Swell Pedal – Récit      
    Balanced Swell Pedal – Choeur      
    Crescendo Pedal      
           

Austin Organ, Op. 2006 (1937) at Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (photo: Organ Historical Society)
Austin Organs Inc.
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 2006 (1937); alt. (1959, Opus 2329)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 31 stops






In 1937, the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Conn. rebuilt and enlarged the entire instrument again (Opus 2006), installing new windchests throughout and a new console. Minor tonal alterations were made by Austin in 1959 as Opus 2329.

Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Skinner Organ Company
Boston, Mass. – Opus 525 (1925)
Electro-pneumatic action
22 stops, 14 ranks, 909 pipes
3-manual console


In 1925, Marble Church commissioned the Skinner Organ Company to replace the existing chancel divisions (J.H. & C.S. Odell, 1891, Op. 296) and provide a new three-manual drawknob console. The following specification, with console details provided by Charles Scharpeger, shows the existing gallery divisions alongside the new chancel divisions. The Skinner chancel divisions were removed in 1937-38 by Ernest M. Skinner & Son Organ Company, and most of the pipes were moved to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown, Penn.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 note keyboard
    Gallery (existing Odell):       Chancel (new Skinner):  
16
  Double Open Diapason
58
8
  Diapason
61
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  Waldflöte
61
8
  Viol de Gamba
58
8
  Gedeckt
SW
8
  Gross Floete
58
8
  Flute Celeste
SW
4
  Octave
58
4
  Octave
61
2 2/3
  Twelfth
58
4
  Flute
SW
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Corno d'Amore
SW
    Mixture 4 ranks
232
   
8
  Trumpet
58
   
    Chimes
   
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 note keyboard
    Gallery (existing Odell):       Chancel (new Skinner):  
16
  Bourdon Bass
12
16
  Bourdon
73
16
  Bourdon Treble
46
8
  Diapason
73
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  Gedeckt
73
8
  Salicional
58
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Stopped Diapason
58
8
  Voix Celestes
73
4
  Violina
58
8
  Flauto Dolce
73
2
  Flageolet
58
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
61
    Cornet 3 ranks
174
4
  Flute
61
8
  Vox Humana
58
16
  Fagotto
61
8
  Oboe
58
8
  Corno d'Amore
61
    Tremolo
  Tremolo
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 note keyboard
    Gallery (existing Odell):          
8
  Geigen Principal
58
       
8
  Dulciana
58
       
8
  Concert Flute
58
       
4
  Forest Flute
58
       
8
  Tuba [moved from Chancel]
58
       
8
  Clarinet
58
       
               
Pedal Organ – 32 note pedalboard
    Gallery (existing Odell):       Chancel (new Skinner):  
16
  Double Open
30
16
  Bourdon
32
16
  Bourdon
30
16
  Echo Lieblich
SW
10 2/3
  Quint
30
8
  Gedeckt [ext]
12
8
  Violoncello
30
8
  Still Gedeckt
SW
  Chimes
GT
16
  Fagotto
SW
               
Couplers
    Gallery:   Chancel:
    Swell to Pedal 8, 4   Swell to Pedal 8, 4
    Great to Pedal   Great to Pedal
    Choir to Pedal   Swell to Great 16, 8, 4
    Swell to Great 16, 8, 4   Great to Great 4
    Choir to Great 16, 8   Swell to Swell 16, 4
    Swell to Choir 16, 8, 4    
    Great to Great 4    
    Swell to Swell 16, 4    
    Choir to Choir 16, 4    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Gallery:  
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3
  Gallery Cancel
 
Chancel:  
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3
   
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3
  Chancel Cancel
         
Expression & Mechanicals
    Gallery:   Chancel:
    Gallery Choir Expression   Chancel Swell Expression
    Gallery Swell Expression   Chancel Crescendo
    Gallery Crescendo   Chancel Great to Pedal Rev.
    Gallery Great to Pedal Reversible (toe)   Chancel Sforzando
    Gallery Sforzando   Chancel Crescendo Ind. Light
    Gallery Crescendo Ind. Light   Chancel Sforzando Ind. Light
    Gallery Sforzando Ind. Light    
         
    Mechanical push buttons in the Great left cheek:
    • Release    
    • Gallery    
    • Both    
    • Chancel    
           

Odell Chancel Organ, Op. 296 (1891) at Marble Collegiate Church - New York City (Odell Co. Brochure, 1896)
J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co.
New York City – Opus 296 (1891)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 38 stops, 42 ranks



In 1891, in conjunction with repairs and improvements to the church, the original 1854 Erben organ was enlarged and electrified. Two chancel divisions and two free-standing cases were added, and the console and choir were moved from the gallery to the chancel. The following specification was recorded in an organ notebook by Lynnwood Farnam (1885-1930), noted concert organist of the early 20th century.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes
    Gallery:       Chancel:  
16
  Double Open Diapason
58
8
  English Diapason
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  Quintadena
58
8
  Viola da Gamba
58
8
  Melodia
58
8
  Gross Flöte
58
4
  Salicet
58
4
  Octave
58
8
  Tuba
58
2 2/3
  Twelfth
58
       
2
  Piccolo
58
       
    Mixture 4 ranks
232
       
8
  Trumpet
58
       
    Bellows Signal [sic]          
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes, enclosed
    Gallery:       Chancel:  
16
  Bourdon Bass
12
8
  Vox Celeste
58
16
  Bourdon Treble
46
8
  Dolce
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
8
  Cremona
58
8
  Salicional
58
4
  Flute Harmonique
58
8
  Stopped Diapason
58
       
4
  Violina
58
       
2
  Flageolet
58
       
    Cornet 3 ranks
174
       
8
  Vox Humana
58
       
8
  Oboe
58
       
    Tremulant          
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
    Gallery:          
8
  Geigen Principal
58
       
8
  Dulciana
58
       
8
  Concert Flute
58
       
4
  Forest Flute
58
       
8
  Clarinet
58
       
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Sub Bass
30
       
16
  Double Open
30
       
16
  Bourdon
30
       
10 2/3
  Quint
30
       
8
  Violoncello
30
       
               
Couplers, etc. (above Swell manual)
    Great to Pedal       Swell to Great  
    Choir to Pedal       Swell to Great octave  
    Swell to Pedal       Great to Choir  
    Choir to Great       Swell to Choir  
            Chimes  
           
Henry Erben
New York City (1854)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 40 stops


The American Musical Directory of 1861 states that the "Fifth Avenue [Reformed Dutch Church], c W. 29th st." had an organ with "3 banks keys, 40 stops, 2 octaves pedals. Built by H. Erben; revoiced and enlarged by Hall & Labagh, in 1854." Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site: http://aeolian-skinner.110mb.com/
     American Musical Directory. New York: Thomas Hutchinson, 1861.
     Bowen, Jonathan. Specification of Skinner Organ, Op. 525 (1925).
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Dunlap, David. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     Farnam, Lynnwood. "Organ Notebook," p. 1364. Specification of 1891 J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 296. John de Lancie Library, The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia; Sally Branca, Archivist. Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Glück, Sebastian. Specification of Austin Organ, Op. 2689 (1984).
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Marble Collegiate Church web site: http://www.marblechurch.org
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     J.H. & C.S. Odell & Company brochure, "Metropolitan Churches," 1896. Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Scharpeger, Charles. Console details of Skinner Organ Company, Op. 525 (1925). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Ward, Emory. Faith of Our Fathers Living Still: The Story of Marble Collegiate Church. New York: Marble Collegiate Church, 1978.

Illustrations:
     American Organ Archive, Organ Historical Society. B&W photo of organ case.
     http://holy-ny.blogspot.com. Exterior.
     Lawson, Steven E. Color photos of organ and interior.
     Marble Collegiate Church. Black & white interior.
     "Metropolitan Churches" (1896), J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co., New York City. Chancel cases of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 296 (1891).