F.Y.I. MOBILE SECTION / HIGH CONTRAST SECTION / PRINTABLE SECTION F.A.Q.
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ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
The organ has its origins in the Father Willis instrument of 1872 (although some earlier pipework is included in it). This instrument was located in the Chancel but, some years afterwards, three tubas were placed in the Dome and, later still, some Pedal stops were sited there too. The first purpose-built console to control this enlarged instrument was provided in 1900.
1900 Console - Bass Jamb
Pedal
Clarion Dome 8
Bombarde Dome 16
Ophicleide Chancel 16
Contra Posaune Dome 32
Mixture Dome
Principal Dome 8
Violoncello Dome 8
Octave Chancel 8
Open Diap. Metal Dome 16
Open Diap. Wood Dome 16
Open Diap. Wood Dome 16
Open Diap. Wood Chancel 16
Bourdon Chancel 16
Violone Chancel 16
Double Diapason Dome 32
Tuba to Pedal
Solo to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Coupler to Swell Pedals
Solo (enclosed)
Trumpet 8
Cornopean 8
Orchestral Hautboy 8
Cor Anglais 8
Corno Bassetto 8
Contra Posaune 16
Contra Fagotto 16
Piccolo 2
Concert Flute 4
Flute Harmonique 8
Flute 8
Gamba 8
Open Diapason 8
Vox Angelica Altar 8
Vox Humana Altar 8
Gamba Altar 8
Contra Gamba Altar 16
[Gap]
Tremulant Altar
Swell (enclosed)
Clarion 4
Cornopean 8
Hautboy 8
Contra Posaune 16
Echo Cornet
Fifteenth 2
Principal 4
Vox Angelica 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
Salicional 8
Open Diapason 8
Contra Gamba 16
Swell to Pedal
[Gap]
Solo to Swell
1900 Console - Treble Jamb
Tuba
Clarion Dome 4
Clarion Chancel 4
Tuba Dome 8
Tuba Chancel 8
Double Tuba Dome 16
Chancel Tubas to Great
Dome Tubas to Great
Tuba to Pedal
Tuba to Solo
Altar On
Solo On
Gt. Pistons to Com. Peds
Sw. Pistons to Com. Peds
Choir
Cor Anglais 8
Corno Bassetto 8
Flageolet 2
Flute Harmonique 4
Principal 4
Clarabella 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
Dulciana 8
Violoncello 8
Open Diapason 8
Contra Viola 16
Swell to Choir
Choir to Pedal
Cantoris
Decani
[Gap]
Hydraulic Engines
Great
Clarion 4
Tromba 8
Trombone 16
Mixture
Fourniture
Fifteenth 2
Twelfth 3
Principal 4
Flute Harmonique 4
Quint 6
Open Diapason Wood 8
Open Diapason No.4 8
Open Diapason No.3 8
Open Diapason No.2 8
Open Diapason No.1 8
Double Diapason 16
Swell to Great Sub
Swell to Great Unison
Swell to Great Super
Great to Pedal
Succentor
Despite the almost symmetrical arrangement of its 103 drawstops, the 1900 console was rather clumsy in appearence. It was replaced by a far more elegant affair in 1930. The new console had 135 drawstops, of which 87 were speaking stops (there were 76 on the 1900 console), including 11 new stops, i.e. six on the Pedal, three on the Choir, one on the Great, and one on the Tuba.
The Tuba organ's new stop, the Trompette Militaire, was to become, arguably, the instrument's most famous voice. It was donated by Henry Willis III who, essentially, sought to give the impression that it was of his own making. In fact, he acquired the stop from the American firm of Anton Gottfried, having been previously introduced to it by Emerson Richards, the designer of the mammoth organ in the Atlantic City Convention Hall. Richards and Willis were having supper at the Ritz one evening in 1929 and Richards was passing around pictures of the Convention Hall organ which, at that time, was under construction. Willis's eye was caught by the picture of the Gallery IV organ's Brass Trumpet. He thought such a stop would serve as a good "foil" for the Dome tubas, so he asked Richards to order one for him.
Willis said that, when the pipes arrived, he threw away the tone-producing components (i.e. shallot, tongue, etc.) and replaced them with his own but, actually, he did no such thing. The fact of the matter is that he made no changes whatsoever to the stop, although he did have the Gottfried stamp on the block of the bottom C pipe scratched out!
The Trompette Militaire was first heard in public on June 25th, 1930, when it played the opening notes of the "Old 100th" (All People That on Earth Do Dwell) at the beginning of a service to mark the re-opening of the cathedral (following major structural work on the Dome).
1930 Console - Bass Jamb
Pedal
Dome
Clarion 8
Bombarde 16
Contra Posaune 32
[Spare Stop]
Mixture 3 rks
Violoncello 8
Principal 8
Open Diapason 16
Open Bass No.2 16
Open Bass No.1 16
Contra Violone 32
Double Open Bass 32
Chancel
Ophicleide 16
Octave Flute 4
Flute 8
Octave 8
Viola 16
Open Metal 16
Bourdon 16
Violone 16
Contra Bass 16
Open Bass 16
Solo (enclosed)
Orchestral Oboe 8
Cor Anglais 8
Corno di-Bassetto 8
French Horn 8
Trumpet 8
Contra Fagotto 16
Contra Posaune 16
Piccolo 2
Concert Flute 4
Flute Harmonique 8
Flute Ouverte 8
Viola da Gamba 8
Open Diapason 8
Solo Octave
Solo Sub-Octave
[Spare Stop]
Altar (unenclosed)
Fern Flute 4
Sylvestrina 8
Cor-de-Nuit 8
Quintaton 16
Tremolo
Swell (enclosed)
Clarion 4
Hautboy 8
Cornopean 8
Contra Posaune 16
Cornet 3 rks
Fifteenth 2
Principal 4
Vox Angelica 8
Salicional 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
Open Diapason 8
Contra Gamba 16
Swell Octave
Swell Sub-Octave
[Spare Stop]
Couplers
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
Tubas to Solo
Altar on Solo
Solo to Swell
Solo to Pedal 4 ft
Swell to Pedal 4 ft
Tuba to Pedal
Solo to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
1930 Console - Treble Jamb
Couplers
Dome Tubas on Great
Chancel Tubas on Great
Tubas to Choir
Solo to Choir
Swell to Choir
Altar on Choir
Solo to Great
Swell to Great Octave
Swell to Great
Swell to Great Sub
Choir to Great
Doubles Off
Pedal Stops Off
Tuba
Trompette Militaire 8
Dome Tubas
Clarion 4
Tuba 8
Double Tuba 16
Chancel Tubas
Tuba Clarion 4
Tuba 8
[Spare Label]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
Choir
Trumpet 8
Cor Anglais 8
Corno di-Bassetto 8
Tierce 13/5
Flageolet 2
Nazard 22/3
Flute Harmonique 4
Gemshorn 4
Dulciana 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
Clarabella 8
Violoncello 8
Open Diapason 8
Contra Viola 16
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
[Spare Stop]
Great
Clarion 4
Tromba 8
Trombone 16
Mixture 3 rks
Fourniture 3 rks
Fifteenth 2
Twelfth 22/3
Principal No.2 4
Principal No.1 4
Quint 51/3
Tibia 8
Open Diapason No.4 8
Open Diapason No.3 8
Open Diapason No.2 8
Open Diapason No.1 8
Lieblich Bordun 16
Double Open Diap. 16
Great Pistons on
Pedal Pistons
Great & Pedal Pistons
Coupled
Among the other stops added at this time was the 32-foot Contra Violone in the Pedal organ's Dome section. Willis also wanted to include a 32-foot Contra Bombarde here but sucessive cathedral organists thought it would be out of keeping with the character of the instrument. The stop was finally added in 1960 but, until then, the Contra Posaune was the organ's only 32-foot reed - and a rather feeble one at that, being blown by only 63/4 inches of wind and having a somewhat small scale. The resulting tone was akin to a low-pitched oboe. It worked well with the full swell but had little effect in the tutti.
Similarly, the hoped-for diapason chorus in the Dome was not realized until 1949. Its eight stops (15 ranks) were accommodated in the south-east quarter-dome (the Dome Pedal and Tuba organ being in the north-east quarter dome). The stop list was as follows:
Cymbale 24.26.29.
Mixture 15.19.22.26.29.
Quartane 12.15.
Principal 4
Octave Diapason 4
Open Diapason No.2 8
Open Diapason No.1 8
Double Open Diapason 16
Diapason Chorus on Choir
The department was reviewed in The Organ of April, 1951, by William Leslie Sumner. He was one of a handful of Willis stooges who would write phrases like: "I think this organ would be greatly improved by the addition of" this stop or that stop, when, what he actually meant was, "Mr. Willis thinks this organ would be greatly improved by...", etc. It is beyond doubt that, in some respects, Sumner was a clever man, but his apparent willingness to enthusiastically endorse everything Willis must lead one to question the impartiality of his reviews and perhaps treat them with some skepticsm. His write-up of the Dome diapason chorus at St Paul's was no exception. The article included the following phrases:
"With the immense cubic capacity of St Paul's even a Schulze or Lewis flue chorus would seem comparatively quiet ... All the pipes in the section are of spotted metal except the basses of the double open diapason and the large open diapason ... The open diapason No. 1 of 6-3/4in. scale at CC fills the Dome and nave with bright diapason tone ... The octave diapason...blends perfectly in true Schulze style ... The mixture which is so skilfully connected to the unison and 4ft. work through the quartane adds great liveliness to the tone."
Having read the above, one could be forgiven for thinking that only Willis - not Schulze nor Lewis nor, for that matter, any other organ builder - was capable of providing a diapason chorus to meet the unique requirements of St Paul's. However, it seems obvious that Sumner is describing a straight-line chorus - something that was not normal practise for Willis. Neither was it usual for him to extensively use spotted metal, and nor could the tone of his diapasons usually be described as "bright". The composition of the mixtures is interesting because two of them have only first and fifth-sounding ranks - unlike Willis mixtures which, more often than not, included third-sounding pitches. Talk of the mixture's "great liveliness" and of the "true Schulze style" can only thinly disguise the provenance of these stops.
In fact, the vast majority of these ranks were in the "Schulze style" because they were built by a desciple of Schulze (which Willis was not), i.e. Lewis. To be precise, the stops came from the organ in Christ Church, Westminster Bridge Road, which was bombed during World War II. Willis may indeed have increased the wind pressure - like he claimed to have done at Southwark Cathedral - and fitted compensating amplifiers to a couple of ranks, but this did not detract from the fact that the original pipes were Lewis; a fact not mentioned by Sumner! The only stop that appeared to be purely Willis was the Cymbale (which, like every other Willis mixture on the organ, was a tierce mixture) and even that consisted of second-hand ranks.
Sumner makes more than one reference to the diapason chorus being "new", but this surely means new to St Paul's not newly built? This is disingenuous at best and downright deceitful at worst; although whether Sumner was aware the facts - but didn't reveal them - is, of course, unknown. Whatever the truth of the matter, either his inability to see what should have been obvious or his willingness to accept, without question, Willis's word as Gospel does no favours for his credibility as a commentator on organ matters.
The St Paul's organ remained largely untouched until the early 1970s, when the cathedral authorities authorized a major rebuild. The Willis company had maintained the organ for 100 years but, this time, the contract went to the local firm of N. P. Mander (now Mander Organs). Details about some of the work carried out between 1972 and 1977 is given below:
-The 32-foot Contra Posaune was moved from the Dome to the Chancel and given new metal resonators - since it was impossible to accommodate Father Willis's original wooden ones, with their extensive mitres, in the space available.

-The area vacated by the Contra Posaune was used, largely, to accommodate a new diapason chorus by Mander. Thus, all of the the Dome organ's stops were placed in the north-east quarter-dome (the "old" diapason chorus remained in the south-east quarter-dome for some time after the rebuild). In this respect, the instrument can now be considered legitimately a "Willis/Mander" organ (although it is usually referred to as a "Wills") since, in the nave, it is almost impossible to hear the "Willis" Chancel organ once the "Mander" Dome diapason chorus is added to the ensemble.

-The scheme was rationalized, with the Chancel tubas becoming part of the Solo organ and the Dome tubas joining the newly-created "Vth" organ. The Vth also acquired the Solo's Contra Posaune and Trumpet stops - these provide useful accompanimental reed tone in the Dome, without having to call upon the tubas.

-A new console was built and placed on the gallery above the south side of the choir stalls, not far from to the Chancel organ's south case. This is not an ideal position but it is far better than being buried inside the north case.
-The area formerly occupied by the 1930 console was given over to the new North Choir organ, a Baroque-type department.

-A quint mixture was added to the Great, and the Altar organ was removed.

-A diapason chorus and a barrage of trumpets were provided at the West End.
Some minor changes were made after the '70s rebuild - including the addition of a Bourdon, Flute Harmonique, and Cremona to the Choir organ. A refurbishment of the instrument during 2007-8, again by the Mander firm, included new Dome Tubas. Also, through the generosity of Roger Gabb, the son of Harry Gabb (Sub-Organist 1946-1974) a second, mobile console was provided. For the present specifications, complete with stop dates, click here (opens in a new window).
Perhaps it's true that "the best stop on the organ is the acoustic", as the phrase has it. "Even a sneeze", said Sir Walter Parrett, "is captured by the interior of the dome and turned into music"!
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