Temple Beth-El - New York City (ca. 1895)
 

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Congregation Beth-El

945 Fifth Avenue at 76th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021


Organ Specifications:
Fifth Avenue at 76th Street (1891-1927)
IV/88 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 3585 (1924)
III/46 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 290 (1890)
Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street (1874-1891)
II/32 George Jardine & Son (c.1875)
172 Norfolk Street (1850-1874)
II/26 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 68 (1868)



Temple Anshe Chesed on Lexington Avenue @ 63rd Street - New York City (Moses King, 1893)  
Lexington Ave. & 63rd St. (1893)
 
In 1891, Congregation Beth-El (House of God), which had merged a few years earlier with Congregation Adas Jeshurun, sold its synagogue (Anshe Chesed) at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street to Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and built a grand new temple facing Central Park on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventy-sixth Street. Brunner & Tryon designed the Romanesque building at a cost of $350,000 on a site valued at an additional $250,000. The temple was surmounted by an overscaled dome ribbed with traditional Moorish patterns. The sanctuary could accomodate 2,900 people and was illuminated by 1,000 incandescent bulbs.

The New York Times (Sep. 19, 1891) described the building:

  Temple Beth-El - New York City (Odell Organ Co. Brochure, 1896)
 
Beth-El Interior (c.1890)
"The auditorium is amphitheatrical in form and has four galleries, one on each side and two over the main entrance. ... The ceiling is arched and is supported at a height of seventy feet by a marble colonnade. It is decorated with intricate gold tracery. The shrine at the eastern end is composed of columns of Mexican onyx with gold capitals and bases supporting an onyx arch on which are the tables of the law, framed in gold. On each side are columns of Numidian marble and the entire shrine rests on St. Baume marble. The background is a semicircular wall of marble and gold mosaic, surmounted by a marble cornice. Above this is a marble colonnade supporting a half-domed ceiling and behind this colonnade are the organ and the choir loft.

"There are only four columns on the main floor and from these run the arches which support the ceiling. The source of light by day and night is a field of stained glass 1,200 [square] feet in extent in the ceiling. Above this is a skylight of clear glass, and between the two will be placed powerful electric lamps. One thousand incandescent lamps are placed with decorative effect throughout the temple."


In 1927, Congregation Beth-El merged into Congregation Emanu-El, but services for the combined group were conducted in the Beth-El sanctuary until the new Temple Emanu-El at Fifth Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street was dedicated on January 10, 1930. The Beth-El synagogue was also used to accommodate overflow crowds from Temple Emanu-El on high religious holidays; the last such service was held in 1946.

Temple Beth-El was also used for about a year by the Park Avenue Baptist Church until their new edifice, The Riverside Church, was completed in 1930 on Riverside Drive and 122nd Street. During World War II, part of the temple was used as a dormitory for servicemen.

The building was sold for $420,000 to the Rudin family on May 30, 1945. On the site today is a 19-story apartment building designed by Emory Roth & Sons and erected in 1949.
               
 

Console of M.P. Möller Organ, Op. 3585 (1924) at Temple Beth-El - New York City (The American Organist, April 1925)

  M.P. Möller Console
  Dr. Clarence Dickinson at Console of M.P. Möller Organ, Op. 3585 (1924) at Temple Beth-El - New York City (Vermont Organ Academy)
  Dr. Clarence Dickinson at the Möller Console
M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 3585 (1924)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 130 registers, 73 stops, 88 ranks



In 1924, a new organ by M.P. Möller was installed in Temple Beth-El, replacing the previous 1890 organ by the Odell Company. Dr. Clarence Dickinson, organist at the temple, designed the specifications for the organ, in consultation with Mr. L. Luberoff, eastern representative of the Möller firm. Much attention was given to the console details, incorporating features which later became standard in American organ design. Dr. Dickinson arranged the drawknobs with reeds at the top, flues at the bottom, building up from 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, with the grouping within this scheme of Diapasons, Flutes, and Strings. The Register Crescendo Pedal also received much consideration: a moving marker on a thermometer-like bar with 100 figures showed at a glance just how far the device had been engaged, and the Crescendo expression pedal was separated from the divisional swell pedals by a metal bar to prevent accidental use.

The organ and choir were located at the front of the temple, behind a row of columns one floor above the Bima. Black velvet drapes masked the choir and organ so that the congregation saw nothing and the music came from sources invisible.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed (5" wind)
16
  Diapason [old, unenc.]
61
4
  Stopped Flute (fr. Bourdon)
16
  Bourdon
97
2 2/3
  Twelfth + [old]
61
8
  Open Diapason #1 [unenc.]
61
2
  Fifteenth + [old]
61
8
  Open Diapason #2 [old, unenc.]
61
1 1/3
  Larigot +
61
8
  Stentorphone
SO
1 3/5
  Tierce +
61
8
  Open Diapason
CH
1 1/7
  Septieme +
61
8
  Gross Floete
CH
    Mixture V ranks [draws stops marked +]
8
  Philomela
SO
    Mixture IV ranks [old]
244
8
  Doppel Floete [old]
73
8
  Trumpet
SO
8
  Stopped Flute (fr. Bourdon)
8
  Corno d'Amour
SO
8
  Concert Flute
CH
16
  Ophicleide
SO
8
  Flute Celeste
CH
8
  Tuba
SO
8
  Violoncello
CH
4
  Clarion
SO
8
  Cello Celeste
CH
   
Chimes [G to G]
25 bells
8
  Gemshorn [61 old]
73
8
  Harp
CH
8
  Unda Maris
CH
4
  Celesta
CH
4
  Octave [old]
61
    Tremulant  
4
  Flute Harmonique
73
     
             
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (7½" wind)
16
  Bourdon
73
4
  Octave [61 old]
73
8
  Open Diapason #1
73
4
  Hohl Flute [61 old]
73
8
  Open Diapason #2 [61 old]
73
4
  Flauto Traverso
73
8
  Violin Diapason [61 old]
73
4
  Viol (fr. 8')
8
  Gedeckt
73
2
  Flautina [old]
61
8
  Melodia [61 old]
73
    Dolce Cornet III ranks
219
8
  Grosse Gamba
73
    Flute Mixture III ranks
219
8
  Grosse Gamba Celeste
73
16
  Posaune
73
8
  Viol
73
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
4
  Clarion (fr. Cornopean)
8
  Viol Celeste II ranks
134
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Salicional
73
8
  Vox Humana (sep. box & trem.)
73
8
  Muted Viole II ranks
134
    Tremulant  
 
     
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (7" wind)
16
  Contra Viole
73
8
  French Horn
SO
8
  Diapason
73
8
  Orchestral Oboe
SO
8
  Grosse Floete
73
8
  French Trumpet
SO
8
  Concert Flute [61 old]
73
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Flute Celeste
73
8
 
Harp
49 bars
8
  Violoncello
73
4
  Harp (ext.)
8
  Cello Celeste
73
    Tremulant  
8
  Dulciana [old]
73
    Echo Organ (Choir Side)  
8
  Quintadena
73
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
97
8
  Unda Maris II ranks [old]
134
8
  Echo Flute (fr. Lieb. Ged.)
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
8
  Vox Angelica
73
4
  Zart Flute (fr. Quintadena)
8
  Muted Viole
73
2 2/3
  Nazard
61
4
  Chimney Flute (fr. Lieb. Ged.)
2
  Piccolo
61
    Solo Mixture III ranks
279
    Dulciana Mixture V ranks
365
8
  Cor Anglais
73
16
  English Horn
85
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  English Horn (fr. 16')
   
Chimes (Blank)
[25 Notes]
4
  English Horn (fr. 16')
16
  Bourdon (Pedal)
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (10" & 15" wind)
8
  Stentorphone
73
4
  English Horn
CH
8
  Philomela
73
4
  English Horn
CH
4
  Flute Harmonique
73
    Echo Organ (Solo Side)  
16
  Ophicleide
97
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
8
  Tuba (fr. Ophic.)
8
  Echo Flute
4
  Clarion (fr. Ophic.)
8
  Vox Angelica
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Muted Viole
8
  French Trumpet
73
8
  Chimney Flute
8
  French Horn
73
    Solo Mixture III ranks
8
  Corno d'Amour
73
8
  Cor Anglais
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Vox Humana
8
  Musette
73
    Chimes
16
  English Horn
CH
16
  Bourdon [Pedal]
               
String Organ (floating) – 61 notes, enclosed (10" wind) – console preparation only
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
8
  Violin Diapason (flat)
8
  Viole d'Orchestre (sharp)
2 2/3
  String Twelfth
8
  Viole d'Orchestre (flat)
2
  String Fifteenth
8
  Gemshorn
    Dolce String Mixture V ranks
8
  Gemshorn Celeste
8
  Vox Humana
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (5" & 10" wind)
32
  Bourdon [30 old, unit]
68
8
  Gedeckt
SW
32
  Resultant
8
  Violoncello
SW
16
  Open Diapason #1
44
4
  Flute (fr. 32' Bdn.)
16
  Open Diapason #2 [30 old]
32
32
 
Bombarde
preparation
16
  Small Diapason
GT
16
  Trombone
44
16
  Large Bourdon (fr. 32' Bdn.)
16
  Ophicleide
SO
16
  Small Bourdon
GT
16
  English Horn
CH
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Posaune
SW
16
  Contra Viole
CH
8
  Tromba (fr. 16' Tbn.)
16
  String Bass [Bearded Metal]
32
8
  Tuba
SO
8
  Octave ((fr. Op.Diap.#1)
4
  Clarion
SO
8
  Bass Flute (fr. 32' Bdn.)
       
           
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8'   Solo to Choir 8'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Great to Solo 8'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Solo 16', 8', 4'
    Solo to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Solo 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Great to Great 16', 4'
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir to Choir 16', 4'
    Solo to Swell 8'   Solo to Solo 16', 4'
    Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'    
         
Adjustable Combinations
   
Echo Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb) – under Solo and Choir manuals to left
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (toe)
General Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-0 (thumb)
         
Pedal Movements
    Swell to Pedal Reversible (toe)
    Choir to Pedal Reversible (toe)
    Great to Pedal Reversible (toe)
    Sforzando Reversible (thumb & toe) – with light indicator
    Balanced Swell Pedal on Great Organ section #1
    Balanced Swell Pedal on Great Organ section #2
    Balanced Swell Pedal on Swell Organ – between D-sharp and F-sharp
    Balanced Swell Pedal on Solo & Echo
    Balanced Swell Pedal on Choir & Echo
    General Swell Pedal provided for only – no shutters
    All Swells to Solo Swell Pedal by piston over Swell balanced pedal
    Crescendo Pedal on entire organ adjustable by eight mechnical pistons.
    Scale indicator included.
               
Mechanicals
    Solo, Swell, Great and Choir Unison buttons in key jambs. "On" and "Off" left side.
    Echo "On" and "Off" or both with Solo by buttons in key jambs right side.
    Echo "On" and "Off" or both with Choir by pistons in key jambs right side.
    Harp dampers "On" and "Off" by buttons on right Great key cheek.
    Pedal combinations "Off" and "On" – each manual combination to be wired as instructed
    by Dr. Dickinson.
    Pedal Keys to be absolutely noiseless on release by extra felt.
    Padding Swell shade action to be absolutely noiseless by boxin up the entire shade section
    on top side and bottom.
                
J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 290 (1890)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 43 stops, 46 ranks


The first organ installed in Temple Beth-El on Fifth Avenue was built in 1890 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason
58
4
  Octave
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
4
  Flute Harmonique
58
8
  Gemshorn
58
2 2/3
  Octave Quint
58
8
  Dulciana
58
2
  Super Octave
58
8
  Viola da Gamba
58
    Mixture IV ranks
232
8
  Doppel Flöte
58
8
  Trumpet
58
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Contra Gamba
58
4
  Octave
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
4
  Hohl Flöte
58
8
  English Diapason
58
2
  Flageolet (open)
58
8
  Gamba
58
16
  Contra Fagotto
58
8
  Salicional
58
8
  Cornopean
58
8
  Vox Celestis
58
8
  Oboe
58
8
  Aeoline
58
8
  Vox Humana
58
8
  Melodia
58
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes, enclosed
8
  German Principal
58
8
  Concert Flute
58
8
  Violin Diapason
58
4
  Rohr Flöte
58
8
  Keraulophon
58
2
  Piccolo (open)
58
8
  Quintadena
58
8
  Clarinet
58
8
  Dulce d'Amour (ppp)
58
       
               
Pedal Organ– 30 notes
32
  Contra Bourdon
30
8
  Open Flute
30
16
  Open Diapason
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Gamba
30
16
  Trombone
30
16
  Bourdon
30
       
               
Accessories
    6 unison couplers       Bellows signal  
                
  George Jardine & Son Organ (c.1875) in Temple Rodeph Sholom - New York City (Rodeph Sholom Archives)
Organ in Temple Anshe Chesed on Lexington Avenue:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (c.1875)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 27 stops, 32 ranks






The New York City organbuilding firm of George Jardine & Son installed a two-manual mechanical action organ in Temple Anshe Chesed, located on Lexington Avenue at 63rd Street. The date of this organ has not been confirmed but is assumed to be contemporary with the opening of the building in 1875.

Lynnwood Farnam (1885-1930), noted concert organist of the early 20th century, recorded the following specifications (on Nov. 11, 1922) in one of his "Organ Notebooks" now in the collection of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Farnam inspected the organ in what was then Temple Rodeph Sholom, and wrote these comments:
"A noble old instrument, honest and fine. Nearly all pipes are on view and variously painted. The Gt. 16 ft. is artistically voiced and tonally forms a rich background, blending well with any 8 ft. stop even in tenor octave. Placed in west gallery. Tracker action. Organist – Joseph Davis."
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
16
  Double Diapason
58
4
  Flute Harmonique
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
2 2/3
  Twelfth
58
8
  Gamba
58
2
  Fifteenth
58
8
  Melodia
58
    Mixture III ranks
174
8
  Clariana Flute
58
8
  Trumpet
58
4
  Principal
58
4
  Clarion
58
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon (TC)
46
4
  Echo Flute
58
16
  Bourdon Bass
12
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
    Cornet IV ranks
232
8
  Lieblich Gedeckt
58
8
  Cornopean
58
8
  Dulciana
58
8
  Vox Humana
58
4
  Principal
58
    Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 27 notes
16
  Open Diapason (wood)
27
8
  Violoncello
27
16
  Violon (metal)
27
4
  Super Octave
27
16
  Bourdon
27
       
               
Couplers

 
Hand-pistons

    Great to Pedal     6 to Great (tracker action)
    Swell to Pedal     1 Great to Pedal on
    Bellows Signal     1 Great to Pedal off
    Swell to Great (by On & Off piston)  
                
Organ installed in synagogue at 172 Norfolk Street:

J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 68 (1868)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 23 stops, 26 ranks


The first known organ for Congregation Anshe Chesed was built in 1868 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City. Located in the rear gallery of the "Norfolk Street Synagogue," the organ provided accompaniment to the Reform Judaic liturgy.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 56 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason (TC)
44
4
  Flute Harmonic
56
8
  Open Diapason
56
3
  Twelfth
56
8
  Keraulophon
56
2
  Fifteenth
56
8
  Stop Diapason }
56
1 1/2
  Sesquialtra [sic], 3 ranks
168
8
  Clarionet Flute }
8
  Trumpet
56
4
  Principal
56
4
  Clarion
56

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 56 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon Bass      }
56
4
  Principal
56
16
  Double Diapason }
2
  Fifteenth
56
8
  Open Diapason
56
    Cornet, 2 ranks
112
8
  Dulciana
56
8
  Oboe
56
8
  Stop Diapason Bass   }
56
    Tremulant  
8
  Stop Diapason Treble }        

     

     
Pedal Organ – 25 notes
16
  Grand Double Op. Diapason
25
12
  Quint
25
8
  Violoncello
25
16
  Trombone
25
               
Couplers
    "The celebrated Patent reversible coupler"
    Swell to Great Manual
    Swell Manual to Pedal
    Great Manual to Pedal
     
Pneumatic Compositions
"Our patent pneumatic compositions making the organ more effective than five more stops and three keyboards."
1.
  Full Great Organ to Reeds
2.
  Full to Principal
3.
  All 8 feet Stops
4.
  Open & Clarionet Flute
5.
  Clarionet & Harmonic Flute
6.
  Keraulophon & Clarionet Flute
7.
  Clarionet Flute
8.
  Flute Harmonic
               
Sources:
     The American Organ Archives of the Organ Historical Society (Princeton, N.J.). Factory Specifications of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 3585 (1924). Courtesy Bynum Petty via Jeff Scofield.
     The American Organist (April 1925). Specifications of M. P. Möller organ, Op. 3585 (1924), with comments by Dr. Clarence Dickinson. Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Farnam, Lynnwood. "Organ Notebook" with specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 290 (1890). John de Lancie Library, The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. Courtesy Sally Branca, Archivist; and Jonathan Bowen.
     "Historic Temple Being Demolished: Beth-El Edifice, Once Among Finest in Country to be Replaced by Apartments," Jewish Heritage Report (Vol. I, No. 2 / Summer 1997).
     Nickerson's Illustrated Church, Musical and School Directory of New York and Brooklyn. New York: Nickerson & Young, 1895.
     J.H. & C.S. Odell & Company brochure, "Metropolitan Churches," 1896: Temple Beth-El interior. Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Stern, Robert A.M., Thomas Mellins, and David Fishman. New York 1880: Architecture and Urbanism in the Gilded Age. New York City: The Monacelli Press, 1999.
     "Their Temple Dedicated," The New York Times (Sep. 19, 1891).
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 68 (1868).

Illustrations:
     The American Organ Archives of the Organ Historical Society (Princeton, N.J.). Dr. Clarence Dickinson at console of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 3585 (1924). Courtesy Bynum Petty via Jeff Scofield.
     The American Organist (April 1925). Console of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 3585 (1924). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Congregation Rodeph Sholom Archives. George Jardine & Son Organ (c.1875). Courtesy Josh Abramowitz.
     J.H. & C.S. Odell & Company brochure, "Metropolitan Churches," 1896. Interior. Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Nickerson's Illustrated Church, Musical and School Directory of New York and Brooklyn. Exterior (ca. 1895).