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Thread: St. Thomas 5th Avenue

  1. #31
    Junior Member pictureroll's Avatar
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    Jan 2012

    Aprox. 10 years after the Aeolian-Skinner rebuild by G.D.Harrison the museum of modern art ,which is right behind the high alter was being remodeled. While construction was going on, St Thomas was damaged.The reredos was damaged and the organ chamber was damaged with falling plaster ,there was water damage from the roof also.Some pipes were replaced in this area.Some releathering was found to be necessary and slider chests were installed. The Adams gallery became unplayable and was removed and the Dodge organ was put in.Note that the Adams work became unplayable.There is an exposed division under the casework that is now unplayable and the Adams slider chests are unreliable in the main organ.The reeds that were put in in place of the skinner ones have constant tuning necessary. As was mentioned by Vapipeorgantuner the only way to know for sure is to examine it in person in the chamber itself. In the proposal it is also mentioned the the organ speaks into a chapel that is partialy by the chancel and creates a tonal pocket reducing the efficient transfer of sound.

    Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx

  2. #32

    It's my understanding that the slider chests had nothing to do with the roof damage- they replaced some of the original Skinner chests that were beginning to have issues for other reasons. I believe these chest replacements were in the former Positif, which Adams completely re-configured, with the unenclosed section becoming the Vorwerk in a more baroque style (which would fit with the slider chest decision), and the enclosed section immediately behind it becoming unenclosed. It's my understanding that the Adams Vorwerk is the division that is now silent. My visit would seem to corroborate this- the larger Positif seemed to be working from what I could tell of the registrations being used.

    The Dodge organ is actually the current one-manual continuo. As far as I know, the Aeolian-Skinner gallery division was still functional at the time of the other Adams work. The 1969 Adams gallery organ was built from this division and other reused pipework, and seemed to be another step in William Self and Adam's fixation with turning any organ they encountered into an early 19th-Century French instrument. This of course was replaced by the current Taylor & Boody organ in the gallery.

  3. #33

    Michael, I'm sure you're right. It's been said that by 1964 the leathers were starting to fail in the then-8 year old St Thomas organ; disgust about that situation would have provided the entree for the slider chests. So sad.

  4. #34

    I stumbled on a gem: an mp3 of the complete Requiem service for Gerre Hancock at St. Thomas this past February. Besides honoring a great man and musician, it's also a wonderful collection of music, including an extended prelude section featuring both the Skinner/Adams chancel organ and the T&B in the gallery, and Durufle's Requiem featuring the incomparable St. Thomas choir. A great listen.

    Mp3 link:


  5. #35

    The Adams tracker was excellent tonally in spite of used pipes from Riverside Church [painted black] and Moller pipes from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and other new and old pipework.

  6. #36

    St Thomas has other woes; windows that need preservation. that job is another 20 million dollars.So far the organ fund has been reported to be at 3 million dollars. So more is required to reach an 8-9 million dollar total. it can be reached but when and how is entirely unknown unless somebody steps forward. On a side note: if someone offered to donate a new window the offer would be turned down as the original donors would complain if THEIR window were removed for a new one. Likewise the Ahrents Memorial Organ will be removed for a new organ. If any of the family survive one wonders how they might feel.

  7. #37

    Skinner-Moller Solo was removed 1955-56.

  8. #38

    Adams installed a slider chest at The Riverside Church 1966-67 for the prepared for Positiv. In 1966 he rebuilt the Grand Choeur at St Thomas and the three A-S chorus reeds were sent out and revoiced and installed in the Great at The Riverside Church in New York.
    Further Adams' work went on till at least 1969 on the Chancel organ at St Thomas.William Self moved on the greener pastures up to Grace Church in Utica New York where there was a Skinner revised by Aeolian-Skinner. By 1974 that organ was rebuilt by Gil Adams. It was unsuccessful and replaced in the 1980s by Holtkamp.The Utica Skinner/Adams is now at First Baptist Winston-Salem NC rebuilt by Ex-Aeolian-Skinner personnel and sounds wonderful.


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