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organ 136

October 2013

2 manuals
22 speaking stops

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The Queen's
College Chapel


Frobenius, 1965

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Organ of the Month archive
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Earlier this year, BOA members had the opportunity to hear & play three of the organs in the chapels of the colleges of Oxford University.  The new Tickell organ in Keble, one of those visited, has already featured as an Organ of the Month (no.121) but our first visit of the day was to the chapel of The Queen's College.

It is no exaggeration to say that, when it was built in 1965 by the Danish firm of Frobenius, it became one of the most influential organs in the country.  Nicholas Danby expressed the opinion in 1997 that it is "probably one of their best organs anywhere". Earlier this year is was awarded a Grade I Historic Organ Certificate.

Designed in the classical Werkprinzip style, the organ has mechanical action throughout.  Beneath the Great Organ in the central case is a Brustpositiv division that has doors with louvres controlled by a balanced swell pedal.  The two cases on either side house the Pedal Division, divided into C and C# sections.

It not only represented a radical departure from the 3-manual 1866 Walker that it replaced, but also had a considerable impact on UK organ-building at the time, with many important new British organs adopting the style of tone cabinets and tracker action.  The sound must have been a revelation to English ears in 1965 - and it is no less stunning today.

You can listen to Bach's Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV543 played on a rather larger (39 stops) Frobenius organ in Odense, Denmark as October 13's Music of the Month

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