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Opus 83

Downtown United Presbyterian Church

Rochester, NY

Created: 1983

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The linen white case was designed by Charles Fisk and Charles Nazarian to harmonize with the neo-Romanesque interior of the church.  The largest pipe in the façade is CC of the Great Prestant 16′.  The cantilevered Positive division evokes Opus 68 at the University of Vermont and fills the role of the traditional gallery rail Rückpositiv.

Regarding the organ’s placement, Charles Fisk wrote, “…Opus 83 has an interesting genesis and history.  Our original intent was to stand the new organ in the large rear gallery, leaving the front of the church pretty much unchanged.  But to my utter surprise, when it came time to think seriously about how we were to build this organ, a totally new idea was put forward by the church.  It involved using the organ to divide off the chancel into a kind of chapel and bringing the chancel forward of the proscenium arch as if by way of bringing the holiest part of the church directly into the midst of the congregation.  Acoustically, this meant that all of the sources of sound – the minister, the choir, and the organ – suddenly achieved a hitherto unknown presence for the listener…What truly amazed me most was the total architectural change wrought in the building interior.  Thanks to the vision of Frank Grosso [of the architectural firm Handler and Grosso] and others, there is an openness and lightness of spirit now precisely expressed.”

The tonal design for Opus 83 was developed in discussions between Charles Fisk and Director of Music and Organist J. Melvin Butler. Although the central inspiration for the stoplist comes from instruments of the North German Baroque, stops modeled after the French Baroque, (Great Trompette and Clairon, Positive Cromorne) and the French Romantic (Great Flûte harmonique, Swell Gambe, Voix céleste, Basson, Trompette, and Hautbois) give the organ a truly eclectic character.

Opus 83

Great manual I
Prestant16′ *
Principal 8′
┌ Spire Flute 8′ *
└ Flûte harmonique 8′
Octave 4′
┌Flute 4′
└Cornet V
┌Superoctave 2′
└Mixture VI-VIII
Trumpet 8′
Clairon 4′

Positive manual II
Prestant 8′
Bourdon 8′ *
Octave 4′
Baarpijp 4′
┌Nazard 2 2/3′
└Sesquialtera II
┌Doublet 2′
└Mixture IV-VI
Cromorne 8′
Trechterregal 8′

Swell manual III
Gambe 8′ *
┌Voix céleste 8′ *
└Quinta 1 1/3′
Cor de Nuit 8′ *
Italian Principal 4′ *
┌Waldflöte 2′
└Fourniture IV
Basson 16′ *
Trompette 8′
Hautbois 8′

┌Bourdon16′ *
└Bourdons 32′ + 16′
Prestant16′ Great
Octave 8′
┌Superoctave 4′ *
└Mixture V
Trombone 16′ *
Trumpet 8′


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


General Tremulant
Wind Stabilizer

* partly or completely reconditioned pipework
Fisk I Temperament
Two pairs of adjustable combination pedals (“On” and “Off”), one pair for stops on the right-hand jamb, one pair for stops on the left-hand jamb. Stop knobs are set by rotating knob 1⁄4 turn.
Bracketed pairs of stops controlled by single knob, half-draw brings on first stop and full draw brings on second
Manual keyboards CC-g3, 56 notes, flat & parallel Pedalboard CC-f1, 30 notes