Photo: Louis Patterson
The 2018 Schoenstein Organ, Opus 172
Following nearly five years of research, study, deliberations and conversations by the Organ Committee, in July 2016, the Vestry commissioned Schoenstein & Co. of Benecia, CA, to build a new organ for the Redeemer.
The Organ Committee and Vestry felt that Schoenstein’s long held commitment to the finest standards of quality in organ construction, sterling reputation, and, the warm and rich tones of their instruments made them the clear builder of choice.
The Schoenstein company has been established since 1877 and is one of America's oldest and largest builders. Their outstanding work has garnered them global respect as one of the finest builders in the industry today. Schoenstein & Co. have been responsible for building some of the most notable organs in the United States in recent times: St. James', Madison Avenue, New York, NY, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, TX, Nashville Symphony Hall, Nashville, TN and the massive instrument for the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT.
Jack Bethards (President and Tonal Director of Schoenstein) and his team, in consultation with Michael S. Murray (Director of Music) and Sean O'Donnell (consultant), have designed an organ that is centered in liturgy. The organ's primary goal is to accompany the congregation and the choirs with expressivity and elegance.
The Redeemer's architect, Henry Vaughan, an Englishman, born in Cheshire in 1845, apprenticed under George Frederick Bodley and came to Boston in 1881 to bring the “English Gothic style” to the Episcopal Church. Vaughan designed many magnificent churches and church furnishings varying in scale from small, sea-side village churches to the opulence of the National Cathedral. He died in 1917, in Newton Centre, two years after the Redeemer's consecration.
The organ cases for the Redeemer’s new Schoenstein Organ are based upon an historic design for the famous 1912 Harrison & Harrison organ at St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, England, making it the perfect contemporary to our elegant 1915 building.
Queen Elizabeth I declared St. Mary Redcliffe “the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England”. It is a Gothic structure constructed between the 12th and 15th centuries. The simple, yet stately design of the organ case allows the ‘purity of form’ to marry with the Gothic architecture in an harmonious and unpretentious fashion. The building is “Grade I listed” by the “Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England”.
Adapting the “Redcliffe” design for the Redeemer’s new Schoenstein organ facilitated the restoration of Vaughan’s initial vision of two organ cases (one in the Chancel and one over the Chapel), as well as the woodwork between the Chancel and Chapel.
The organ was blessed by The Right Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, on May 6, 2018.