The Aubertin Organ
The University Chapel of King's College is home to a fine new organ built after competitive tender by Bernard Aubertin, one of the world's leading organ builders. The French Ministry of Culture conferred on him the title of Maître d'art Facture d'Orgues, the highest accolade ever given by France to an organ builder. Although Aubertin's work is to be found in many countries, this is the very first Aubertin organ in Scotland and, indeed, in the United Kingdom.
The new organ has three manuals and pedals, with 26 speaking stops. The great organ includes a reconstructed 'medieval blockwerk' - in recognition of the age of the building and to replicate the sound the original organ might well have made. The sound quality will be built on the French Montre stop - the original inspiration for the staple British organ sound called Diapason. These two sounds will encourage congregational singing at services. There is a Trumpet stop to welcome brides, a characteristic French Voix Humaine, and several stops are suitable for accompanying both singers and instrumentalists.
One of the unusual features of the pedal division is a wooden reed stop - Buz?ne - which gives clarity and depth to the full organ sound. The organ provides a variety of different sounds and colours and has a highly responsive action. The appearance of the instrument enhances the interior of the Chapel and the unique design, with pipes on all four sides, enables the organ to speak freely and naturally throughout the whole building.
Also in the Chapel is a small one manual organ built by Nigel Church around 15 years ago. It has three speaking stops and is in equal temperament.
The oldest instrument was built by the celebrated British builder Jacobus Kirkman in 1771. It is a two manual instrument restored 25 years ago by Derek Adlam and is in fine playing condition.
The other two manual instrument was built by the Music Department's former technician Derek Giles in Aberdeen in the early 1980s. It is a French instrument and is usually kept in Bach-Barnes temperament.
There is a single manual Italian instrument built by Morton Gould in Glasgow in the early 1980s. This instrument is maintained in Meantone temperament at A=415cps.
An early Square Piano by Clementi has recently been restored but is still in a delicate state. It is kept in Bach-Barnes temperament at A=415cps.
There are two early violins built in Aberdeen by Ruddiman after Stainer principles dating from 1778.
The university also has grand pianos by Bosendorfer and Steinway.