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St Pauls Cathedral 1949 Dome Chorus


Guest stevecbournias

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....also the late christopher dearnly told me personally whilst standing at the beautiful 5-manual mander console at st pauls that the pipes of the trompette militaire in the dome were manufactured by wurlitzer of new york, yet other sources say gottfried of erie pennslvania

 

i have seen the egyptian bazu gottfired made for the great atlantic city organ gallery IV bombard division on 25 inches which has a beautiful spun brass bell like the brass trumpets made by wurlitzer

 

also mr mander during the additions to the choir at st pauls where were the added stops planted?...the bourdon 16, fluteharmonique4,principal4,cornodibassetto8?

 

the claribel8 over on the great seems to have occupied the soundboard of the principal4

 

but where did all the additional choir pipework go?

 

and how is the choir corno different  tonally than the solo corno other than the wind pressures?

 

 

 

As far as I know, the Trompette Militaire resonators were manufactured by Wurlitzer.

 

Oh, I had thought that the GO Claribel replaced a Quint 5 1/3, which I believe stood on the lower GO soundboard. However, having just looked at the current specification on-line, both ranks are listed in the present specification - is this correct, Mr. Mander?

 

As to the other points - I, too, would like to know where the additional Choir Organ ranks are situated, since they seem not to have displaced any older stops.

 

Perhaps Mr. Mander could enlighten us - it really is an interesting organ.

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As far as I know, the Trompette Militaire resonators were manufactured by Wurlitzer.

 

Oh, I had thought that the GO Claribel replaced a Quint 5 1/3, which I believe stood on the lower GO soundboard. However, having just looked at the current specification on-line, both ranks are listed in the present specification - is this correct, Mr. Mander?

 

As to the other points - I, too,  would like to know where the additional Choir Organ ranks are situated, since they seem not to have displaced any older stops.

 

Perhaps Mr. Mander could enlighten us - it really is an interesting organ.

 

The GO at St Paul's originally contained two Principals (I & II in fact! :P ). The Claribel Flute was added in 1993/4, and replaced the Principal II. I believe the Quint 5 1/3' is still there.

 

Graham

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what ever became of the pipework in the southeast quarter gallery at st pauls cathedral in london after it was supplanted by new pipes in the northeast quarter gallery when the contraposaune 32 was removed and brought down to the chancel pedal?

 

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that it is still there, though disconnected. However, my information may well be out of date and it has possibly been sold on or scrapped. I must say that I can't really see any reason to keep it there.

 

Hopefully, Mr Mander will let us know.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

some years ago circa 2000 mr mander told me here on the forum or its predecesor that the new dome chorus of 1/4 mouth design was installed and tested first and found to be louder than the old 2/7 mouth lewis chorus in the southeast quarter gallery dome section

 

apparently the aim was for a melodic goal for bringing out the hymns into the dome area and some of the nave and the lewis work seems to have failed in that regard

 

admitedly the mander work in the northeast quarter gallery of the dome is very melodic having been placed there and made possible by the removal and relocation of an 1872 contraposaune32 to the chancel pedal with new metal bells instead of the old wooden ones

 

personally i wish the 1900 additions by father willis had been kept such as the additional great diapasons of high pressure and the later 1930 16ft bordun and wood diapason 8 called tibia 8. i wish that the altar section was kept with the sylvestrina which was willis III version of em skinners erzahler. (end quote)

 

 

 

I am sure that any good stuff that was left over from the St.Paul's rebuild went into other organs. I give as evidence the 1980-ish 'new' Mander organ in the R.C.Cathedral in Shrewsbury. According to Noel Mander (who introduced the organ to the local organists' association in around 1980) all the internal pipework (extended ranks) was second-hand from the Altar organ at St.Paul's. The Gemshorn rank was the old Sylvestrina and the very good reed rank was a small Willis 3 Cornopean or Trompette.

 

The 'then new' Mander ranks were a large-ish scale unenclosed Diapason (bright metal) and a mixture (sited immediately behind the music desk), both of which were potentially migraine-inducing at such close quarters. The firm has gone on to much better things under John Mander's leadership! To be fair, it can sound impressive down in the building itself which is a relatively small Pugin church (given its cathedral status).

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Then, of course, there is the question of the 'missing' ranks at Canterbury Cathedral. I know that someone has already informed me as to the present location of much of the old Canterbury Solo Organ. However, the board does not (and presumably could not) have an index - and I cannot now locate the post.

 

I would also be interested in knowing whether the old Choir Organ pipework was used in another instrument.

 

I cannot help thinking that the old organ was considerably more versatile than the present instrument. This is, of course, not to decry the work of Mander's - presumably, they did exactly what they were asked to do by Allan Wicks.

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Guest Roffensis

The choir organ was not really the problem with the Mander rebuild of Canterbury. The old was actually mostly Willis III, and in fairness tonally well matched the rest of the organ. The real victim of fashion was the solo organ, which was wholly removed beyond the Tubas at 8 and 4, and which were, and are, magnificent. The choir was really little more than a lot of different pitches, and the present is really every bit as good as the old, but it needs enclosing methinks. The Dulciana is particularly fine, and very old. I like it as it is. But, the solo should never have gone, and space is not a valid reason, as there is a lot of space there now!...at the eastern end of the triforium. Of course the organ was never intended to reach the nave, and that was stated even in 1948, so the notion to "bring it forward" was not really ideal, as it sounds perhaps too loud in the choir, as a result. I think there are also baffles there, which are not really an answer. A slight bxy sound has reasluted, that it never had. The success or otherwise of a triforium organ has yet to be met at Worcester! :blink: A nave organ at Canterbury is successful, given it's modest size. A classical case in a VERY gothic nave was perhaps not ideal. Organists often can dictate, and Noel Mander's thoughts were to retain the original concept, and so yes, it would be wrong to blame them, it was fashion. The thing is that what remains of the 1886 work far exceeds Salisbury, and that includes the Swell, Great and Pedal bulk. A ideal basis for a magnificent rebirth along Willis lines, with a proper solo back, sorely missed. I also think it regrettable that the old console went, it really was very fine craftsmanship, and I believe should have remained. The reduction to three manuals of the organ in THE premiere cathedral of the Anglican Communion in the world is also open to question.

 

Here endeth!

Richard

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Regarding St Paul's old Dome Chorus from the SE quarter gallery I believe that it was still there from the time of its redundancy in the 1970s rebuilding of the organ until quite late in the 1980s. The new chorus that replaced it was installed in the NE gallery. So there was no urgent need to remove it - it was just disconnected and left in situ.

 

In the late 80s and early 90s a big tidy up of the gallery spaces took place in order to gain some extra storage off the church floor. The SE gallery was earmarked as an ideal area where chairs and staging could be stored out of sight. Unfortunately the redundant pipes and other bits of the Dome chorus needed to be removed to achieve this.

 

I understand that there was little real consultation of either the organ builder or the organist, other than a cursory asking of whether these organ parts were of any use anymore. Receiving a negative answer the Clerk of the Works, or perhaps it was the Surveyor to the Fabric, arranged for its disposal and it was removed as scrap in the general tidy up of that part of the cathedral. This was much to the surprise of the then Organist, Christopher Dearnley, who seemed a bit miffed to see them dumped in a skip when he told me what had happened.

 

So there you go - and the pipes were not re-used in any other organ.

 

The provenace of the Trompette Militaire pipes is mentioned in 'A history of the organs in St Paul's Cathedral' by Plumley and Niland (Positif Press) p.186. The pipes are actually by Gottfried, and not, as organ folk-lore would have us believe, by Wurlitzer, who also supplied similar pipework for the organ in the Atlantic City Convention Hall. (Gottfried's characteristic oval stamp is on the boot of bottom C).

 

The other changes you ask about are all well documented in that book. The additional stops for the South Choir were made possible by installing a new, larger, soundboard for the whole section. The only displaced stop in these additions to the South Choir was a 4' Gemshorn, dating from 1930. Its pipes are stored inside the organ (as are what is left of Father Willis's Pedal Violoncello and Mixture).

 

The Fr. Willis 4' Principal having being returned to its original home on the Choir from the Great (where it was moved in 1930) enabled us to have a Claribel in Willis style (based on the stop on the Great at Salisbury) in its place. Hope that answers your questions.

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Guest Roffensis

There was nothing specias about the old Lewis chorus really, forget the name. Quite frankly I think it needed dumping, and wonder if it had been altered anyway to suit the building more, which it didn't. It was a very thin sound, not at all in line with the Willis work.I heard it several times, and you knew exactly when it "came on", as you were were aware of a very directional sound. It sounded forced. Bordering on screaming. The new NE chorus is infinitely superior, and it is not as easy to tell where the sound comes from. It reinforces in a very successful way. Of course it was built to suit the acoustic, where the Lewis was a lot of second hand pipes slung up there basically to make a noise,which it did :blink: . The addition of the 32 to the chancel was to my mind an excellent move, and the chancel organ can again now stand on its own and be used as a unified organ. The pre Mander routine of scattering bits of stops all round the cathedral and actually trying to utilise the dome acoustic to amplify certain of it, was not good organ building. When one considers the terrible work going on elsewhere, even today :( , we should be grateful that in 1973 there was such an enlightened move as that at St Pauls. To design a logical layout for such a building would have been a nightmare, and it had been very Willis III in its layout, with barnacles all over the show. What is there now has preserved all that was good, and enhanced it. A couple of mixtures have also been fairly recently revised/replaced that were new, and nothing stands out now. Surely one of our very best organs left to us?

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In the late 80s and early 90s a big tidy up of the gallery spaces took place in order to gain some extra storage off the church floor. The SE gallery was earmarked as an ideal area where chairs and staging could be stored out of sight. Unfortunately the redundant pipes and other bits of the Dome chorus needed to be removed to achieve this.

 

It seems a long climb to carry chairs and staging, or is there a lift?

 

I still think that this space could have been advantageously used for a distant Echo department (see my earlier post), but I feel I am somewhat isolated in my opinion!

 

John

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joe clipp is a very fine friend but i must remark that the recorded sound of the corona militaire has yet to thoroughly excite me

 

 

I quite agree. The Trompette Militaire at St Paul's sounds superior to me, but better still are the Royal Trumpets - the best sounding stops of their kind that I have ever heard. How much of this is as a result of the acoustical difference between the two buildings, I don't know.

 

John

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Guest Roffensis

Liverpool's acoustic is thicker than St Paul's, but both amplify the sound. Under the tower Liverpool's is shattering, and I don't know really what that musical purpose is, beyond a final "crash". I have always felt that Liverpool does not really need additions, it's enough as it is, and was. Nice to have the choice though!

 

Surely no point keeping the old St Paul's chorus, who would want to reconnect it now?

 

Don't know about an echo division, it all gets a bit gimmicky, and it's the cost of upkeep. Some cathedrals cannot even maintain what they already have, and then throw the lot out in the name of progress. The poor old girl past her sell by date etc etc.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah!! :blink:

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Liverpool's acoustic is thicker than St Paul's, but both amplify the sound. Under the tower Liverpool's is shattering, and I don't know really what that musical purpose is, beyond a final "crash". I have always felt that Liverpool does not really need additions, it's enough as it is, and was. Nice to have the choice though!

 

Richard - how do you mean, that Liverpool's acoustic is thicker - in what respect? The decay at St. Paul's is noticeably longer and the organ, to my ears, seems to 'kick' the resonance more effectively.

 

I have to say that I was disappointed with the Liverpool Tutti - I thought that I would need a hat or at least get my hair blown around....and, yes, I was directly under the tower, at the front of the central space.

 

I did like the sound of the organ considerably more that I thought I would, though. I also thought that Ian Tracey's playing was superb (even if poor Ian Wells did inadvertently advance the general pistons with the hand-held button - twice....) However, I gather that he is now off the critical list and hopes to leave hospital sometime next March....

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what prey tell is the health issue with ian bell?

 

he is supposed to be the london consultant for the replacing of the skinner/aeolian-skinner organ in washington cathedral which does not need to be replaced in the least as it is superbly voiced by one of the worlds top voicers dutch-born ex-head flue voicer of aeolian-skinner john h hendriksen of cape cod massachusettes friend and collegue of 24 years now.

 

Mind the Worcester's syndrome!

 

Pete Whistler Flowers

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Guest Roffensis

It's the reverberation type, ie the upper frequencies are not reflected as much as the lower, so you are not looking at a "total" reflection, and the foundational tone is left more prominent. It's a bit like carpets dulling an organ, but in this case it's pourous sandstone. From upstairs you hear remarkably little reverb, it sounds a lot shorter. From the east transept you can get a clean 10 seconds, and the building will go on shaking for another two! Not something you can hear, but sense. The organ actually moves the building. Compared to St Pauls, the actual sound is thicker, and very cavernous. St Pauls has total reflection, and really the organ does not have so much foundational tone as Liverpool. I have to say that Liverpool sounds much duller in tghe building to what it does at close quarters. The organ is, I believe undergoing work, as is St Georges Hall. The latter has a perfect reverb, double cube and clean 8 seconds, barrel vault as well! Imagine Liverpool Cathedral's acoutic if it had stone rather than pourous sandstone walls!!.......

 

Another "thick" acoustic is Westminster Cathedral, and a thin one that refelcts more upper than lower is Ely. The lesson in all of this is to tailor registrations to the building, and listen to others playing. There's a lot to learn! :blink:

 

All best!

Richard.

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Guest Roffensis
what prey tell is the health issue with ian bell?

 

he is supposed to be the london consultant for the replacing of the skinner/aeolian-skinner organ in washington cathedral which does not need to be replaced in the least as it is superbly voiced by one of the worlds top voicers dutch-born ex-head flue voicer of aeolian-skinner john h hendriksen of cape cod massachusettes friend and colleague of 24 years now.

 

 

Oh dear, another casualty in the offing. Perhaps it's the new fashion? AS I have said on another very long thread, there needs to be regulation in place to stop all this mindless vandalism. Washington is, I thought, a particualrly fine organ. Perhaps the "W"s are being "done" first?

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I once said we need an european Denkmalschütz; better even would be

a worldwide one.

It seems the U.S historic organs to be better protected than before, tough.

But ther's still*some* way to go, exactly like in Europe.

Best wishes,

Pierre

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It's the reverberation type, ie the upper frequencies are not reflected as much as the lower, so you are not looking at a "total" reflection, and the foundational tone is left more prominent. It's a bit like carpets dulling an organ, but in this case it's pourous sandstone. From upstairs you hear remarkably little reverb, it sounds a lot shorter. From the east transept you can get a clean 10 seconds, and the building will go on shaking for another two! Not something you can hear, but sense. The organ actually moves the building. Compared to St Pauls, the actual sound is thicker, and very cavernous. St Pauls has total reflection, and really the organ does not have so much foundational tone as Liverpool. I have to say that Liverpool sounds much duller in tghe building to what it does at close quarters. The organ is, I believe undergoing work, as is St Georges Hall. The latter has a perfect reverb, double cube and clean 8 seconds, barrel vault as well! Imagine Liverpool Cathedral's acoutic if it had stone rather than pourous sandstone walls!!.......

 

Another "thick" acoustic is Westminster Cathedral, and a thin one that refelcts more upper than lower is Ely. The lesson in all of this is to tailor registrations to the building, and listen to others playing. There's a lot to learn! :blink:

 

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

 

 

My God! We're re-writing physics!

 

I don't think it's possible to compare Axminster Carpet with Porous Sandstone, and short of an H-bomb, I doubt that Liverpool Cathedral would move; being built directly on bed-rock.

 

Of course, the only way to improve the acoustic at Liverpool is to clad the whole thing with absorbent acoustic-board, which the contrapuntal enthusiasts would like, or pure marble, which would, I believe, increase the reverberation to around 3 weeks and 1 day!!

 

Surely, ten seconds is enough?

 

We don't want EVERYTHING to sound like Herbert Howells do we?

 

:D

 

MM

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Welcome to the "W's" friends, Steve.

It may be amusing to note the first interesting organ I saw

discarded was at.....Waterloo.

 

(Is that meaningless?)

 

(Now in the Netherlands like many a discarded organ....Clever people!)

 

I would not compare a Mander with a Schoenstein, these are different styles

and both are worthwhile. I'd like to have both in Belgium...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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