Cover Feature

Glück Pipe Organs,

New York, New York

Saint Patrick Catholic Church,

Huntington, New York

 

Roosevelt Organ No. 408

In 2003, I purchased Frank Roosevelt’s three-manual, thirty-six rank Organ No. 408 before the wrecking ball struck Brooklyn’s Schermerhorn Street Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Roosevelt organ, contracted for in 1888, begun in 1889, and completed the following year, enjoyed renown while Franz Liszt’s student, Hugo Troetschel, presented 250 bi-weekly recitals during his 52-year tenure as organist. As the Roosevelt organ was being dismantled, a project was initiated for it to be reconstituted in its historic configuration for Princeton University under the aegis of the late David Messineo, university organist. Dr. Messineo’s vision was to install it within the 1916 Aeolian organ case in Proctor Hall, which had been designed by Ralph Adams Cram as the elegant graduate dining hall of the campus. The Aeolian was supplanted by a Gress-Miles organ in 1968, but we felt that bringing the Roosevelt there, with a replica of its original console and limited combination system, would give students an accurate idea of what an untouched Roosevelt sounded like, and more importantly, how it would have to be played without modern solid-state equipment. Upon Dr. Messineo’s death in June 2004, the project abruptly was ended, so I reserved the material within our company’s selection of heritage pipework until such time as a suitable home could be found for it. 

A decade after saving the Roosevelt from the landfill, it became obvious that it would take a very special type of church, synagogue, homeowner, or school to take the leap of faith to historically reconstruct a heritage cultural property that they could not hear or see. I was left with little choice but to market the Roosevelt as the core of a new instrument, but did not wish to disperse it rank-by-rank, the fate of so many antique instruments. With the understanding that its genes had to carry on in a different way, I knew it was unlikely that all of it could be used, and some contemporary tonal elements might be included to make it viable for modern musical ministry. The goal was to keep its spirit alive.

 

The opportunity presents itself

Saint Patrick Catholic Church is a vast, lofty, reverberant building constructed in 1962 and equipped with M. P. Möller’s Opus 9751 from the start. That gallery organ was the unfortunate product of the joint influence of the firm’s “special tonal consultant,” Ernest White, and their tonal director, John Hose. Too small for the room and voiced barely to energize the pipes, it was from its inception frustratingly inadequate for liturgical use. Sparse allocation of the organ’s twenty-one ranks among three manuals and pedal forced the elimination of essential voices in what likely should have been a well-appointed two-manual instrument. Subsequent alterations to the stoplist accomplished nothing, and the organ was still suffering mechanically after technical work was executed. Upon careful examination, I determined that insurmountable scaling irregularities precluded it from forming an effective core for a new instrument, and that the parish would accrue no benefit from retaining any of its mechanical infrastructure.

I entered into a situation for which ideas already had been presented, so as an architect, organist, and organbuilder, I had to make my case with clarity as the last man “at bat,” and had to risk proposing something so different that it would either be rejected or embraced. I proposed that the Roosevelt organ be incorporated into two new organs at either end of the building, controlled by twin mobile consoles that emphasized the elegant richness of natural materials so that the organs would not be seen as utilities. A single aggressive organ blasting from one end of the very long room would be less effective than two more elegantly voiced instruments dividing the task. With no substantive literature written for an “antiphonal” division, I chose a modified continental model. The labor is divided between the two organs, but the use of assisted rather than mechanical action would make them playable separately, together, or simultaneously by musicians at either end of the building.

Countless volunteer consultants offered their strong opinions about tonal design, builders, and the merits of pipeless sounds, with a nebulous consensus that the Möller organ should be rebuilt, supplemented by an “antiphonal” division, real or artificial. The prevailing notion that circuits and speaker cabinets could fill the artistic gaps with a shrug of the shoulders was proclaimed the path of least resistance. Swimming with vigor against that tide, I proposed two complete all-pipe organs of contrasting character, albeit constitutive elements of a grander whole.

There is always room for a pipe organ, even if there is not the willingness. Each house of prayer holds only so many people and will accommodate the appropriate number of pipes to accompany their voices. Despite the absence of sanctuary chambers and the cries of “no room for pipes,” I proposed the centuries-old practice of suspending the chancel cases from the sheer walls of the building, and designed the large gallery case to embrace the rose window. The organs’ cases complement the architecture without distracting from liturgical proceedings, and the chancel cases are located high enough to remain in tune with the gallery organ.

I am grateful to have worked with and for composer, conductor, organist, and tenor Matthew Koraus, FAGO, director of music, whose enormous talent, vision, commitment, and patience helped bring two new organs to the parish.

 

The new instruments

Roosevelt’s standard wind pressure of 312 inches determined the wind pressure used for the Saint Patrick instruments. The Roosevelt pipes, once cleaned and winded, would dictate to me the tonal direction of the organ’s new stops. Roosevelt’s work after the first few years deliberately followed a template from which the firm rarely deviated, so even the presumption of “what would the company produce today?” was treading on thin ice. The historical material was a point of departure in a new venture.

Visually, my mission was to design three organ cases that acknowledged the modernity of the church building but would bear my stamp as an architectural classicist. Following half a century of blank white walls, the size and depth of the cases, particularly those that flank the sanctuary, presented “the shock of the new” to some parishioners. With choirs, orchestras, and congregation surrounded and coordinated by sound, the new arrangement has been fully embraced. With a sumptuous mobile console at each end of the building, the liturgical and musical flexibility, and the ability for two musicians to play simultaneously, have fostered a new understanding of the organist’s duties in the parish.

The Gallery Great is anchored by a 16 Violone, which was rebuilt from the Möller Pedal 16 Principal. This gives the reader a good idea of just how under-scaled the Möller instrument was. The Roman-mouthed Roosevelt Great 16 Double Open Diapason—gilded, stenciled, and sand painted—had to be abandoned with the magnificent case in Brooklyn, and sadly went down with the building. Soaring harmonic flutes stand alongside Roosevelt’s signature double-mouthed flute, as well as his wonderful 8 Trumpet with tin-rich resonators and schiffschen shallots. 

The Great Chorus Mixture is composed slightly lower than most and voiced with some restraint. The original Roosevelt tierce mixture could not be retained as a second mixture for budgetary reasons, and with only one mixture in the division, I opted for a new quint mixture for clarity. The Roosevelt Great tierce mixture has found a new home; it is being included in our firm’s reconstruction of Roosevelt Organ No. 4 of 1873, his earliest surviving effort, at The College of Mount Saint Vincent, overlooking the Hudson River. The Great Mixture had been stolen from that organ in 1969, and the Brooklyn stop will sing again among its siblings. 

The Swell harbors the largest concentration of original tone with nine Roosevelt ranks. The warm 8 Diapason, often absent from the American Swell, supplants the ubiquitous addiction to the 16 Bourdon. The new Plein Jeu lends clarity to the Pedal when coupled, with no break from its 15-19-22 composition until G#33. With space and budget for only one Cornet combination, it was placed in the Swell, where it is under expression, can be folded into the reeds, and can enter into dialogue with either the Corno di Bassetto or Clarinet. The Swell reeds are rich and warm for anthem work, a balance made possible by the more brilliant manual reeds elsewhere in the organ.

The Choir division is cast with a nod toward traditional structure, without taking it too far into the neo-Classical realm.  The new muted undulant is completely uncharacteristic of Roosevelt’s work; both brothers preferred a second Choir 8 string of contrasting character, and the Unda Maris appeared in a mere one percent of their 538-instrument output. Tenor C of the Dulciana is marked #400 408 ECHO Choir DULCET G. MACK JULY 1889; this rank was originally built as the 4 Dulcet for Roosevelt’s 1892 four-manual, 109-rank magnum opus No. 400 for the Chicago Auditorium Theatre, the pipes for which were in production at the same time. The division’s flute choir and subtle Carillon are joined by a notably bold 8 Corno di Bassetto. Two commanding Trumpets, one enclosed and one not, play from the Choir manual but are not necessarily of the Choir. The new Herald Trumpet, voiced on six inches wind pressure, is in the expression enclosure, and the 8 Tromba is the former Swell 8 Cornopean. At six-inch scale with harmonic spotted metal resonators, it was incorporated into the Saint Patrick Pedal as an 8 and 4 unit, with the top 17 pipes retained for its use as a powerful manual Trumpet for processions and fanfares and to cap the full organ without standing apart.

The Gallery Pedal is a stack of independent flue ranks, with Roosevelt’s seismic 16 Open Wood Bass sitting beneath purely tuned 1023, 625, and 447 pitches in the bass to reinforce the 32 line. The magnificently brassy, rolling 16 Trombone, with its wooden shallots and blocks and sleeved zinc resonators, is so powerful that it triggered burglar alarms and summoned police during the tonal finishing phase of the project. 

The partially unified organ flanking the sanctuary supports and encourages congregational singing by helping to maintain coordination, tempo, and pitch. The front organ is of a lighter and gentler character than the main organ because of its use in more intimate services and its proximity to the parishioners and clergy, yet it is still large enough to use for the performance of a sizable segment of the concert literature.

The sparkling Great and Positiv inhabit the Gospel case and the mellower Swell, with its Skinner-style Flügel Horn, is in the Epistle case. Roosevelt’s splendid Clarinet takes up residence in the Positiv, and the three 16 Pedal stops (string, flute, and warm reed) keep the bottom from dropping out. The instrument enjoys its own personality, with the resources to enhance liturgy and to acquit a respectable body of the literature. The two cases are widely spaced. There is directional distinction and balances must be heard in the room, yet the acoustic brings them together in the nave.

The combined organs easily lead large choral forces, support full congregational singing, and contain gentle, accompanimental voices at both ends of the building to provide subtle, evocative, and meditative effects for life cycle events and introspective portions of the Mass. Over the centuries, organbuilders and composers have established particular conventions regarding which stops and combinations of stops must “live” in particular divisions, and if these rules are set aside, many works cannot be played as intended. I have tried to honor those requirements in the design of this dual instrument.

Pipe organ building is an interdisciplinary craft, and every instrument, traditionally the vision of the tonal director, is a group effort. In addition to our significant suppliers (OSI, A. R. Schopp’s Sons, and Peterson Electro-Musical Products), these instruments were made possible by the capable staff of Glück Pipe Organs: Albert Jensen-Moulton, general manager; and technicians Joseph di Salle, Dominic Inferrera, Dan Perina, the late Peter Jensen-Moulton, and Robert Rast.

—Sebastian Matthäus Glück

 

Builder’s website:

www.gluckpipeorgans.com

 

Church websites:

stpatrickchurchhunt.org

stpatrickhuntingtonmusic.weebly.com

 

GALLERY GREAT – Manual II

16 Violone 61 m

8 Open Diapason 61 m

8 Violoncello (ext 16) 12 m

8 Concert Flute [a]

8 Doppelflöte 61 w R

4 Principal 61 m

4 Flauto Traverso (harm.) 61 w&m

2 Fifteenth 61 m

IV Chorus Mixture 244 m

8 Trumpet 61 m R

Zimbelstern

8 Herald Trumpet (Choir)

GALLERY SWELL – Manual III

8 Diapason 61 m R

8 Cor de Nuit 61 w R

8 Salicional 61 m R

8 Voix Céleste 61 m R

4 Principal 61 m R

4 Flûte Harmonique 61 m R

223 Nazard 61 m

2 Octavin (tapered, harm.) 61 m R

135 Tierce 61 m

III–IV Plein Jeu 212 m

16 Bassoon (ext 8 Hautboy) 12 m

8 Trumpet 61 m

8 Hautboy 61 m R

8 Vox Humana 61 m R

Tremulant

GALLERY CHOIR – Manual I

8 Violoncello (Great)

8 Dulciana 61 m R

8 Unda Maris (TC) 49 m

8 Gedeckt 61 w R

4 Gemshorn (cylindrical) 61 m R

4 Flûte d’Amour 61 w R

2 Blockflöte 61 m

II Carillon 122 m

8 Corno di Bassetto 61 m

Tremulant

16 Herald Trumpet (TC, fr 8)

8 Herald Trumpet 61 m

8 Tromba [b] 17 m R

GALLERY PEDAL

32 Double Diapason [c] 12 w

16 Open Wood Bass 32 w R

16 Violone (Great)

16 Subbass 32 w R

16 Lieblich Gedeckt 12 w R

    (ext Choir 8Gedeckt)

8 Principal 32 m

8 Violoncello (Great)

8 Bass Flute (ext 16) 12 w R

8 Gedeckt (Choir)

4 Fifteenth 32 m R

4 Gedeckt (Choir)

2 Bauernflöte 32 m

32 Harmonics [d] 38 m

16 Trombone (maple shallots)

32 m R

16 Bassoon (Swell)

8 Trumpet 32 m R

8 Bassoon (Swell)

4 Clarion (ext 8) 12 m R

CHANCEL GREAT– Manual II

8 Open Diapason 61 m

8 Spitzflöte 61 m

4 Principal 61 m

2 Fifteenth (ext 8 Open) 24 m

IV Mixture 244 m

CHANCEL POSITIV – Manual I

8 Rohrgedeckt 61 w&m

4 Offenflöte (ext Gt 8 Spitz) 12 m

2 Nachthorn (ext 8 Rohr) 24 m

113 Quintflöte 49 m

    (top octave repeats)

1 Zimbelpfeife (8 Rohr)

8 Clarinet 61 m R

Tremulant

CHANCEL SWELL – Manual III

8 Viola 61 m

8 Viola Céleste (TC) 49 m

8 Holzgedeckt 61 w

4 Fugara (ext 8 Viola) 12 m

4 Koppelflöte 52 m

      (C1–G#9 Gedeckt)

2 Piccolo (ext 8 Holzged) 24 m

8 Flügel Horn 61 m

Tremulant

CHANCEL PEDAL

16 Contrabasso (ext Sw Viola) 12 m

16 Sub Bass (ext Pos Rohr) 12 w

8 Principal 32 m

8 Spitzflöte (Great)

8 Viola (Sw)

8 Rohrbordun (Positiv)

4 Choral Bass (ext 8 Princ) 12 m

4 Offenflöte (Positiv)

16 Waldhorn (ext Flügel Hn) 12 m

8 Flügel Horn (Swell)

4 Clarinet (Positiv)

 

 

 

 

[a] C1–B12 common with Doppelflöte, C13–C61 from Flauto Traverso

[b] Unenclosed; extension of Pedal 8 Tromba

[c] Independent 1023 stoppered pipes play with 16 Open Wood for C1–B12; breaks to 32 Open Wood at C13

[d] 1023 wood + 625 metal + 447 metal (with internal chimneys); composition changes as it ascends the scale, with mutations dropping out

m = metal

w = wood

R = Roosevelt

 

Chancel Organ: Opus 16 (16 ranks, 1,058 pipes)

Gallery Organ: Opus 17 (46 ranks, 2,564 pipes)

Dedicated September 14, 2014

Gallery: Blackinton slider chests; chancel: electric valve chests with reeds in electropneumatic pouch chests.

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