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CLAVIERS BAROQUES -- Instruments for long and short-term rental

Estey Reed Organ (Harmonium) "The Lady Gertrude"*

Estey Reed Organ (Harmonium) "Gertrude", five octaves FF to f'‘', 3@ 8" stops (split), 1@ 4" stop. Bass and treble couplers, celeste stop, vox humana effect, 2 forte controls, 2 knee levers and 1@ 16" stop (one octave). Modern pitch (A = 440). Value -- $5,000.

Gertrude is a veteran of much new music including several world and Canadian premieres. She is especially proud of her part in the CBC's "Mahler in Miniature" series in October 2000 with Mario Bernardi and Raffi Armenian. She excels as an organ substitute or to give that authentic flavour to carol and hymn sings. De rigeur for the Dvorak Bagatelles. It is worth noting that she is a "real" pump organ, no electricity is required, so can be used anywhere. It is quite possible to pump silently with a little practice, if that is what is wanted, and in the finale you can pull out all the stops and bang the pedals for a rousing percussion effect.

She is an Estey, "The Cadillac of Organs", dating back to 1885. She was built by the Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro Vermont as a church organ, judging by the trefoils and other ecclesiastical designs used in her case woodwork -- the organs intended for domestic use, the "parlour" organs, usually have floral designs. She saw service in Presbyterian and United churches in Western Canada including British Colombia, where she was when purchased by her present owner, New Zealand composer Amelia Nurse. Gertrude has been re-tuned from her original A = 418 to A=440 (modern pitch). When we brought her in for the CBC mini-Mahler festival, Maestro Mario Bernardi exclaimed, "That is the only harmonium I have ever heard that is in tune!"

Dimensions: 122 cm wide x 122 cm high and 56 to 61 cm (48" x 48" and 22"- 24") front-to-back depending on whether she's on her dolly or off .  The bench adds maybe another 30 cm (approx 12") out the front, depending on how long the player's legs are. The music desk and the removable decorative 'ear' pieces add another 13 cm (5") or so in height.

Concert rental fee $350 – includes delivery & set-up and removal after the performance. Additional moves would be charged at $100.00 each. GST and Ontario PST are extra. A bench is supplied.

Long-term rental is $350 for the first month (includes pick and delivery charges and set-up, mileage charges may apply out of the Greater Toronto area), subsequent months are $200. GST or HST (Ontario) extra.

Studio rental $10.00/hour -- practice time in our shop is available when Gertrude is not otherwise engaged. Ideal for players or singers preparing for concerts, competitions, auditions or examinations. Call ahead to book so that we can make sure she is set up and tuned and that we are not operating the table saw while you are trying to play.

For more information or to book her, contact us
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* Update 1: Gertrude was 'damified' by Toronto organist Christopher Dawes when he last played on her, so now we call her The Lady Gertrude -- how grand!

Update 2:  Gertude's owner Amelia Nurse is now working for Radio New Zealand .  She produces radio shows, does interviews and podcasts.  I was keen on her restaurant series (here is one I esp liked)  and here is one of her street musician series, a bagpipe busker.  Check them all out here.

Gertrude on the set of CBC Television's Opening Night in October 2001. Schoenberg, this time.
Martine, turquoise blue and
                            gold French double harpsichord

Stops and effects:

  • Bass coupler
  • Sub-bass 16" (CC to B, sounds one octave lower) -- for the lowest octave only
  • Octave 4"
  • Flute 4"
  • Diapason 8"
  • Dulciana 8"
  • Waldflote 2" (currently still at A=436)
  • Forte 1
  • Vox humana (affects both bass and treble)
  • Forte 2
  • Dulciana 8"
  • Diapason 8"
  • Vox Celeste 8"
  • Flute 4"
  • Schalmei 8"
  • Treble coupler

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-- last updated December 17, 2013