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The Chamber Organ In Carisbrooke Castle Museum


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Has anyone heard or played this organ? If so, what did you make of it?

 

Carrying an inscription in Flemish and the date 1602, it has generally been regarded as Flemish. However it is said to have once contained an internal ascription "E. Hoffheimer. Fec. Vien. 1592", which would make it Austrian. (The internal ascription was apparently removed sometime between 1889 and 1902 by the then owner, who also altered the date on the outside to 1602 - why he did this is not known.)

 

The organ has a single manual from E-c''' and two full-length stops: a 4' stopped flute, a 2' flute. At some point an 8' regal was added in a case attached to the back of the organ, but it is only a partial-compass stop covering the top 25 notes - b-c'''.

 

Thirty-plus years ago I put on a concert of choral music in the castle museum with a few friends and played a couple of pieces by John Bull (not knowing then that the organ might actually be Austrian).

 

I remember finding the flutes very bright, if not slightly piercing, but they didn't strike me as in any way distinguished. The regal I did not use. In fact I cannot think of any repertoire in which you could use a treble-compass 8' reed with only 4' and 2' for the accompaniment - which brings me to my real question: what on earth was the purpose of this stop? How was it used?

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Has anyone heard or played this organ? If so, what did you make of it?

 

Carrying an inscription in Flemish and the date 1602, it has generally been regarded as Flemish. However it is said to have once contained an internal ascription "E. Hoffheimer. Fec. Vien. 1592", which would make it Austrian. (The internal ascription was apparently removed sometime between 1889 and 1902 by the then owner, who also altered the date on the outside to 1602 - why he did this is not known.)

 

The organ has a single manual from E-c''' and two full-length stops: a 4' stopped flute, a 2' flute. At some point an 8' regal was added in a case attached to the back of the organ, but it is only a partial-compass stop covering the top 25 notes - b-c'''.

 

Thirty-plus years ago I put on a concert of choral music in the castle museum with a few friends and played a couple of pieces by John Bull (not knowing then that the organ might actually be Austrian).

 

I remember finding the flutes very bright, if not slightly piercing, but they didn't strike me as in any way distinguished. The regal I did not use. In fact I cannot think of any repertoire in which you could use a treble-compass 8' reed with only 4' and 2' for the accompaniment - which brings me to my real question: what on earth was the purpose of this stop? How was it used?

 

Last year when we visited they were playing music which I assumed to be the organ itself (I think there might have been a CD) - it sounded like a harmonium! - maybe the CD playing equipment was not up to it though.

 

AJJ

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