Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City

 
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Church of St. Jean Baptiste
(Roman Catholic)

184 East 76th Street at Lexington Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10021
http://stjeanbaptisteny.org/


Organ Specifications:
184 East 76th Street (since 1912)
IV/81 Wicks Organ Company, Op. 6388 (2000)
IV/54 Murray M. Harris Company, Op. 104 (1913)
• II/ M.P. Möller, Inc. – Choir Room
II/9 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 7581 (1947) – Lower Church
II/15 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 1404 (1912) – Lower Church
159 East 76th Street (1885-1912)
• unknown


In the early part of 1800, a large number of French-speaking people resided in New York City. A Mr. Gabriel Franchère, who came from Montreal, Canada, as one of the secretaries of the Pacific Fur Company founded by John Jacob Astor, reports: "In 1810 there were in New York City 32 churches, two of which were Catholic. The population was up to ninety thousand, of whom ten thousand were French-speaking." In 1841, St. Peter's Church, on Barclay Street, established a mission to the French Catholic population by building St. Vincent de Paul Church on Canal Street. As the French population moved northward, a new St. Vincent de Paul was built on West 23rd Street in 1867. St. Vincent de Paul Church was quite a distance from the Yorkville section of the city where a fairly large group of French Canadians had settled. They had the choice of using the slow-moving horse-drawn trolley along Third Avenue or the more expensive trains of the Harlem Railroad with its open tracks along the northern part of Fourth Avenue, now called Park Avenue.

The Societé Saint Jean Baptiste, founded in 1850, established L'Eglise de St. Jean Baptiste in 1882, at first meeting in a stable at 202 East 77th Street while a church was built in 1882-85 at 159 East 76th Street. In 1892, St. Jean Baptiste became a shrine to St. Anne with the presentation of a relic from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, and the resulting crowds regularly overflowed the church.

Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City  
   
Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City (Photo Courtesy of Wicks Organ Company. http://www.wicksorgan.com)

The construction of the present church building was due, in large part, to the contributions of Thomas Fortune Ryan and his wife. Ryan, a devout and wealthy man of unassuming ways, preferred St. Jean's to the large and showy parishes near his Fifth Avenue home, and the Blessed Sacrament Fathers served as his wife's private chaplains at the Ryan's country home in Suffern, New York. One day he arrived late for mass and found that there was standing room only. At the conclusion of the service, he approached the officiating priest and asked how much it would cost to build a new church. The priest answered, apparently off the top of his head, "$300,000." Ryan replied, "Get some plans and I will pay for it."

The new church, completed in 1913, was designed by Nicholas Serracino in the Italian Baroque style, with a massive, freestanding Corinthian portico, twin bell towers, and a magnificent dome which rises 175 feet over the crossing of the nave and transepts. The stained glass windows of the church are some of the finest in the city, having been crafted in Chartres, France, before the outbreak of World War I. Its total cost was ultimately close to $600,000.

By the 1960s, the demographics had changed and French masses were no longer offered. The vast Lower Church, as large as the main church above, was reconfigured to be the parish Community Center with meeting rooms and a theater. Today, the church hosts productions of DiCapo Opera, one of New York's finest independent companies, and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. In the 1990s, after selling its air rights to the adjacent Siena apartment tower, the church began a program to restore the building's crumbling exterior. The interior, which was originally somber, was renovated and redecorated in vivid colors by Felix Chavez, Inc. of New York City.

In 1969, the Church of St. Jean Baptiste was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
           

Wicks Organ Console (2000) at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
  Console located in south transept
  Wicks Organ Console (2000) at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City (photo: Wicks Organ Company)
  Console when located in lower gallery
Wicks Organ Company
Highland, Ill. – Opus 6388 (2000)
Direct-Electric key action
Solid State combination action
4 manuals, 122 stops, 81 pipe ranks













As part of the renovation of St. Jean Baptiste Church, the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Ill., was commissioned in 1999 to replace the 1913 Murray M. Harris organ which had become unplayable by the 1990s. The resulting instrument is a "hybrid" or "combo" organ that combines 81 ranks of pipes with 42 digital stops. Wicks reworked many stops and the facade from the Murray Harris organ. The organ's 11 divisions are playable from a movable four-manual console that was originally located in the lower gallery.

In 2010 the console was moved to a newly created choir area in the south transept.
               
UPPER GALLERY
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason *
61
2 2/3
  Twelfth
61
8
  Principal
61
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Open Diapason *
61
    Mixture IV ranks
244
8
  Gedeckt *
61
    Cymbal IV ranks
digital
8
  Gamba *
61
8
  Trumpet
61
4
  Octave
61
    Great Unison Off  
4
  Flute
61
    Solo Melody to Great  
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt *
61
16
  Contra Oboe *
61
8
  Violin Diapason *
61
8
  Trumpet *
61
8
  Clarabella *
61
8
  Oboe [ext.] *
12
8
  Stopped Diapason [ext.] *
12
8
  Vox Humana *
61
8
  Salicional *
61
4
  Clarion *
61
8
  Voix Celeste [TC] *
49
    Tremulant  
4
  Octave *
61
    Vox Humana Tremulant  
4
  Wald Flute *
61
    Swell 16'  
2 2/3
  Nazard
61
    Swell Unison Off  
2
  Piccolo
61
    Swell 4'  
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
       
    Mixture IV ranks *
244
    Cymbelstern
digital

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Principal *
61
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
8
  Rohr Flute
61
    Mixture III ranks *
183
8
  Viole de Gamba
61
8
  Clarinet *
61
8
  Gamba Celeste [TC]
49
8
  Cromhorne
digital
8
  Flauto Dolce
61
    Tremulant  
8
  Flute Celeste [TC]
49
    Choir 16'  
4
  Choral Principal *
61
    Choir Unison Off  
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
    Choir 4'  
2
  Flautino [ext. Rohr Flute]
24
8
  Fanfare Trumpet
SO
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Grand Diapason *
61
16
  English Horn
digital
8
  Doppelflöte
61
8
  Tuba Mirabilis *
61
8
  Gross Gamba *
61
8
  Fanfare Trumpet
digital
8
  Gamba Celeste *
61
    Tremulant  
8
  Dulciana/Unda Maris II ranks *
122
    Solo 16'  
4
  Octave *
61
    Solo Unison Off  
4
  Flute *
61
    Solo 4'  
    Cornet V ranks
digital
    Great to Solo 8'  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Principal
digital
5 1/3
  Quint
32
32
  Bourdon *
32
4
  Super Octave *
32
32
  Violone
digital
4
  Flauto Major
SO
16
  Open Wood *
32
    Grand Cornet IV ranks
digital
16
  Open Metal
digital
32
  Posaune
digital
16
  Open Diapason
GT
16
  Ophicleide *
32
16
  Violone *
32
16
  Bombarde
digital
16
  Dulciana *
32
16
  Contre Trompette
digital
16
  Bourdon *
32
16
  Contra Oboe
SW
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
8
  Tromba *
32
8
  Octave *
32
8
  Trompette
SW
8
  Gedeckt
SW
4
  Clairon *
32
8
  Violoncello
GT
       
               
LOWER GALLERY
               
Grande Orgue (Manual II) – 61 notes, unenclosed
16
  Bourdon
digital
2
  Doublette
61
8
  Montre
61
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
8
  Bourdon
61
    Plein Jeu IV ranks
244
8
  Flûte Harmonique
digital
16
  Basson
digital
8
  Salicional
digital
8
  Trompette
61
4
  Prestant
61
4
  Clairon
digital
4
  Flûte Ouverte
digital
    Chimes
digital
2 2/3
  Quint
digital
    Grande Orgue Unison Off
               
Récit (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Principal Conique
61
8
  Cor Anglais
digital
8
  Flûte Traversière
61
8
  Hautbois
61
8
  Viole de Gambe *
61
8
  Trompette Harmonique
digital
8
  Voix Céleste
digital
4
  Clairon
digital
4
  Flûte Octaviante
61
    Tremblant  
1 1/3
  Larigot
61
    Récit Unison Off  
    Plein Jeu V ranks
digital
       
               
Pédale – 32 notes
16
  Contrebasse
digital
4
  Flûte
digital
16
  Soubasse
digital
16
  Petite Bombarde
digital
8
  Octave
digital
    Chimes
G.O.
8
  Flûte
G.O.
       
               
TRIFORIUM (North transept)
               
Grande Orgue (Manual II) – 61 notes
8
  Montre
digital
    Triforium to Great 16'  
8
  Bourdon
digital
    Triforium to Great 8'  
4
  Prestant
digital
    Triforium to Great 4'  
    Plein Jeu III ranks
digital
       
               
Récit (Manual III) – 61 notes, expressive
8
  Flûte Harmonique
digital
8
  Hautbois
digital
8
  Viole de Gambe
digital
    Tremblant  
8
  Voix Céleste
digital
8
  Trompette de Fanfare
digital
4
  Flûte Octaviante
digital
    Récit Unison Off  
               
Pédale – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon
digital
     
16
  Basson
digital
     
       
* ranks from 1913 Murray Harris organ
       
digital stops by Walker Technical Company
         
MIDI
    16 knobs (in two columns) controlling dedicated MIDI stops
         
Couplers and Controls (tablets on nameboard)
    Great to Pédale 8'     Solo to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pédale 8', 4'     Récit to Choir 16', 8'
    Choir to Pédale 8'     Great to Choir 8'
    Solo to Pédale 8', 4'     Choir to Swell 8'
    Grande Orgue to Pédale 8'     Solo to Swell 8'
    Récit to Pédale 8'     Récit to Solo 8'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'      
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'     Ventil Gallery Mute
    Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'     Ventil Triforium Mute
    Récit to Great 16', 8'     Manual Transfer I - II
    Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'     Récit Gallery Shades Off
         
Adjustable Combinations
   
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-0 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-0 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-0 (thumb)
Solo Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-0 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (toe)
Grande Orgue Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Récit Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Triforium Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb)
Entire Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 (thumb & toe)
Entire Organ Pistons 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24 (thumb only)
  General Cancel
  Set Piston
         
Reversibles and Sequencer Controls
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)     Swell to Choir (thumb)
    Swell to Pedal (thumb & toe)     Tutti I (thumb & toe)
    Choir to Pedal (thumb & toe)     Tutti II (thumb & toe)
    Solo to Pedal (thumb & toe)     Principal 32' (toe)
    Grande Orgue to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Posaune 32' (toe)
    Récit to Pedal (thumb)     Bourdon 32' (toe)
    Swell to Great (thumb)     Violone 32' (toe)
    Choir to Great (thumb)     Cymbelstern (thumb)
    Solo to Great (thumb)     Previous (toe)
    Solo Melody to Great (thumb)     Next (toe)
           
Balanced Expression Pedals
    Three assignable swell pedals to control Swell, Solo, Choir and Récit divisions
    Crescendo Pedal      
           
  Murray M. Harris Organ Facade (1913) with Kilgen Organ Console at Church of St. Jean Baptiste - New York City (Photo: St. Jean Baptiste RC Church)
  Murray Harris facade and Kilgen console
Murray M. Harris Company
Los Angeles, Calif. – Opus 104 (1913)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 60 stops, 54 ranks





The original organ in the present church was built in 1913 by Murray M. Harris of Los Angeles, and was a gift from Mr. Thomas F. Ryan. This organ was perhaps the last instrument designed by Murray Harris, as the contract was completed by the Johnston Piano and Organ Company. The specification and scaling of the instrument were carried out by Arthur Scott Brook in collaboration with Murray Harris. Mr. Brook had most recently finished designing an instrument for the Hon. William A. Clarks' Fifth Avenue mansion. The Italian Renaissance facade, which stands today, follows the case design of the organ in the 16th century Church of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, Italy. The organ was blessed on Sunday, January 4, 1914, and first used that evening in a recital given by Gaston M. Dethier (1875-1958), Professor of Organ at the Juilliard School.

In the 1940s, the Kilgen Organ Company of St. Louis, Mo., installed a new four-manual console. The instrument continued to serve the parish until it became unplayable in the early 1990s.

The following stoplist was transcribed from the original relay. Pipecounts were not noted, but are suggested, based on other Murray M. Harris organs of the era.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason [unit]
73
4
  Principal
61
8
  First Open Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Second Open Diapason [ext.]
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Dopple Flute
61
2 2/3
  Twelfth
61
8
  Gamba
61
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Viola d'Amour
61
8
  Trumpet 
61
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [unit]
85
4
  Octave
73
8
  Open Diapason
73
4
  Wald Flute
73
8
  Violin Diapason
73
2
  Harmonic Piccolo
61
8
  Salicional
73
    Mixture IV ranks
244
8
  Viol Celeste [TC]
61
16
  Contra Oboe
73
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
73
8
  Horn
73
8
  Lieblich Gedeckt [ext.]
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Clarabella
73
4
  Clarion
73
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Double Dulciana [unit]
73
8
  Dulciana [ext.]
8
  Geigen Principal
61
8
  Viola
61
8
  Flauto Traverso
61
4
  Flute d'Amour
61
8
  Quintadena
61
8
  Clarinet
61
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Grand Diapason
73
8
  Philomela
73
8
  Saxophone [labial?]
73
8
  Flauto Major
73
8
  Gross Gamba
73
8
  Tuba Mirabilis
73
8
  Vox Seraphic
73
       
               
Echo Organ – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Keraulophon
61
8
  Vox Seraphic
61
8
  Rohr Flute
61
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
49
8
  Vox Mystica [TC]
49
4
  Nachthorn
61
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes [possibly "Augmented" as suggested]
32
  Contra Bourdon [unit]
56
16
  Dulcet Bass
SW
16
  Open Diapason [unit]
44
8
  Octave [ext.]
16
  Contra Basso
GT
8
  Gedeckt [ext.]
16
  Violone [unit]
44
8
  Violoncello [ext.]
16
  Bourdon [ext.]
4
  Carillon [Bells?]
16
  Dulciana
CH
16
  Trombone
32
           
Organ in the Choir Room:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md.
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals


The Choir Room contains a second-hand Möller "Artiste" organ of undetermind size. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
           
Organ in the Lower Church:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 7581 (1947)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 20 stops, 9 ranks


The M.P. Möller Factory Specification (Mar. 1, 1947) shows that their Op. 7581 was entirely enclosed in a single expression chamber and had a detached two-manual stop-key console. Möller reused six stops from the previous Möller organ, Op. 1404 of 1912. The entire organ was voiced on 4" wind pressure.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Diapason [unit] *
85
4
  Flute
8
  Clarabella [unit] *
85
4
  Dulcet
8
  Dulciana [unit]
85
    Tremolo  
4
  Octave
   
Chimes
preparation
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon [unit]
97
4
  Flute d'Amour
8
  Geigen Principal *
73
2 2/3
  Nasard
8
  Viole d'Gamba *
73
2
  Flautino
8
  Voix Celeste [TC] *
61
8
  Trumpet
73
8
  Gedeckt
    Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon *
44
8
  Gedeckt
SW
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
4
  Flute
SW
8
  Flute [ext.]
       
           
* using pipes from Moller, Op. 1404 (1912)
Couplers
    Great to Pedal   Great 16', Unison, 4'
    Swell to Pedal   Swell 16', Unison, 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Great & Pedal Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Swell & Pedal Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Expression Pedal   Sforzando Reversible
    Balanced Crescendo Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
               
Accessories
    Expression Indicator (light)     Sforzando Indicator (light)
    Crescendo Indicator (light)     Action Current Indicator (light)
           
Organ in the Lower Church:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 1404 (1912)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 15 stops, 15 ranks


The Agreement (April 3, 1912) between M.P. Möller and St. Jean Baptiste Church states that Möller would install a two -manual organ having 15 stops for a consideration of $3,000. Möller indicated that the organ would be complete and ready for use on or before Dec. 25, 1912 or as soon thereafter as possible. At the bottom of the page is a notation: "12/24/12 Organ shipped".
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
61
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Doppel Floete (wood)
61
8
  Gemshorn
61
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon (wood)
73
8
  Clarabella (wood)
73
8
  Horn Diapason
73
4
  Flute Harmonique
73
8
  Gamba
73
4
  Octave
73
8
  Aeoline
73
8
  Trumpet
73
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason (wood)
30
8
  Bass Flute (wood)
30
16
  Bourdon (wood)
30
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal   Swell Octave to Great
    Swell to Pedal   Swell Octaves
    Swell to Great    
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell & Pedal Pistons No. 1-2-3
Great & Pedal Pistons No. 1-2
               
Mechanicals
    Swell Tremolo       Wind Indicator  
            Crescendo Indicator  
               
Pedal Movements
    Great to Pedal Reversible    
    Balanced Swell Pedal    
    Grand Crescendo Pedal    
           
Sources:
     Brown, Kyler. Document with specifications of the organs at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste.
     Church of St. Jean Baptiste web site: http://stjeanbaptisteny.org/
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.
     Dunlap, David. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     Kloda, Barry. Specifications of Wicks Organ, Op. 6388 (2000).
     Smith, David Lennox (ed. by Orpha Ochse). Murray M. Harris and Organ Building in Los Angeles, 1894-1913. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2005.
     Trupiano, Larry. Agreement & Specifications (Apr. 3, 1912) for M.P. Möller organ, Op. 1404.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications of M.P. Möller Organ, Op. 7581 (1947).

Illustrations:
     Lawson, Steven E. Wicks organ console in south transept.
     St. Jean Baptiste web site. Exterior and interior.
     Wicks Organ Company. Interior view of rear gallery, Wicks organ console.