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  • Washington National Cathedral

    What are peoples opinions on this instrument? I ahve heard mixed things about it but have never really heard it in much detail. Has anyone out there heard it alot or played it? I would be interested in peoples opinions.

  • #2
    Re: Washington National Cathedral



    I've never heard it in person, I understand that it was E.M. Skinner's greatest organ ever built (in his own opinion), however in the mid 1970's it was rebuilt (allegedly to G. Donald Harrison's plans made in the 1950's which would be causing some grave spinning still to this day by E.M.). It was rebuilt as by the mid 1970's the cathedral has reached a stage in construction that required a change in the organ.

    Do a search on the forum for this topic as there was much discussion on it previously including discussion about its forthcoming rebuild.

    My own personal preference would that it be returned to something E.M. Skinner would recognize.

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    • #3
      Re: Washington National Cathedral

      They are also getting ready to do a MAJOR renovation on that organ. I don't know all the details. The details are on their website.

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      • #4
        Re: Washington National Cathedral

        Greetings,

        I believe the major rennovation will be more like a replacement, with a brand-new instrument for the back gallery.

        The organ was rebuilt multiple times, a good deal according to the plans of Joseph Whiteford. The entire Great organ was essentially thrown out in favor of low-pressure pipework; ironic in that they justified the rebuild saying that the organ as originally built was inadequate for the newly completed (massive) nave. A good deal of the rest of it was also revoiced or replaced. The chests were releathered with perflex in the 70's which quickly failed, at which time the beautiful skinner chests were D-E'd by Wicks (Not sure if they ripped the tables off and kept the shells or just the toe boards on new shells.)

        - Nate

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        • #5
          Re: Washington National Cathedral

          It is supposed to be more of a rebuild. And they are STRONGLY considering C.B. Fisk to do it. I would be satisfied with that, I have never heard a Fisk I didnt like (Well, 1, the Fisk in Caruth Auditorium, but, that issue is with the room too). I will keep this thread updated, as I know one of the organists there.

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          • #6
            Re: Washington National Cathedral

            From what I can gather they Cathedral wished to have two Seperate instruments at opposing ends of the Cathedral. The two organs will each have there own Console. However one console will be able to Controll both Instruments. I also belive the two instruments will be built in contrasting styles. The Sanctuary/Choir Organ in somthing of an English/Romantic style. And the Rear Gallery organ in more of a Classical style. DOBSON and FISK are being consulted on the visual impact the new organs will have. While SCHOENSTEIN and MANDER I belive are consultants in other matters.

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            • #7
              Re: Washington National Cathedral

              i have toured heard and played the organ at various points since 1978 when it was still fresh

              the rebuild was a tonal success and the best of the ems was retained in the chir, swell and solo and string.

              the new material was heroic in proportion

              generous scales with wide mouths 2/7 like sculze and lewis in england

              new broad strings in 2 sections likewise were made to 2/7 mouths unslotted so actually closer to diapasons but still retaining elements pf string tone

              ems strings were kept in the swell ie salicionals, aeolines, flute celestes, choir: viole d-orchestres: solo; gambas celestes. reeds kept were all the orchestral stops; french and english and flugel horns. also chorus reeds in the swell and solo and the pedal reeds of the wood bombarde unit 32-16- and fagotto 32-16-8-4.

              the tuba mirabilis on 25 inches was kept from the 1938 skinner also. a new mixture on 10 inchesof 10 ranks was added to top full organ including tierce sounding ranks.

              later a post horn was added on 15 inches wind

              unknown what will stay and what will go

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              • #8
                Re: Washington National Cathedral



                Poor E.M.




                What a tragedy. [:(]

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                • #9
                  Re: Washington National Cathedral

                  voicer from aeolian-skinner who did work at the cathedral 1973-75 sent me an email reply that the front organ candidates are supposedly quimby,dobson,casavant and lively-fulcher for the new instrument

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                  • #10
                    Re: Washington National Cathedral

                    I've played the organ quite a few times in the midnight hours, and also studied for a period with the cathedral organist. Much of the work is chiffy, and the sound is extremely unsupportive for congregational singing. The console was due for a refurbishment, and that was completed very recently.

                    There are a few stops that shine, mostly the Tuba Mirabilis and Trompette en Chamade, and the very beautiful string section. My impression is that the two instruments will be completely new.

                    There is a new antiphonal organ made up of Walker digital ranks.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Washington National Cathedral

                      I heard the organ for at least a good 2 hours years back and it sounds great! I personally think Skinner made the best organs. When G. Donald Harrison came along...well thats a different story. I dont think much of it was playable but it still sounded great! Can't remember who played......

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