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The Fisk Opus 106 Organ

a photo of the PSU Fisk Opus 106 Organ

The Fisk Opus 106 organ was completed in 1995 and presented by the PSU Foundation to Pittsburg State University on October 29 of the same year. The Inaugural Recitals were performed by Susan Marchant, University Organist, immediately following the presentation ceremony and again that evening. In March, 1996, the inaugural celebration continued with a three-day festival that offered recitals and master classes by Yuko Hayashi, Douglas Reed, and Louis Robilliard, as well as a choral concert featuring organist Marie Rubis Bauer.

The Fisk Opus 106 Society was established during 1995 to help support activities related to the organ, such activities to include an annual recital series, recordings, competitions, and other events that might help make this magnificent instrument known to a wider audience. Since its inception, the Society has assisted in bringing a number of prominent artists to campus for performances and classes.

A stop list for the organ follows, along with the Statement from the Builder from the inaugural program. For further information about the organ program at Pittsburg State, click here to contact Susan Marchant.


McCray Recital Hall
Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg, Kansas
C.B. Fisk, Inc., Opus 106

Great, 58 notes, Manual I

1. Prestant 16'
2. Octave 8'
3. Spillpfeife 8'
4. Flûte harmonique 8'
5. Violoncelle 8'
6. Octave 4'
7. Waldflöte 4'
8. Twelfth 2 2/3'
9. Fifteenth 2'
10. Seventeenth 1 3/5'
11. Progressive Mixture II-VI *
12. Mixture V-VI
13. Trommeten 8'
14. Trompette 8'
15. Clairon 4'

Positive, 58 notes, Manual II

16. Bourdon 16'
17. Prestant 8'
18. Gedackt 8'
19. Octave 4'
20. Baarpijp 4'
21. Nazard 2 2/3'
22. Doublet 2'
23. Quarte de Nazard 2'
24. Tierce 1 3/5'
25. Scharff III-V
26. Cromorne 8'

Swell, 58 notes, Manual III

27. Flûte traversière 8'
28. Viole de gambe 8'
29. Voix céleste 8'
30. Flûte octaviante 4'
31. Octavin 2'
32. Cornet V (c1-a3)
33. Basson 16'
34. Trompette 8'
35. Hautbois 8'
36. Voix humaine 8'

Pedal, 30 notes

37. Bourdon 32'           ext #16
38. Open Wood 16'
39. Prestant 16'            from #16
40. Bourdon 16'           from #16
41. Octave 8'
42. Spillpfeife 8'          from #3
43. Violoncelle 8'           ** alt #5
44. Octave 4'
45. Mixture IV
46. Posaune 16'
47. Trommeten 8'          ** alt #13
48. Trompette 8'           ** alt #14
49. Clairon 4'              **alt #15

* Derived by muting pitches higher than 1 1/3' from notes #1-32 of number 12, Mixture V-VI. This effect is engaged by depressing a hookdown pedal.

** Alternating stops may be used in the Great or Pedal divisions or used in both divisions only when drawn in the Great and coupled to the Pedal.

Couplers

Swell to Great
Positive to Great
Swell to Positive
Great to Pedal
Positive to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

Two of these couplers (Great to Pedal, Swell to Pedal) may be operated by pedal reversibles as well.

Tremulant
Wind Stabilizer
Balanced Swell Shoe

Combination Pedals

Two adjustable pairs of pedals ("On" and "Off"), one for stops of the right-hand jamb, one for stops of the left-hand jamb. Combinations are changed by rotating the individual stop knobs.

Ventil: Swell Basson 16', Trompette 8', Octavin 2'


Statement from the builder
C.B. Fisk, Inc.

C.B. Fisk, Inc. was founded in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1961 by the late Charles B. Fisk. A person of many interests and talents, he chose organ building as the profession to combine his extraordinary aptitude in physics with his lifelong love of music.

The workshop soon attracted bright young co-workers who combined their skills in music, art, engineering, and cabinetry to build the organs which would redefine modern American organ building. Always experimenting, Charles Fisk was the first modern American organ builder to abandon electro pneumatic action and return to the mechanical (tracker) key and stop action of historical European and American instruments. Other recent important academic installations include organs at Wellesley College, Mt. Holyoke College, Stanford University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dallas is the site of an instrument at Southern Methodist University as well as a large concert instrument at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

C.B. Fisk still combines the science of physics and the art of music under the leadership of the staff selected and trained by Charles Fisk. The same people who were once drawn by Charles Fisk's bold ideas and gentle manner now share their insight and experience with another generation of organ builders. Their talent and imagination continues to stretch the boundaries of organ building, producing instruments that add to the rich heritage of organs and the performance of organ music.

Over the past thirty-five years, C.B. Fisk has been called upon to build organs in a variety of academic, church, and concert hall settings. To fill this wide range of musical needs, they draw on different periods and styles of organ building in an effort to make instruments that will be as musical and as versatile as possible. Current projects include large instruments at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston, and a new Symphonic Concert Hall, Yokohama, Japan.


Opus 106

The new organ at McCray Hall, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas was designed and built by C.B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The instrument has 41 independent speaking stops, 57 ranks and 2,270 pipes. It is Opus 106 of the Fisk firm. Virginia Fisk, Chairman of the Board, and Steven Dieck, President of C.B. Fisk, made the initial proposals in a visit during the fall of 1990 to the University. The organ is located in the same position as the Reuter instrument installed in the 1950's. Extensive backstage modifications as well as the installation of new silent air handling equipment were carried out during preparations of the space for the new organ.

The visual design for Opus 106 was developed by Charles Nazarian to harmonize with and complement McCray Hall. The color scheme was inspired by the beautiful tiles in the Foyer. The organ design was created with the aid of a scale model which allowed the designers to view the case from all angles. Great care was taken to ensure that the visual effect would provide a subtle sculptural quality which would enhance the space and yet not overwhelm the hall.

The organ console is attached to the base of the façade at the center of the instrument. The key and stop actions are direct mechanical. Four mechanical combination pedals have been provided to enable the performer to more easily make stop changes during a performance.

The pipework of the Great and most of the Pedal division is on two windchests just behind the impost. The pipes of the Positive division are behind the front pipes just above the console. The Swell division is located in the top center of the case. This division is arranged in a long narrow chest with Swell shades on three sides of the Swell box, which make possible dramatic crescendo effects. The largest wooden pipes of the Pedal division are placed behind the Great Chests at the rear of the organ area.

The front pipes of the organ are made of hammered spotted metal, an alloy of tin and lead. The outer towers and the lower flats contain the largest metal pipes of the 16' Prestant which form the basis of the Principal chorus of the Great division. When used alone the 16' Prestant is a rather soft, gentle stop. This stop with the 8' Octave, 4' Octave, 2 2/3' Twelfth, 2' Fifteenth, and Mixture V-VI, forms the Principal chorus, the basic sound used for much of the organ repertory. The central tower above the console, as well as the upper flats, contain the lowest pipes of the Positive 8' Prestant. The Positive division has its own Principal chorus, which contrasts with that of the Great. Pipework of the Principal family has generous toeholes, healthy windways with light nicking, and moderate to high cut-ups which result in a warm, singing fundamental tone.

There is a wealth of flute color in the instrument, inspired by historic examples. The Positive Bourdon 8' is a covered stop, that is, the pipes are half as long as the foot designation with a stopper in the end, creating a sound which is foundational, cool and dark. The Baarpijp 4' is partially covered, with a slightly brighter sound than the Gedackt. The Spillpfeife 8' of the Great is a stop patterned after seventeenth century German examples which were, in turn, imitations of the Viol, a stringed consort instrument. The sound of this stop is soft, yet bright and transparent, voiced for accompanying both other instruments and the solo stops of the organ. The Flûte harmonique of the Great along with the 8', 4', 2' Swell Flûte chorus are overblowing stops, constructed twice as long as necessary in order to overblow to the first harmonic, giving a characteristic pure and "breathy" quality which is associated with the orchestral flute. Flute pipes are voiced more delicately than the Principals with narrower windways and smaller toeholes for a softer sound. These sounds combine well for many subtle effects, useful in organ music as well as for repertory with chorus and instruments.

The Cornet V on the Swell is a telling reed-like treble solo stop made from flute pipes sounding at 8', 4', 2 2/3', 2' and 1 3/5' pitches. A similar yet more delicate sound may be created on the Positive by combining the Nazard and Tierce with the Gedackt, Rohrflöte and Quarte de Nazard. The Twelfth and Seventeenth may be combined with Great Flutes or Principals to form a more biting "Sesquialtera" effect. These combinations form the "jeu de Tierce," obligatory sounds for eighteenth century French and German organ music.

The Swell Viole de gambe is patterned after nineteenth century French examples. By adding the Voix céleste, intentionally tuned slightly sharp, a pleasant undulating effect can be obtained.

The Trommeten 8' of the Great provides a smooth round (almost "tubby") tone for reinforcement of the Principal chorus or as a solo stop. This stop is based on German examples of the seventeenth century. The Trompette 8' and Clairon 4' are bold and fiery, built along eighteenth century French lines. The Swell Basson 16' and Trompette 8' are more restrained than the Great French Trumpet, in the manner of those in the Romantic French organs. The Pedal Posaune is large and round in tone. The Positive Cromorne is boisterous, a complement to the Great French Trompette, with which it is often used. The Swell Hautbois is a characteristic Oboe; it serves as a solo stop and can enrich the sound when used with the foundations--a necessary combination for much nineteenth century music. The Voix humaine 8' is patterned after early examples; its characteristic soft bleating sound makes one wonder at the vocal techniques of singers centuries ago. All of the reeds are voiced by carefully curving their brass tongues until maximum tone is produced and speech is still prompt.

The manual divisions are winded from a single large wedge bellows, following the tradition of historical winding systems, which gives a gently flexible character to early music. A large winker may be engaged for music requiring a more stable wind supply. The organ is tuned in a slightly unequal temperament first developed by Charles Fisk for Opus 78 at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. The temperament gives flavor to the common keys for performance of earlier music but still allows the chromaticism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to be heard without compromise.


Professor of Organ, Dr. Susan J. Marchant, Pittsburg State University.

Dr. Marchant's CD, performed on the Fisk Organ Op. 106.


For additional information contact:
Department of Music
1701 S. Broadway
Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg, Kansas 66762
(620) 235-4466,
music@pittstate.edu