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St Paul's Cathedral Console


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Oooh Look! I've just noticed here are two little buttons, too, on the left and right key checks of the great manual. What are those then?

Martin

 

Ones for gin the other for tonic, the glasses are concealed behind the music desk. I do apologise for this post in advance, but we seem to getting overwhelmed by buttons and pistons. I played a toaster the other day and was highly amused by the fact that the piston osed remained lighted..... whats the point?

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Ones for gin the other for tonic, the glasses are concealed behind the music desk. I do apologise for this post in advance, but we seem to getting overwhelmed by buttons and pistons. I played a toaster the other day and was highly amused by the fact that the piston osed remained lighted..... whats the point?

 

Yes, I know... it's absurd, isn't it... but each to his own, you know! Trouble is, I was fascinated by this organ as a small boy and have never quite forgotten the details!

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Yes, I know... it's absurd, isn't it... but each to his own, you know! Trouble is, I was fascinated by this organ as a small boy and have never quite forgotten the details!

 

Do we know if there are any photographs of the Willis console in its original position?

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Guest Cynic
There's one here.

 

 

I remember seeing the Willis III console in situ in the North Case back in the 1960s. For the life of me, I still cannot understand why the wonderful carved music desk was not kept when a new console was made for the gallery opposite at the Mander 1970s rebuild. That desk was a thing of beauty and a complete original. The Mander console is elegant and manages to look grand too, but that touch of real exuberance/glory is missing.

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The Dome Tubas are being replaced in fact. This has actually been planned since discussions with previous Directors of Music some years ago, and stemmed from their physical condition, their having been altered, and their less than stunning effect in the context of the organ as it has evolved since their original installation in 1900. Their reputation is somewhat better than their actual effect now. However, they are certainly not being discarded. Details will be taken and they are being carefully packed up and stored safely in the cathedral. If somebody in the future decided that they should be reinstated, it would be a relatively easy matter.

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I visited St Paul's yesterday for the first time and did the obligatory climb up to the whispering gallery. Standing facing the high altar I could see at 10 o'clock a gallery housing a number of pipes, many laid hozizontally. There appeared to be some work going on there, and I was curious as to what they were. Are they the tuba referred to by JPM in his previous post?

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Guest Cynic
The Dome Tubas are being replaced in fact. This has actually been planned since discussions with previous Directors of Music some years ago, and stemmed from their physical condition, their having been altered, and their less than stunning effect in the context of the organ as it has evolved since their original installation in 1900. Their reputation is somewhat better than their actual effect now. However, they are certainly not being discarded. Details will be taken and they are being carefully packed up and stored safely in the cathedral. If somebody in the future decided that they should be reinstated, it would be a relatively easy matter.

 

 

Good sense from beginning to end.

All power to your reed voicer!

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There is, indeed, a blank stop knob, but the new tubas (as reported on the St Paul's website) - Double Tuba 16, Tuba 8 and Clarion 4, appear just to be replacing the (?1898?) pipework in the dome by the same names - they aren't extras. I don't think we're any the wiser about the spare stop knob despite it being aired on this board previously. It's clearly one of the organ world's best kept secrets!

Martin.

 

During the planning stages there was talk of adding one stop to the Dome Chorus and as the console had to be proceeded with, accommodation was made for that. The final decision has still not been made and something may happen in a few years time even if not now. In fact, a number of possibilities were aired for a possible addition or alteration.

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During the planning stages there was talk of adding one stop to the Dome Chorus and as the console had to be proceeded with, accommodation was made for that. The final decision has still not been made and something may happen in a few years time even if not now. In fact, a number of possibilities were aired for a possible addition or alteration.

 

This instrument must surely be one of the most comprehensive and exctiting in the British Isles. I am sure that the incumbent organists are quite capable of thinking of a suitable stop to augment the Dome chorus; however, my choice in this very resonant building would be a big, bright mixture - perhaps along the lines of that at Washington National Cathedral, but without the Tierce. How about this:

 

GRAND CHORUS X

 

(12-15-19-22-26-29-33-36-40-43)

 

in pure tin and breaking every seven notes.

 

Well, it was just an idea....

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This instrument must surely be one of the most comprehensive and exctiting in the British Isles. I am sure that the incumbent organists are quite capable of thinking of a suitable stop to augment the Dome chorus; however, my choice in this very resonant building would be a big, bright mixture - perhaps along the lines of that at Washington National Cathedral, but without the Tierce. How about this:

 

GRAND CHORUS X

 

(12-15-19-22-26-29-33-36-40-43)

 

in pure tin and breaking every seven notes.

 

Well, it was just an idea....

 

 

===================

 

 

No.no.no.....it NEEDS one of those Polish Cymbals.

 

 

 

Through broken pane which gave them home,

There nested birds in Wren's great dome.

Happy with chorus and trompette militaire,

they found no need to take to air.

 

The litanies below, which choir did sing,

ne'r caused them all, to take to wing.

Yet Polish Cymbal; shrill sounding high,

Like owlish shriek, caused them to fly.

 

In panicked flight and great confusion,

birds large and small flew in profusion.

weaving, diving, as if to flee,

the source of terror which none could see.

 

From north, from south, two birds collided;

above the place where organist precided,

Upon the fingers, ill shrieks ascending,

fell a dead bird; a lark descending.

 

:blink:

 

MM

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Guest Patrick Coleman
===================

 

 

No.no.no.....it NEEDS one of those Polish Cymbals.

 

 

 

Through broken pane which gave them home,

There nested birds in Wren's great dome.

Happy with chorus and trompette militaire,

they found no need to take to air.

 

The litanies below, which choir did sing,

ne'r caused them all, to take to wing.

Yet Polish Cymbal; shrill sounding high,

Like owlish shriek, caused them to fly.

 

In panicked flight and great confusion,

birds large and small flew in profusion.

weaving, diving, as if to flee,

the source of terror which none could see.

 

From north, from south, two birds collided;

above the place where organist precided,

Upon the fingers, ill shrieks ascending,

fell a dead bird; a lark descending.

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

:lol::lol::lol:

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===================

No.no.no.....it NEEDS one of those Polish Cymbals.

Through broken pane which gave them home,

There nested birds in Wren's great dome.

Happy with chorus and trompette militaire,

they found no need to take to air.

 

The litanies below, which choir did sing,

ne'r caused them all, to take to wing.

Yet Polish Cymbal; shrill sounding high,

Like owlish shriek, caused them to fly.

 

In panicked flight and great confusion,

birds large and small flew in profusion.

weaving, diving, as if to flee,

the source of terror which none could see.

 

From north, from south, two birds collided;

above the place where organist precided,

Upon the fingers, ill shrieks ascending,

fell a dead bird; a lark descending.

 

:blink:

 

MM

LOL. Where did you get that from?

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I was sure that the Dome department already had a cymbal (though not of the Polish variety!). So I checked.

 

In my booklet which, I believe was published not long after the Mander alterations in 1977, there is a Mixture IV and a Cymbel III.

 

Now, on the Mander web-site specification, are two stops called 'Mixture', one of IV and one of III (the latter 22 26 29).

 

So, yes, I think a bright cymbel would do nicely - perhaps even the untuned Polish type. Although I have never heard one, MM has described them as powerful.

 

Why was the original Cymbel III changed to a Mixture, anyway?

 

John

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I was sure that the Dome department already had a cymbal (though not of the Polish variety!). So I checked.

 

In my booklet which, I believe was published not long after the Mander alterations in 1977, there is a Mixture IV and a Cymbel III.

 

Now, on the Mander web-site specification, are two stops called 'Mixture', one of IV and one of III (the latter 22 26 29).

 

So, yes, I think a bright cymbel would do nicely - perhaps even the untuned Polish type. Although I have never heard one, MM has described them as powerful.

 

Why was the original Cymbel III changed to a Mixture, anyway?

 

John

 

According to Plumbley and Niland's 2001 book on St Paul's London the Cymbal on the Dome was changed in 1993/4. They also document a number of other changes made between 1977 and 2001. John Scott has written there that "The big 4 rank Fourniture is usually only used when the Dome reeds are added in a dramatic tutti. The 3 rank Mixture (originally a higher pitched Cymbal) falls midway between the Quartane and Fourniture adding further radiance to the plenum". I guess the Cymbal was just too bright.

PJW

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===================

No.no.no.....it NEEDS one of those Polish Cymbals.

Through broken pane which gave them home,

There nested birds in Wren's great dome.

Happy with chorus and trompette militaire,

they found no need to take to air.

 

The litanies below, which choir did sing,

ne'r caused them all, to take to wing.

Yet Polish Cymbal; shrill sounding high,

Like owlish shriek, caused them to fly.

 

In panicked flight and great confusion,

birds large and small flew in profusion.

weaving, diving, as if to flee,

the source of terror which none could see.

 

From north, from south, two birds collided;

above the place where organist precided,

Upon the fingers, ill shrieks ascending,

fell a dead bird; a lark descending.

 

:ph34r:

 

MM

 

Hmmm....

 

Probably best not to give up the day job just yet.

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