Annunciation proudly maintains one of Houston’s most distinct church organs, the Pilcher Opus 1206.
The organ embodies many traits of organ building that are peculiar to its time. Perhaps the most notable of these is its emphasis on tonal variety rather than the varying pitch levels that organs of other periods often feature. It is especially well-suited to playing orchestral transcriptions and other repertoire that was in popular use in the early twentieth century; moreover, its broad tonal palette makes it a very versatile instrument for improvisation. Unlike most newer organs, its string pipes (i.e., pipes whose sound imitates that of stringed orchestral instruments) are made of pure tin rather than a tin/lead alloy, which lends those pipes a rare “haunting” quality. The pipework, rather than being recessed into chambers in the wall, is in the church itself (directly over the narthex), which imbues the sound with a “presence” that is rare to find now in organs of this one’s size.
Many organs from the early twentieth century underwent extensive alterations during the middle of the century in response to changing tastes. Annunciation’s organ, however, remained unaltered. It sounds today as it did when newly installed, which allows worshipers and concert audiences an opportunity to appreciate this historically significant sound in its undiminished beauty.
The organ is currently under renovation by St. Dunstan-Art Organ Works.
Henry Pilcher’s Sons
Opus 1206, 1924
23 ranks: three manuals and pedals
- 8' First Open Diapason (40sc. lead)
- 8' Second Open Diapason (44sc. lead)
- 8' Gross Flute* (open wood)
- 8' Gemshorn* (54sc. Hoyt metal)
- 8' Gamba* (56sc. tin)
- 4' Hohl Flute* (extends Gross Flute)
- 8' Tuba* (50sc. Gottfried)
- Swell to Great 16'
- Swell to Great 8'
- Swell to Great 4'
- Choir to Great 16'
- Choir to Great 8'
- Choir to Great 4'
- Great 16'
- Great unison off
- Great 4'
- 16' Bourdon (stopped wood)
- 8' Horn Diapason (46sc. Hoyt metal)
- 8' Stopped Diapason (stopped wood)
- 8' Salicional (60sc. tin)
- 8' Voix Céleste (60sc. tin)
- 8' Aeoline (60sc. tin)
- 4' Harmonic Flute (60sc. Hoyt metal)
- 8' Oboe (Gottfried keyhole-opening style)
- 8' Vox Humana (Dennison)
- Choir to Swell 16'
- Choir to Swell 8'
- Choir to Swell 4'
- Swell 16'
- Swell unison off
- Swell 4'
- 8' Violin Diapason (48sc. tin)
- 8' Melodia (open wood)
- 8' Melodia Celeste T.C. (open wood)
- 8' Dulciana (56sc. Hoyt metal)
- 4' Flute d’Amour (stopped wood with drilled stoppers)
- 8' Clarinet (Dennison canister top)
- Swell to Choir 16'
- Swell to Choir 8'
- Swell to Choir 4'
- Choir 16'
- Choir unison off
- Choir 4'
- 16' Open Diapason (12" × 14" wood)
- 16' Bourdon (10" × 12" wood)
- 16' Lieblich Gedeckt (from Swell 16' Bourdon)
- 8' Bass Flute (extends 16' Bourdon)
- Great to Pedal 8'
- Great to Pedal 4'
- Swell to Pedal 8'
- Swell to Pedal 4'
- Choir to Pedal 8'
- Choir to Pedal 4'