Story of a House Organ
by Christopher Woollard
30th Sept. 2003
During February 2003 I started to search for a pipe organ suitable for my house. The music of most interest to me as an organist is that of the period from Sweelink to Bach and the type of organ would be the north German / Dutch tracker organ with two independent manuals and pedal. Of course the problem of room space and most particularly height was something to be solved. I also wanted an organ I could reasonably expect to be able to move if I change address in the future.
Help came from Mr. Andreas Ladach of www.ladach.de who located a suitable instrument. He was able to find a small Walcker which belonged to a German Church. Following investigations it was found that tonally this organ would be ideal and the organ was purchased. Andreas partly disassembled the instrument and transported it to my home just outside London. On arrival it was hoped that the instrument could be moved into the house without major disassembly. Unfortunately this was not possible. Removal of the chests, action and blower followed by disassembly of the case was the only way to get the instrument into the house.
Here Andreas commences disassembly of the organ. Due to the possibility of rain this was carried out inside the van.
The action of the organ was compact enough to move in its entirety without further disassembly. No evidence of any wear or damage was found, though a comprehensive cleaning and lubrication was performed. The action is a joy to play.
Here the action can be seen complete with blower and pedal tracker work, as the organ is re-assembled after the component pieces have been moved into the organ room.
The pedal roller board is shown here. The pedal may be coupled to either or both manuals, in addition to having its own 16ft. Subbas stop.
Here is a close-up of the action. The three usual couplers are incorporated, being engaged using foot pedals.
The organ comprises the following stops:
Lower manual 8ft. Gedact (oak)
4ft Principal (tin)
3 rank mixture (spotted metal)
Upper manual 8ft Gemshorn (spotted metal)
4ft Chimney Flute (tin)
2ft Principal (spotted metal)
1 1\3 Quint (tin)
Pedal 16ft Subbas (pine)
The pedal has a single 16 ft stop, the Subbas. This is located behind the main pipe chamber. The largest pipes here and in the main chamber itself are mitred. The organ height is 2.55 meters.
The organ is now complete and has been tuned in Werckmeister III temperament. Wind pressure is 54mm and the tracker action works perfectly. It would be nice to know the opus number of the organ. Printed on the blower chamber is the number 4159/1. It may well be that this is Walcker Organ Opus 4159. We believe it dates from the late 1960's. It is an ideal house instrument. All aspects of playing the organ are excellent for the organist. The action is very sensitive and responsive. The quality of the pipe work is very high and the sound splendid.
Dr. Christopher Woollard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dept. of Computing and Mathematics
University of Greenwich - London