For more than a half a century, Sir Edwin Alfred Grenville Manton and Lady Florence Manton were known to generations of Ascension clergy and parishioners as “Jim and Gretchen.” Next-door neighbors to the church in Greenwich Village, they were active in the parish throughout their lives in New York, and Jim Manton served as a warden and vestry member for many years. Their volunteer efforts helped sustain the parish through the course of many rectors and their generosity during their lives and by bequest continues this day to support the daily life, worship, and programs of Ascension.
A British subject until his death and a great collector of British art, especially the paintings of Constable, Jim Manton was knighted and became Sir Edwin in 1994 in recognition of his charitable contributions to the Tate Gallery in London; in fact, he was, after Sir Henry Tate, the most generous benefactor in the gallery’s history. But before and after that event, Mr. and Mrs. Manton’s generosity toward the Church of the Ascension was unequaled in our parish history. In addition, they had a special love of great music and valued Ascension’s unique place in the history of sacred music in America.
To honor their memory, The Manton Foundation chose a most appropriate gift to the parish by which to remember these two loyal parishioners: the first French-built organ ever to be installed in New York City, which, following its completion and dedication on May 1, 2011, is now one of the premier organs in the world.
Pascal Quoirin, master builder
The Manton Memorial Organ by Pascal Quoirin of St. Didier, France, is the first French-built pipe organ ever installed in New York City. With its 6,183 pipes, 95 stops, 111 ranks, 2 consoles, and 7 keyboards, it is the largest French organ built anywhere in almost 50 years.
The organ’s remarkable sound qualities impress both the novice and experienced listener, with an extraordinary dynamic range from ethereal and delicate to powerful and profound. The organ has a coloristic palate that expresses the clarity of Baroque masterworks, the virtually infinite nuance of 19th and 20th Century French masters, and offers the versatility demanded by the works of today and the future.
95 stops, 111 ranks
Three-manual, mechanical-action console
Four-manual electric console (movable)
16 Montre 16 Bourdon 8 Montre 8 *Second (large Cavaillé-Coll-style Montre) 8 Flûte traversière 8 Bourdon 8 Gambe 5 1/3 Gros Nasard 4 Prestant 4 *Second (large Cavaillé-Coll-style Prestant) 4 Flûte ouverte 3 1/5 Grosse Tierce 2 2/3 Quinte 2 2/3 Nasard 2 Doublette 2 Flûte Grande Fourniture II Fourniture IV Cymbale III Cornet VII (C3) 16 Bombarde 8 1ère Trompette 8 2ème Trompette (chamade) 4 Clairon Tremblant 8 Trompette harmonique en chamade
16 Quintaton 8 Montre 8 Flûte conique 8 Bourdon 8 Salicional 4 Prestant 4 Flûte conique 2 2/3 Nasard 2 Doublette 2 Quarte de Nasard 1 3/5 Tierce 1 1/3 Larigot 1 Flageolet Fourniture IV Cymbale III 16 Basson 8 Trompette 4 Clairon 8 Cromorne Tremblant 8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade (Récit)
8 Bourdon 4 Flûte allemande 2 2/3 Nasard 1 3/5 Tierce 8 Trompette 8 Hautbois 8 Voix humaine 8 Basson (Cor anglais) 8 Clarinette Tremblant 8 * Trompette harmonique en chamade
16 *Bourdon 8 *Principal 8 *Flûte harmonique 8 *Bourdon 8 *Gambe 8 *Voix céleste 8 *Aéoline 8 *Aéoline céleste 4 *Prestant 4 *Flûte octaviante 2 2/3 *Nasard harmonique 2 *Octavin 1 3/5 *Tierce harmonique *Plein Jeu V *Sur Cymbale III 16 *Basson 8 *Trompette harmonique 4 *Clairon harmonique 8 *Basson Hautbois 8 *Voix humaine *Tremblant 8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade
32 Bourdon 16 Flûte 16 Principal 16 Bourdon 16 *Petit Bourdon (Récit) 10 2/3 Grande Quinte 8 Flûte 8 Violoncelle 8 Bourdon 6 2/3 Grande Tierce 51/3 Quinte 4 Prestant 4 Flûte 3 1/5 Tierce 2 Quinzième Plein Jeu IV 32 Bombarde 16 Bombarde 16 Basson (Schnitger-type Posaune) 8 Trompette 8 Basson (Schnitger-type Posaune) 4 Clairon 8 *Trompette harmonique en chamade *playable only on the electric console
More information about recitals on the Manton Memorial Organ — including the 2013 Winter organ series, January 23 and March 5, can be found on the Voices of Ascension web site.
On Saturday, June 2, 2012, organist Christopher Houlihan performed the first concert of his Vierne Marathon including all six Symphonies on The Manton Memorial Organ. This link is a video clip of Mr. Houlihan playing Vierne on The Manton Memorial Organ.
Read about the history of previous organs at the Church of the Ascension on the web site of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.