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Correspondence Regarding Organs for the New Riverside Church 1920s

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  • Correspondence Regarding Organs for the New Riverside Church 1920s

    I have paid dearly to obtain pdf files of correspondence between the principals of the Park Ave Baptist Church [forunner of Riverside] and 4 major organ companies. Will gladly share with anybody ; send me an email address privately and I will send you two pdf files; one with a contract for the new organ dated 1926 and the other with many pages between builders and the organist of that time...
    Last edited by suavial; 09-01-2018, 02:12 PM.

  • #2
    You will be amazed at the less than good attitudes toward now revered builders that existed at that time

    Comment


    • #3
      Seriously? A football field of coastal Louisiana is submerged by rising sea level every hour and you want me to get excited about events that transpired before even my parents were born? What kind of shallow, callous and self interested cad do you take me for?

      Comment


      • #4
        Leisesturm,

        REALLY?

        Michael

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pipeorganbuilder View Post
          Leisesturm,

          REALLY?

          Michael
          I intended my comment to be read in the same flip, offhand manner as what I felt when I posted. I see, however, that one might take the adjectives that I directed at myself as being reflected back at the o.p. That was not intended, at the time. However, Michael, in defending the o.p. you are in essence defending someone who is, if not flouting the letter of the law, is flouting the spirit of a recent request from the forum Admin for us to conduct our affairs as a community by using the sub-forums created for us and not by using PM. In the present case the o.p. wants to get completely away from OrganForum and is directly soliciting access to users personal e-mail. That's just wrong. Period. Post the PDF's and let everyone see them or don't. It's really that simple. Anything else is idle gossip.

          Comment


          • #6
            Leisesturm,

            I am not defending anyone. This is not the place to post your rants. We are a community of organ lovers and technicians, not smart as*. Please do not try to explain what I am doing. I have not idea of what you are talking about and wonder if you do.

            Michael

            Comment


            • #7
              IDK, the initial posts seemed click-batey to me, too.

              suavial, post the pdf's somewhere (gallery, online repository, etc.) and provide a link or reference to them (unless there are copyright, file size, or other reasons to not publicly post). If you are not willing to post then at least provide a good reason for doing things via email.
              Last edited by samibe; 09-04-2018, 01:18 PM.
              Sam
              Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
              Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

              Comment


              • #8
                The data are photocopies of John D Rockefeller Jr files...he paid between 26 and 32 million dollars for the Riverside project and up to 50 million for Union Theological and INterchurch Center and the dorm for Union, and the South extension of Riverside before he passed in 1960 at the age of 86. His files contain valuable data for serious researchers and span the years involving the original organ in the 1920s and later organ during the time of Virgil Fox. Rockefeller and his father the original John D Rockefeller were all organ lovers and they had several aeolians between them in their homes from 18 up to 45 ranks. I need help to access the full scope of the Rockefeller files as they are extremely costly. They contain hitherto unpublished correspondence that is valuable to the organ researcher including Virgil Fox correspondence and the Riverside Aeolian-Skinner.

                Later David Rockefeller, last son of JDR Jr leveled old law tenements and displaced poor residents of Harlem abutting Morningside Heights with not affordable multi-occupancy units effectively pushing out the impoverished from the area to preserve the 50 million dollar total investment of his father John D Rockefeller Jr.
                Last edited by suavial; 09-05-2018, 05:07 AM.

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                • #9
                  Anybody is welcome to post these pdfs: ask and I will supply them and if you can post them fine....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by suavial View Post
                    Anybody is welcome to post these pdfs: ask and I will supply them and if you can post them fine....
                    Suavial,

                    Contact Admin and see if he is willing to post them in a Gallery somewhere? Just a thought.

                    Because posting files takes a ton of bandwidth (i.e. original size photos, etc.), one needs to be discriminating in what (s)he chooses to post. So, the above is my recommendation. Let me know how it turns out. I'd offer to help, but my file allowance is almost maxed out.

                    Michael
                    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/htm...ideChurch.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        https://nypost.com/2018/09/18/rivers...-dorm-for-45m/

                        Virgil Fox was a night person and practiced loudly after hours and the dorm herein mentioned is adjacent to the east organ chamber containing several 32 foot stops....the consequence was one of chaos....complaints from seminarians not able to sleep....go Virgil!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Reading through the available correspondence from the 1920s regarding organs for a new church on Riverside Drive that would be home to the Park Ave Baptist Congregation one can see the following:
                          a] Harold Vincent Milligan was the organist at Park Ave Baptist and was satisfied with the 1922 Hook and Hastings organ there. It was designed by another person who was also a personal organist for John D. Rockefeller Jr. that had an Aeolian organ in his W54th St 9 story house.
                          b] Mr Rockefeller Jr was instrumental in having Milligan appointed as technical adviser on the organs projects for the upcoming Riverside edifice.
                          c] Milligan was not at all fond of the other organ builders that were allowed to submit proposals.He felt that one builder was the lowest because of cheap materials; another was foreign, yet another too snooty and so forth.
                          d] Hook and Hastings was successful in its bid and also the lowest. The organ was built and stored in the 1920s since it would be finished prior to the edifice in which it was going into.
                          e] A recital series in 1931 included names of well-known performers of that time over a period spanning many many weeks. The Diapason was generous in its coverage of these programs speaking of them and the organ in glowing terms.
                          f] Virgil Fox was appointed as organist in 1946 and in later times refers to the original organ in extremely uncomplimentary terms.I have listened to extant portions of recordings of Virgil playing it and he was his own worst enemy since he could make a bad organ sound not so bad.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Quoted from Riverside's publication on the organs:

                            Hook & Hastings Co.
                            Boston, Mass. – Opus 2540 (1929)
                            Electro-pneumatic action
                            4 manuals, 123 registers, 104 stops, 119 ranks


                            The contract for the original organ in The Riverside Church was awarded in 1927 to Hook & Hastings of Boston. The Organs of Riverside (1996), published by the church, states:

                            "Given the array of progressive builders active in 1929—Skinner, Kimball, Aeolian and others [that] had long led the field—it is particularly surprising that such a noteworthy church should opt instead for Hook & Hastings. Sadly, the new instrument did not garner a sterling reputation. Musically, it was ineffective, with the immense pipes of the 32' Diapason installed directly behind the chancel grilles—a wall of wood stifling the tone of the organ behind it. Mechanically, the organ was a generation out-of-date, with obsolete inner mechanisms and an unwieldy console with blind combination pistons.

                            "The cognoscenti may well have considered the instrument an affront to progress. Noted organ architect Emerson Richards attended the organ's dedication in November of 1930 (played by Firmen Swinnen, personal organist to Pierre S. du Pont) and wrote to a friend, "The organ is terrible. Swinnen had a fit. Told me that if he could have gotten out of it he would not have played." T. Scott Buhrman, editor of The American Organist, was more charitable, writing in 1948: "As organs went in those 1930s, this instrument was not really bad; it just wasn't good." "

                            - - - Updated - - -

                            Reviewing the correspondence in the John D Rockefeller Jr archives on the original organ, Mr Rockefeller saw no need to include details like a spec in his papers. Rather one can see by the written proposals what the builders of that day had in mind for the immense Riverside. One builder suggested a nave division at the triforium level midway down the auditorium to connect the chancel and gallery organs together. Another builder was in favor of independent pedal stops not unitized and a more gentle manual tone , unforced. Yet another suggested a String section of 6 ranks. All in all it is revealing how seriously the builders of that time would take a prestigious prospect as Riverside proved to be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If the organ earned a bad reputation it certainly was not evident in early reviews in The Diapason. Virgil Fox was successful early on in getting a new console by 1948 only 2 years after his coming to Riverside. That console envisioned future String, Celestial and Positiv divisions with many blank knobs: 7 blank for the String, 31 blank for the Celestial and 14 blank for the Positiv. Also each of the divisions for existing sections included many blanks as future expansion looked forward to enlarged Great, Swell, Choir, Solo and Pedal sections.No provision for any Bombarde division per se in 1948.

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