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  • Crystal Cathedral Organ

    I would be interested to know peoples opinions of the organ at the Crystal Cathedral and also from people who have had an oppurtunity to play it. From what I ahve heard of it on television it actually sounds pretty average yet I know Pierre Cochereau was a big fan of it. Is it just that television doesnt do it justice?

  • #2
    Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

    Hello Eugene,
    Television does not do justice to the Crystal Cathedral Organ. You either need to hear it in person, or buy one of the CD recordings of it. To be in the Cathedral and hear this instrument is truly awesome and breathtaking. When full organ is played, you can almost feel the air from the pipes circulate around you. I would suggest a CD to buy is Fred Swann playing "Great Hymns of the Church" and particularly pay attention to the hymn, "To God Be The Glory". It features all four of the En Chamade reeds, playing antiphonally to each other and ends on full Tutti will all the 32's (six of them, I think) and the resultant 64' in the Pedal.
    Mike

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    • #3
      Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

      ITs good to know that they do indeed have a top rate organ. They just need to replace the choir with one that can actually sing. They are abysmal when you consider the resources that place would have.

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      • #4
        Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

        I must say I think the music was better when Fred Swann was there.

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        • #5
          Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

          I always enjoyed hearing the playing of J Christopher Pardini when he was organist there. Havent heard too much of the current organist to form an opinion yet.

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          • #6
            Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

            I have heard, and played, the organ several times. It is a magnificient instrument in what has to be the most unique of settings for an organ. The building allows light to come in from all sides. An enormous door can open at the flip of a switch. It is amazing. Of course, Virgil Fox helped intially to design the instrument.

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            • #7
              Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

              Well I heard and played the two organs which make up the core of the new instrument, the Ruffatti that was in the old building (the Antiphonal is still there) and the Aeolian Skinner from Lincoln Center, New York. Of course much more was added, and the space must be wonderful, but the last time I was there it was just a big concrete shell, before all the glass was put in.

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              • #8
                Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                Regarding Chris Pardini at the Crystal Cathedral, he is now here in Pittsburgh, Shadyside Presbyterian Church. I was told that he said that he left the Cathedral due to (in part) the fact that the organ was not being used as much during the church service. Apparently, either the previous music director (who committed suicide) or the present one, wrote a good bit of the music used during the service and did not care to have the organ. Apparently did not write for the organ.

                Alan

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                • #9
                  Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                  I was told that he said that he left the Cathedral due to (in part) the fact that the organ was not being used as much during the church service.

                  I would have left too! Just go somewhere where the church actually wants and appreciates organ music - even if it is a smaller organ.

                  I don't even think that CDs give the organ justice. I have never personally heard the organ myself, but the CD I have doesn't seem too impressive. Now, that may be due to the pieces selected (it was a gift so I didn't pick it out), but I do know one thing: an organ ALWAYS sounds 100% better live than it does on a recording (that is, a real pipe organ). I'm positive that that, well, rather large box of whistles is glorious to hear live.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                    I've read some posts here containing derogatory comments about digital additions to pipe organs. Many/most people don't know that this organ has Walker principle chorus's playing in each of the side areas where the big trumpet organs are located. One of the prior organists told me personally that he loved to play the principle chorus from the sides (where obviously there are no pipes installed/visible) when visiting organists and builders were touring the organ. No one was aware the sound was digital and when they asked "where are those pipes up there" were often agast that they were fooled!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                      Yes, and they obviously had hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it with! Any digital organ will fool the experts if you put enough money into it. The standard electronic organ at a local church won't do that though.

                      Besides, it's got a gazillion other real ranks to mix the sound in with.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                        Interesting to hear about why Chris Pardini left the Crystal Cathedral.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                          http://users.aristotle.net/~crazymid...4.html#my01005

                          take a look at the specs and some pix...

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                          • #14
                            Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                            I recently borrowed this CD and copied it from a friend:

                            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...2928039?n=5174

                            To put it simply, it's the best hymn organ CD I've heard yet. The recording quality is way better than the Virgil Fox Legacy Volume III, so I tend to enjoy it more than that CD, but I must admit Frederick Swann's playing isn't as interesting as Virgil's, though his playing IS excellent and he really knows what he's doing with the registrations.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Crystal Cathedral Organ

                              It really is not that wonderful. Actually, it is pretty bad, due to the fact that the sanctuary is NEVER at a steady temperature. The organ literally cant stay in tune for 30 minutes. Lots of times, they will open up all of the glass, and then it REALLY goes out of tune. But just due to all of those windows, which dont insulate very well, that organ puts up with all kinds of stuff.

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