St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)

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Columbia University
http://www.columbia.edu

Broadway at 116th Street
New York, N.Y. 10027


St. Paul's Chapel
www.columbia.edu/cu/earl/chapel.html



Organ Specifications:
IV/94 Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Op. 985 (1938, 1962) – St. Paul's Chapel
IV/51 Ernest M. Skinner Co., Op. 125 (1905); Op. 125-A (1928) – St. Paul's Chapel
• III/10 Austin Organ Company, Op. 1722 (1930s) – unknown location


Built on the Columbia University campus from 1904-07, St. Paul's Chapel was donated by Olivia Egleston Phelps Stokes and Caroline Phelps Stokes in memory of their parents, with the proviso that their nephew, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, be named as architect. The Northern Italian Renaissance Revival building is faced with burned brick, limestone, and marble trim, while the tiled roof is crowned with a self-supporting dome. The two wrought-iron gates came from the North Reformed Dutch Church, located until 1875 on William Street in lower Manhattan. Upon entering the chapel, the style changes abruptly to Byzantine. Guastavino tiles are used extensively for the interior surfaces, including the vaulting and dome, and portico ceiling. Stained glass windows were fabricated by D. Maitland Armstrong, John La Farge, Henry Wynd Young, and J. Gordon Guthrie. In 1966, St. Paul's Chapel was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

By 2004, the century-old chapel was showing its age and was in need of restorative repairs. The roof leaked and has damaged the walls, and protective netting was put under the dome and chancel ceiling to capture falling plaster. Although the chapel is a very popular wedding venue, it is surprisingly not air-conditioned. Hopefully, the university will restore and update this historic and beautiful building.
           
  Robert Turner Console of Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 985 (1938, 1962) - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
  Robert M. Turner Console (1997)
Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company
Boston, Mass. – Opus 985 (1938); Op. 985-B (1962)
Electro-pneumatic action
Console: Robert M. Turner, Hacienda Heights, CA (1997)
4 manuals, 86 stops, 94 ranks, 5,252 pipes







In 1938, the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company built an entirely new organ in St. Paul's Chapel, although several ranks were retained from the 1905 Ernest M. Skinner instrument. This organ is notable in that it contained the first Brustwerk division in the USA. In 1962, Aeolian-Skinner returned to make further revisions, additions and changes, as Op. 985-A & B. The Dome Division was installed at this time, consisting of a high-pressure reed, an enclosed Voix Humaine, and speakers for the 12-note electronic extensions of the two 32' Pedal stops. The Dome stops were controlled by a small box with rocker tablets that was placed above left stop jamb of the console. In 1997, the organ was releathered and rebuilt with slight modifications, and a new movable console was built by Robert M. Turner. The organ in St. Paul's Chapel enjoys a very reverberant acoustic.

The monumental organ in St. Paul's Chapel is one of the first—if not the first—examples of an "American Classic" organ as envisioned by G. Donald Harrison of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company. For many years, St. Paul's organ was championed by M. Searle Wright (1918-2004), who served with distinction as Director of Chapel Music at St. Paul's Chapel from 1952 to 1971, and was President of the American Guild of Organists from 1969 to 1971. Under Wright's tenure, the organ in St. Paul's Chapel was featured in many concerts, recitals and recordings. Regrettably, access to this incredible and notable organ has been severely restricted in recent years. Hopefully, the chapel staff and university will recognize the importance of this organ and allow it to be used more frequently. Of the many organs in New York City, the Aeolian-Skinner at St. Paul's Chapel is arguably one of the most historically important.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Quintade
61
2
  Super Octave
61
8
  Principal
61
2 2/3
  Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Bourdon
61
2
  Fourniture IV ranks
244
8
  Spitzflöte
61
2/3
  Cymbel II-IV ranks
196
4
  Principal
61
16
  Fagot
61
4
  Rohrflöte
61
    MIDI  
2 2/3
  Quint
61
       

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedackt
73
1 1/3
  Mixture IV ranks
244
8
  Diapason
73
16
  Bombarde
73
8
  Stopped Diapason
73
8
  Trompette
73
8
  Viole de Gambe
73
8
  Hautbois
73
8
  Viole Céleste *
73
8
  Voix Humaine *
DO
8
  Aeoline
73
4
  Clairon
73
4
  Octave
73
    Tremulant  
4
  Flauto Traverso *
73
    Swell 16'  
4
  Fugara
73
    Swell Unison Off  
2 2/3
  Nazard * [from Fugara]
    Swell 4'  
2
  Fifteenth
61
    MIDI  

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Contre Viole
73
2 2/3
  Carillon III ranks
183
8
  Viole
73
8
  Clarinet 
73
8
  Orchestral Flute
73
4
  Musette *
73
8
  Flauto Dolce *
73
    Tremulant  
8
  Flute Celeste * [TC]
61
    Choir 16'  
4
  Prestant *
73
    Choir Unison Off  
4
  Flûte Triangulaire
73
    Choir 4'  
2
  Zauberflöte
61
    MIDI  

     

     
Positiv Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Nason Flute
61
2 2/3
  Sesquialtera II ranks
122
4
  Nachthorn
61
1/4
  Zimbel III ranks
183
2
  Principal
61
8
  Krummhorn
61
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
 
  Tremulant  
1
  Sifflöte
61
 
  Zimbelstern  

     

     
Brustwerk Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes
8
  Spitzgeigen *
61
2
  Blockflöte
61
8
  Gedackt
61
1 3/5
  Terz
61
4
  Montre *
61
1/2
  Scharf III ranks
183
4
  Spitzflöte
61
  MIDI  
    Nasat
61
       

     

     
Dome Organ * (Manual IV) – 61 notes
16
  Crown Trumpet * [TC]
4
  Crown Trumpet * [ext.]
8
  Crown Trumpet *
73
8
  Vox Humana * [enclosed]
61

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Bourdon [ext.]
digital
4
  Koppelflöte 
32
16
  Principal
32
2
  Blockflöte
32
16
  Montre * [ext. BW]
24
6 2/5
  Cornet III ranks
96
16
  Bourdon
32
2 2/3
  Cymbel II ranks
64
16
  Quintade *
GT
32
  Bombarde * [ext.]
digital
16
  Viole
CH
16
  Posaune
32
16
  Echo Lieblich
SW
16
  Bombarde
SW
8
  Principal
32
8
  Trompette
32
8
  Montre *
BW
8
  Crown Trumpet *
DO
8
  Gedackt
32
4
  Clairon
32
8
  Viole
CH
4
  Rohrschalmei 
32
8
  Stillgedackt
SW
2
  Zink
32
5 1/3
  Quint
32
    MIDI  
4
  Choralbass
32
       
       
* ranks added or changed as Op. 985-B (1962)
             
Couplers (rocking tablets above top keyboard)
    Great to Pedal 8'   Great to Choir 8'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Brustwerk to Choir 8'
    Brustwerk to Pedal 8'   Pedal to Choir 8'
    Positiv to Pedal 8'    
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Controls:
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Brustwerk on Swell / Swell on Brstwk.
    Brustwerk to Great 8'   Great on Choir / Choir on Great
    Positiv to Great 8'   Positiv Only
    Brustwerk to Swell 8'   Choir Only
    Choir to Swell 8'   16' Stops Off
    Positiv to Swell 8'   All Swells to Swell
             
Adjustable Combinations
   
Brustwerk Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Bombarde [sic] Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4 (thumb)
Swell Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Great Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Choir Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Positiv Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Pedal Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb & toe)
Entire Organ Pistons 0, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14 (thumb & toe)
  Pedal stops on Swell Pistons (keycheek button, with ind. light)
  Pedal stops on Great Pistons (keycheek button, with ind. light)
  Pedal stops on Choir Pistons (keycheek button, with ind. light)
  General Cancel (thumb)
  Set (thumb)
             
Reversibles
    Brustwerk to Pedal 8' (thumb & toe)   Positiv to Pedal (thumb & toe)
   

Swell to Pedal 8' (thumb & toe)

  Swell to Great (thumb)
    Swell to Pedal 4' (thumb)   Swell to Choir (thumb)
    Great to Pedal 8' (thumb & toe)   All Swells to Swell (thumb, w/ ind.)
    Choir to Pedal 8' (thumb & toe)   16' Stops Off (thumb)
    Choir to Pedal 4' (thumb)   Sforzando (thumb & toe, w/ ind. light)
             
Expression
    Balanced Dome Pedal    
    Balanced Choir Pedal    
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
    Crescendo Pedal with LED display    
             
 
1962 Console of Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 985 (1938, 1962) - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City (photo: Columbia University)   Robert Turner Console of Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Op. 985 (1938, 1962) - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City (photo: Eileen Barroso)   Organ Case in 2008 - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
Console of Op. 985-B (1962) showing
Dome stop controls above left jamb
 
Robert M. Turner Console (1997)
in concert position
  North Organ Case
beneath protective netting (2008)
Organ Case - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City   St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City  
Organ Case - St. Paul's Chapel - Columbia University - New York City
           
  Ernest M. Skinner Organ, Op. 125 (1905) in St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University - New York City (1917 postcard)
   
Organ in St. Paul's Chapel:

Ernest M. Skinner & Company
Boston, Mass. – Opus 125 (1905); Opus 125-A (1928)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 67 stops, 51 ranks





The contract for the original organ in St. Paul's Chapel, then under construction, was awarded to Ernest M. Skinner & Co. of Boston, Mass., in 1905. Specifications of the organ were prepared by Mr. Skinner "along the lines of the one recently installed in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, New York" in consultation with Mr. Samuel A. Baldwin, organist of Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn. An early specification (with handwritten notes by Mr. Baldwin) states that it was "prepared by Ernest M. Skinner & Company for George Foster Peabody," which may imply that Mr. Peabody paid for the organ which cost $16,000. (Mr. Peabody, for whom the Peabody Award is named, later provided the funds for Skinner's Op. 524 (1925) in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn.)

In the Memorandum of Agreement, dated June 5, 1905, we read (Article II, Section 5) that work was "To include all the cabinet work of the casing, the pedal Diapason 32'; Diapason 16'; Flute 8'; Floete 4'; Bourdon 16' and Gedackt 8'." It continues (in Section 6) with "Includes the entire organ except the reeds, the blowing mechanism and all part [sic] necessary for the complete installation." Perhaps Skinner subcontracted the reeds, although the Skinner brochure on this organ notes that the reeds were voiced by Mr. F.S. Brockbank of the Ernest M. Skinner Company. The same brochure describes the Orchestral Oboe: "Attention is called to the Orchestral Oboe, of which this is the first example of its kind. It is a perfect reproduction in its tone of the quality of the orchestral instrument, and was designed by Mr. Skinner. The characteristic quality is the result of placing a sympathetic resonator in the top of the pipe." Mr. Skinner would later incorrectly state in a biographical sketch provided for The American Organist (May 1925) that the first example of an Orchestral Oboe was installed in his Opus 145 (1907) at Tompkins Avenue Congregational Church in Brooklyn. In fact, the Opus 135 (1906) in the Great Hall of City College of New York (where Samuel A. Baldwin was organist) also included an Orchestral Oboe stop.

Pipes for the St. Paul's Chapel organ were installed behind matching cases on either side of the chancel, and the four-manual drawknob console was located amid the choir stalls on the right side of the chancel. Skinner returned in 1928 (Op. 125-A) to install a remote combination action in the console and to effect minor tonal changes.

Much to Ernest Skinner's chagrin, this instrument was replaced in 1938 by a new organ designed by G. Donald Harrison of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (6" pressure)
16
  Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  1st Diapason
61
4
  Flute
61
8
  2nd Diapason
61
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Gross Floete
SW
16
  Trumpet
SW
8
  Erzähler
61
8
  Trumpet (10" w.p.)
61
8
  Gamba
61
4
  Clarion
SW
8
  Gedackt
SW
       

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" pressure)
16
  Bourdon
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  1st Diapason
61
2
  Flautino
61
8
  2nd Diapason
61
    Cornet, 3 ranks
183
8
  Gross Floete
61
16
  Trumpet
61
8
  Spitz Floete
61
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Voix Celestes
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Gedackt
61
4
  Clarion
61
8
  Aeoline
61
 
  Tremolo  
4
  Flute
61
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" pressure)
16
  Dulciana
61
4
  Flauto Traverso
61
8
  Diapason
61
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Dulcet [Gamba]
61
16
  Fagotto
61
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Orchestral Oboe
61
8
  Concert Flute
61
8
  Clarinet
61
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
49
 
  Tremolo  
8
  Quintadena
61
       

     

     
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (10" pressure)
8
  Stentorphone
61
8
  Concert Flute
CH
8
  Philomela
61
16
  Fagotto
CH
8
  Gamba [Dulcet]
CH
8
  Oboe
CH
8
  Dulciana
CH
4
  Flute
61
8
  Unda Maris
CH
8
  Tuba (15" w.p.)
73

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (10" pressure)
64
  Gravissima [Diap. + Bdn.]
10 2/3
  Quinte [from Bourdon]
32
  Diapason
32
8
  Cello
SW
16
  Diapason
32
8
  Flute [ext. Diap.]
12
16
  Violone
32
8
  Gedackt [ext. Bdn.]
12
16
  Bourdon
32
4
  Flute
32
16
  Dulciana
CH
16
  Trombone
32
16
  Gedackt
SW
8
  Tromba [ext.]
12
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Great to Swell 8'
    Great to Pedal 8'   Solo to Swell 8'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 8'
    Solo to Pedal 8', 4'   Solo to Choir 8'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Choir to Great 16', 8'   Choir to Choir 16', 4'
    Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'   Solo to Solo 16', 4'
               
Combination Pistons ("Combination Pistons to be duplicated by Pedal Pistons")
   
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4
  General Release
  Pedal Release
               
Pedal Movements
    Balance Swell Pedal   Sforzando
    Balance Choir and Solo Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balance Crescendo Pedal    
    "Four Combinations and Release acting on every stop in the Organ."
         
Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 1722 (1930s)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 10 ranks


The Austin Organ Company opus list shows that a three-manual organ with 10 ranks (or stops) was installed at Columbia University in the 1930s. It has not been determined where this organ was located. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site: http://aeolian-skinner.110mb.com/
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     Holden, Dorothy J. The Life and Work of Ernest M. Skinner. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1987.
     Kinzey, Allen and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     St. Paul's Chapel web site: www.columbia.edu/cu/earl/chapel.html
     Trupiano, Larry. Undated Factory Specifications; Memorandum of Agreement (June 5, 1905) for Ernest M. Skinner & Co. Organ, Op. 125 (1905).

Illustrations:
     Barroso, Eileen. B&W photo of Robert. M. Turner console (1997) in concert position. Courtesy Mary Monroe.
     Columbia University. Console of Aeolian-Skinner organ, Op. 985-A (1962). Courtesy Mary Monroe.
     eBay.com. 1917 postcard of chapel interior.
     Lawson, Steven E. Exterior; interior; organ cases and Turner organ console.
     Turner, Robert M. Robert M. Turner Organs console (1997).