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St Pauls Cathedral 1949 Dome Chorus

Guest stevecbournias

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and yes a real 64 bombarde to CCCCC be it non-pipe.
Que? Sorry to wander further off topic, but I played the Washington NC organ back in '98 and I'm quite positive that, at that time, the Bombarde Basse was an extension of the 32ft with the bottom four or five notes (can't recall exactly) quinted. Mind you, it did sound filthy in the nether regions. It wouldn't surprise me if they had replaced it with an electronic stop. Is that what happened, or am I up the wrong creek (quite possible!)?


I quite agree that it's a glorious machine. I only hope the replacement has an equally noble sound. :blink:

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Are you sure?


As I understand it, there is but one pipe for the 64p reed, which plays on all 12 of the lowest pedal keys. The upper part of the compass uses the bass of the 32p reed. This information was gleaned from the sleeve notes of an older recording.


To be honest, at this pitch, I doubt whether any of us would actually know whether it was quinted, electronic or real.... :P

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
technically the name is still the holdings of ex-oriuginal aeolian-skinner head voicer john h hendriksen who subs work for mike quimby of missouri the most recent being a 5 manual in jackson miss a 1940 em skinner enlarged by keates of guelph ontario canada in the 1980s or 90s to 231 rks using casavant pipes from the royal york hotel in toronto and then when that installlation fell apart quimby redesigned a  155 rank organ which hendriksen told me he had a goodly share of the voicing of said instrument which will soon be available on cd.



Dear Steve,

I've tried quite hard to understand this without much success.

this is a real pity because you are clearly a mine of information and experience.

As an alternative to putting in commas or periods - next time you write, please could you try pressing enter at each point where you want the reader to breathe?


Please believe me - I'm not trying to put you off, merely help you get through to a certain age of reader (which includes me)!


It might work like this:


then when that installation fell apart

quimby redesigned a 155 rank organ

which quimby told me he had a goodly share of the voicing of

said instrument which will soon be available on cd



It still isn't very clear, is it? But using this little trick would give the rest of us a sporting chance!


Best wishes,

Paul D.

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i did business with the firm in rockville maryland called contrapedal co who built my 32ft reed unit and the 64ft unit for washington cathedral so i was in contact at the time with the vendor in the 1990s but in 1982 i was down to dc at the cathedral for a demo to prospective clientelle with the head voicer of aeolian-skinner who voiced the washington organ mostly in his shop in cape cod mass and at that time the 64s were down to AAAA#
It seems my memory was playing tricks. I dug out the specification that Washington sent me back in '98 before I visited and that states that the 64ft has (or had) three pipes, which would have taken it down to AAAA. I thought it went lower, but clearly not. What I do remember is trying it and thinking, "Yes, the rest is quinted".
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  • 9 months later...
Guest Andrew Butler
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! :) 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!




I have only played Canterbury since the 1978 Mander rebuild, so have no personal experience of the old Solo. I find it a very easy instrument to handle, and with the Generals you can "turn things round" quickly for solo effects. The present Choir Organ, being located further east, can be used also to supplement the Great when there is a large congregation sitting east of the choirstalls towards the high altar. David Flood gave me this tip the first time I played there for a Deanery Evensong. (I did have a nasty accident with the Tuba during a post-hymn improvisation once, preparing it for a solo whilst playing on the Great and forgetting the Choir was coupled to the Great! :) )

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