New Organs

May 23, 2011

J. Zamberlan & Co.,
Wintersville, Ohio
Mt. Lebanon United Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When the church dedicated a new three-manual organ by Fratelli Ruffatti in November 2002, the instrument included a number of prepared-for stops. Our involvement began in the fall of 2004, when Russell Weismann, then organist at the church, asked us to take over regular maintenance, plus make a proposal for completing the organ. When Russell left to pursue graduate studies at Yale, the pastor, Bruce J. Pedersen, asked him to act as consultant on the project. While fundraising continued, Russell, Larry Allen (the new director of music and organist) and I weighed various alternatives; we eventually agreed that an Antiphonal division in the rear of the church, incorporating the Trompette en Chamade that had originally been planned within the front case, would be the best course of action. In addition, a new chest would be built for the future Choir pipework, plus 17 treble pipes would be provided to allow duplexing the Pedal Trumpet up to the Great as a chorus reed—the original plan had included the Chamade as the only Great reed.
The new casework is of Honduras mahogany, finished to harmonize with the main case in the chancel, and while this case has more classical proportions than the front organ, it echoes certain design elements in order to give a respectful nod to its big sister. What had originally been my tongue-in-cheek suggestion to suspend the Antiphonal from the ceiling (like the Klais in Cologne Cathedral) turned out to be the best solution from the structural engineer’s viewpoint, and eliminated the need for a clumsy support framework beneath the case. The walkboard between the case rear and the back wall of the church serves dual purposes—a necessary workplace when tuning, but also a visual “anchor” so the Antiphonal doesn’t appear to be dangling in space. A small high-speed blower is housed in a heavy box to keep noise to a minimum; the blower box, as well as a large single-rise ribbed reservoir, are located adjacent to the case atop an elevator room, and wind is fed to the Antiphonal through a large PVC pipe in the rear wall of the church. An additional reservoir was also provided in the Choir for the new chest.
Pipes of the Antiphonal Diapason 8′ comprise the façade for that division, and are constructed of polished 70% tin, while the Octave and Fifteenth are made of 52% spotted metal. The Trompette en Chamade features satin copper resonators, which become harmonic length at f#43. This stop has sufficient harmonic development to solo out melodies and descants but can also serve as a large chorus reed against the full force of the Ruffatti. Both new chests are slider with electric pulldowns; all pallets were carefully sized, and pallet travel was kept at 4mm in order to keep the action responsive. The Antiphonal chest is a bit unusual in that there are two complete sets of channels; one set, for the flue stops, has sliders for the stop action and functions in the usual manner. The Trompette en Chamade, however, has its own set of channels, from which the pipes are tubed off directly from the bottom of the grid without a slider; this permits the Trompette to be duplexed to various divisions as the original design intended, increasing its versatility. The organ in its entirety presently comprises 62 stops, 31 pipe registers, 39 ranks, and 2,195 pipes. The additions were dedicated on March 11, 2009 by Russell Weismann, University Organist and Adjunct Professor of Sacred Music at Georgetown University.
—Joseph G. Zamberlan

CHOIR (61 notes)
8′ English Diapason (prep.)
8′ Erzähler (prep., currently
8′ Erzähler Celeste (electronic)
8′ Singend Gedackt
4′ Principalino
4′ Koppelflöte
2′ Zauberflöte
11⁄3′ Larigot (prep.)
11⁄3′ Ripieno III (prep.)
8′ Cromorne (electronic)
8′ Trompette en Chamade (from ANT)
Choir 16′, 4′, Unison Off

ANTIPHONAL (61 notes)
8′ Diapason
4′ Octave
2′ Fifteenth
8′ Trompette en Chamade (satin
copper resonators)

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