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Topic: Organ Consoles

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  1. #1
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Organ Consoles

    Well, lurking in the dark corners of my mind is an idea for an adaptation of one of my pieces which will require either 2 organs or an organ with two consoles. The only organ with two consoles that I have ever seen was Radio City Music Hall. There are more, but I have no idea of numbers, or capabilities of the second consoles. Anyone have comments?

    The piece being considered is another version of my Galatic Organ, which will be available in an hour or so (I think), which is adaptation of a movement of my orchestral suite.

    Richard

  2. #2

    Re: Organ Consoles

    Wow, that must be a pretty complex piece to require two consoles. The only one I know of is in Radio City, but Perhaps it can be performed on two electronic organs? Or is this piece specificly for classical pipe organ or theatre organ?
    This is interesting. I wonder if there are any more two-consoled organs around?

    (just my curiosity getting the better of me)
    Does anyone know if the threatre organ at Radio City has the two consoles as two seperate organs or if they are both the same console controling the same organ or what?

  3. #3

    Re: Organ Consoles

    Google is your freind

    http://www.atos.org/Pages/Journal/Ra...RadioCity.html

    Also:

    Dual Console 3 / 35 Heritage/Wurlitzer Organ

    What do you get when you take a 3 manual ballroom Wurlitzer, rebuild and enlarge it to 35 ranks, add a second console, and install it in a hard plaster building with over 5 seconds of reverb (including carpet)? The answer is the twin console 3/35 1992 Heritage Organ installed at All Saints RC Church in Buffalo, NY.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    [Salt Lake City]
    Manufactured by the Rudolf Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York, “The Mighty Wurlitzer” was reported to have cost over £25 000, and consisted of twenty one ranks or sets of pipes, each with different tonal characteristics, along with various percussions, effects and a matching grand piano.

    It was played from two separate four manual consoles located on either side of the proscenium. The main console rose on a lift at stage left while the “slave” console was permanently positioned at the right side of the stage.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Originally designed for the silent movies of the time, the Paramount [Denver] houses a one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer twin-console organ, designed to produce varied sound effects in accompaniment with the picture show. More than 1,600 pipes generate sounds of orchestral and percussion instruments as well as special effects, such as train whistles, horses’ hooves and pounding surf. Despite the fact that the introduction of sound pictures quickly eliminated the need for musical accompaniment, the organ remains one of the largest ever installed in the Rocky Mountain area and is joined by its sister in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall as one of only two remaining in the United States.


    I turned up several more so it's not unheard of. They all seem to be Wurlitzers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Organ Consoles

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    Wow, that must be a pretty complex piece to require two consoles. The only one I know of is in Radio City, but Perhaps it can be performed on two electronic organs? Or is this piece specificly for classical pipe organ or theatre organ?
    This is interesting. I wonder if there are any more two-consoled organs around?

    (just my curiosity getting the better of me)
    Does anyone know if the threatre organ at Radio City has the two consoles as two seperate organs or if they are both the same console controling the same organ or what?
    Well, it is not so complicated. It is simply a matter of the limits of what one person can do, such as playing moving parts with both hands, and holding sustained chords with another hand or two. Two electronic organs could do the job, and that is the most likely solution.

    Richard

  5. #5

    Re: Organ Consoles

    Hi Richard, I haven't read the Googled info on Radio City's setup, but as an organist I can tell you that most two-console venues have ONE large area of pipes that are controlled by the two consoles. If your only concern is enough space for twice the number of hands and feet, then a double console setup (quite rare, as you know) would be the way to go.

    However, an electronic organ PLUS a one-console (normal) pipe organ setup is fine for double-organ pieces -- and such literature does exist.

    Also, remember that with large instruments, even one console usually controls divisions of pipes that are often quite distant from one another (this is actually more typical than double consoles). In other words, you'd have one keyboard (manual) play a division of pipes at one end of the hall, but another one might play a division in a distant, rear gallery.

    Also, consider whether your piece could be performed "4-hands" style, with two organists at one console. Such literature also exists, and it may make it easier (and cheaper) to solve the problem of finding a venue for your piece.

    Cheers!
    Steve Main
    Steve Main
    stmain@aol.com
    www.stephenmain.com

  6. #6

    Re: Organ Consoles

    Hi Richard,
    The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove California is the largest pipe organ in the USA and the fourth largest in the world. It has two consoles.

    Dan

  7. #7
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Organ Consoles

    Quote Originally Posted by stmain

    Also, consider whether your piece could be performed "4-hands" style, with two organists at one console. Such literature also exists, and it may make it easier (and cheaper) to solve the problem of finding a venue for your piece.

    Cheers!
    Steve Main
    This is a solution I had considered, but thought it impractical. But as I was reading here, it occurred to me that this confiuration might work:

    Left performer, right hand and right performer, left hand play the inner parts, outside hands play the outer parts. Pedals played according to convenience.

    Sound okay?

    The only time I ever played four hand organ was very brief. I was improvising on the organ while the organist was reharsing the choir. The choir entered, and the organist said to me, quick, somehow get to E flat. so I did, and he picked up on my improvising and I slid off the bench as he slid on, and no one heard a glitch or noticed the changeover until the choir began, and I was no longer playing the organ,but directing the choir.

    Richard

  8. #8

    Re: Organ Consoles

    Yeah, depending on the composition that sounds like it would work. I confess I've never actually seen a score of four-hand organ music, though I've heard a concert or two where some of it was included -- it'd be interesting to find out how the pedal issue is solved. It's hard to imagine you'd really want four feet mucking around down there, not only from a logistical point of view, but more likely, an acoustical reason: with all the lower 16' (and 32') pitches, you probably wouldn't want to have multiple notes for pedal, which would get muddy.

    On the other hand, it would certainly leave someone's foot free to work the swell shades while the other organist could play smooth legatos! Might be a cool effect.

    S
    Steve Main
    stmain@aol.com
    www.stephenmain.com

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