From the annals of St. Paul's, Richmond, comes this letter that was copied into the vestry book of the church.
At the time writing, Manton Eastburn would have been Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts.
Boston, Dec. 13, 1843
Reverend Dear Sir:
I take the first opportunity which I have found to reply to your inquiries. Among the Organ builders in this country, I should decidedly prefer [Henry] Erben (not Urban) of New York, whom you mention in your letter. In regard to prices, I fancy one is about the same as another; the competition compels reasonable prices. The truth is, no organs made on this side of the Atlantic are complete, in regard to quality of tone. I should advise your giving the order to Erben, and securing the superintendence, in some way or another, of Mr. Hodges, the celebrated organist of Trinity Church, New York. This, however, I mention as between ourselves; as, having been acquainted many years with Erben, and with his head man, Mr. Hall, I might hurt their feelings by being known as recommending this. The organ at St. John's [presumably Richmond] was made under Hodges' supervision, and is a very fine one. The new one at Trinity is to be made in the same way. But why can't you send to London at once, and order an organ from GRay? If you want to know his capabilities, come and hear the organ of Trinity Church, Boston,-
With pleasing recollections of our past intercourse, and ardent wishes for your usefulness and happiness,
I am sincerely yours,
Quoted in Traser, Donald R. The Organ in Richmond. Richmond Chapter, American Guild of Organists, 2001. Page 9.
The recipient of the letter, the Rev. William Norwood of St. Paul's, took Eastburn's advice and the first organ in the newly constructed church was a three-manual instrument by Erben.
Eastburn vs. Advent, Boston: Eastburn also fought the high-church practices of the Church of the Advent, Boston
Photos of Trinity, Boston: I visited Trinity, Boston this past summer, and posted a few pictures (including the one below) in July 2010
Labels: Erben, St John's (Richmond), St Paul's (Richmond), Trinity (Boston), Trinity (New York)
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