The Beckerath organ

The Beckerath organ

Beckerath Organ 1975

The main organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, crafted by the Rudolf von Beckerath Orgelbau of Hamburg, Germany, is the last organ personally voiced by Herr Rudolf von Beckerath in the United States before his death. It not only has been heard for weekly services but is an important voice in the community as a recital and concert instrument. Many notable organists have played this organ, in particular, Marie-Claire Alain, Harald Vogel, McNeil Robinson, and David Dahl.

56 notes
Quintadena 16
Prinzipal 8
Rohrflöte 8
Oktave 4
Spitzflöte 4
Nasat 2-2/3
Waldflöte 2
Terz 1 3/5
Mixture V 1-1/3
Trompete 8
56 notes (enclosed)
Holzgedacht 8
Rohrflöte 4
Prinzipal 2
Oktave 1
Terzian II 1-3/5 + 1-1/3
Zimbel III I/2
Regal 16
Dulzian 8
32 notes
Subbass 16
Prinzipal 8
Gedacht 8
Choralbass 4
Nachthorn 2
Fagott 16
Trichterschalmei 4

Mechanical key action
Electric stop action
Adjustable tremulants
12 General pistons duplicated by toe studs

Organ console showing sequencer display and piston buttons

Organ console showing sequencer display and piston button

In January 2004, a solid-state circuitry system was installed to upgrade the organ’s memory. The new system has 12 general pistons and 99 levels of electronic memory, totalling 1180 different combinations possible. In addition, a sequencer allows the organist to push a single button to move to the next piston in the sequence without having to hunt for the individual button. A digital display shows the level number in red and the piston number in green.

J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 547, played by Katherine Crosier on the Beckerath organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Nicknamed the 9/8 because of its unusual time signature, this piece opened the Abendmusiken concert, Bach Pilgrimage VI (PDF), held on May 17, 2009.

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Additional audio and video of the Beckerath organ.
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Beckerath Continuo Organ 1998

The Beckerath Continuo Organ

The Beckerath Continuo Organ

The LCH Continuo Organ is one of three identical organs produced by the Rudolf von Beckerath Orgelbau in 1998. Opus 342 is a well-travelled organ, having been exhibited at the American Guild of Organists 1998 National Convention in Denver before spending time in organ shops in New York and Tokyo. Mr. Anthony Meloni, the U.S. representative for Beckerath Orgelbau agreed to loan the organ to LCH for two performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on March 31 and April 1, 2000. Owing to Carl Crosier’s acquaintance with Lauren Hong Wright, shipment of the organ to Honolulu was generously donated by United Air Lines where it was marked “Company Materials.”

After the critically acclaimed St. Matthew performances, the organ was borrowed by the Honolulu Symphony and moved to Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall for two performances of Bach’s B-Minor Mass on April 30 and May 2, 2000 with Tokyo’s Schneidt Bach Choir, Hans Martin Schneidt, conductor. Mikako Kumagai was the organist. By this time, there was a strong desire to keep Opus 342 in Hawai‘i since there was no other continuo organ available in the Islands, and donations were sought for purchase of the organ.

In addition to regular use at LCH, the “Baby Beckerath” has been heard at the Contemporary Art Museum, located in the lobby of the First Hawaiian Bank, for Pipes Spectacular, Our Lady of Peace Cathedral where it was heard in a concert sung by the Hawai‘i Vocal Arts Ensemble, and Central Union Church for their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Gedacht 8

Rohrflöte 4

Prinzipal 2

Cammack Harpsichord

The Cammack harpsichord in the LCH Nave.

The Cammack harpsichord in the LCH Nave.

The Cammack Harpsichord (c. 1985) was built from a Hubbard kit by the late Floyd Cammack, a long-time local builder of keyboard instruments. It is modeled after an eighteenth century French double. The Lutheran Church of Honolulu acquired this instrument from Mr. Cammack’s estate in 2002. It has been heard frequently at the Abendmusiken Concerts as well as with the Honolulu Symphony and Chamber Music Hawai‘i. The instrument was completely restrung and refurbished in August 2007 by Carey Beebe of Harpsichords Australia.

Grotrian Piano

The Grotrian piano in the LCH Nave.

The Grotrian piano in the LCH Nave.

The piano at LCH is a 7′ 4″ Grotrian Grand. Its size is perfectly suited to the size of the Nave with a fine chamber sound for accompanying choir or soloists as well as for solo concerts.

Grotrian may not be a familiar name in the USA, but it is well known and highly respected in Europe under the name Grotrian-Steinweg. Grotrian pianos are rated in the top tier of pianos for quality and performance—right alongside Bösendorfer.

Grotrian is a small, family owned company building approximately 125 grand pianos a year. The Grotrian piano factory was started in 1835 by Friedrich Grotrian. In the beginning, Grotrian built pianos with several other families including the Steinweg and Hefferlich families. The Steinweg family eventually moved to New York becoming Steinway and Sons, while Grotrian continued building in Braunschweig Germany. Today the Grotrian is known as one of the finest instruments in the world and is admired for its simple yet pleasing look, its rich, powerful bass, and its brilliant treble section.

The LCH instrument was imported to Maui and used by a composer. His friends would stretch out under the piano as he improvised to get the “healing vibrations” from the music. It was purchased by Steve and Linda Miller in the early 1980s and donated by them to LCH in 2001. However, there was no room for it in the Nave at that time because the Chinese Lutheran Church of Honolulu (CLCH) was still worshipping at LCH and they had their own grand piano. The Millers kept the piano in their home until CLCH moved to their own building in 2005.