Messiah Lutheran Church
13901 Clopper Rd. Germantown, MD 20874
(301) 972-2130

Flentrop Orgelbouw Organ

Flentrop Orgelbouw Pipe OrganThe pipe organ in Messiah Lutheran Church was built by Flentrop Orgelbouw (Organbuilders) in Zaandam, the Netherlands, and dedicated at Messiah Church on April 21, 1991. Hendrik Wicher Flentrop established his organ building firm in the Netherlands in 1903. Dirk Andries Flentrop headed the firm beginning in 1940, sending instruments to many foreign countries. Antonio Johannes Steketee succeeded Mr. Flentrop in 1976. The Messiah instrument was built under his direction.

The Messiah instrument has three keyboards, two for the hands and one for the feet that are mechanically connected to twenty-three sets of pipes (ranks) sounding at many pitch levels. The lower manual keyboard is called the Hoofdwerk (Great), the upper manual keyboard the Bovenwerk (Swell), and the one for the feet the Pedal. The external case is of French Oak, while some of the interior mechanical parts are of cedar and mahogany. Most of the pipes on the instrument are made of a mixture of tin and lead. Two pedal ranks are constructed of mahogany.

The pipes contained in the casework are sounded through a series of mechanical levers, rollers, stickers, trackers, pallets, and other devices that connect the keyboards with the sets of pipes. By pressing keys, the player causes these mechanical connections to let air, under pressure, flow into the chosen pipes. Pipe organs have been built this way ever since they were invented, more than two thousand years ago. The only use of electricity is to a blower that maintains a supply of compressed air and to illumination elements at the keyboards.

Many instruments manufactured in the 20th Century have a different system that uses electricity to connect the player with the pipes, thus removing all limits on the size and location of an organ. The sound and purpose of instruments with electrical action is often very different from those that are purely mechanical. The Flentrop organ at Messiah adheres an older mechanical procedure of construction: The case of an organ is like the body of a violin, insofar as both structures focus and project the sound, as do the walls of the room in which the instrument is sounding. Organ cases tend to be works of art themselves, combining the techniques of woodcarving, cabinet making, and metal working. An ideal location of an organ, both aurally and visually, is in a balcony. The instrument at Messiah Church is an excellent example of all these qualities.

The organ has two purposes, prayer and praise, which it serves by three functions; namely, to lead congregational singing, to accompany choirs and soloists, and to perform independently. It is one of the most noble creations of human genius and art.

 

FLENTROP 1990 organ specifications and stop list:

23 registers, 30 ranks

HOOFDWERK l (9 registers, 14 ranks)
* Prestant 8
* Gedekt 8
* Octaaf 4
* Roerfluit 4
* Quint 3
* Superoctaaf 2
* Mixtuur IV 1 1/3
* Cornet III 2 2/3 (partial-compass, C25-G56)
* Trompet 8

BOVENWERK (Zwelwerk) II (9 registers, 11 ranks)
* Bourdon 8
* Gamba 8
* Prestant 4 (enclosed behind the swell shutters)
* Fluit 4 (stopped)
* Nasard 3
* Woudfluit 2
* Terts 1 3/5
* Mixtuur III 2
* Hoboi 8

PEDAAL (5 registers)
* Bourdon 16 (wood)
* Fluit 8 (open, wood)
* Octaaf 4
* Fagott 16
* Trompet 8

* Tremulant (whole organ)

Couplers:  Hoodfd+Boven / Boven+Hoodfd (reversible), Hoofd+Pedaal, Boven+Pedaal. (Controlled by drawknobs)

Posted on: June 16th, 2011 by Edward Lamberton

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