Krone Krone

Ex Bethersden (nr Ashford), Kent; Colt Clavier Collection, church barrel organ, late 18th century

N.N. Holland, Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire

State of preservation: The instrument is preserved with16 barrels, presumably plugged by John Christopher Smith jun. (1712-1795), copyist and heir of Handel, mostly containing Handel's organ works and arrangements of popular arias and chorusses of his operas and oratorios.

Small barrel organs without keyboard have been rather popular in England during the 18th century, obviously intended for parishes who could not afford an organist. As a rule these barrel organs were supplied with a choice of popular chorales but also some barrels of secular songs or concert pieces. The placement of the barrel pins permitted the reproduction of minute details of human playing, Therefore these barrels are precious documents of organ playing styles of the past.

Organ automats like these often were replaced after one or two generations either by new "proper" organs with keyboards or sold for private use or scrap and are therefore very rare today.



4 ranks, 28 notes

Stopped diapason 8’ (larch)
Flute 4’ (metal)
Fifth 22/3’ (metal)
Octave 2’ (metal)

Q: Olivier Roux, Text of record Erato ERA 9274, 1986.

Music sample

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759): organ concert op. 4, no. 5


© Greifenberger Institut für Musikinstrumentenkunde |