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Six manuals

dll927

New member
I've just learned of another six-manual console, in the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Monreale, Sicily. That was a new one for me. According to info, it's a Rufatti, which is not surprising in Italy.

Does anyone have a handle on how many six-manual consoles exist? The list can't be very long, but it would be interesting. I know of Wanamaker, one in Germany, and this one. Yeah, I'm aware of that one in some little burg in West Virginia, but that's an electronic job.

This cathedral in Sicily reportedly is full of mosaic art. Looks worth checking out on a few photo sites.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha dll927,

There are seven 6-manual consoles currently in operation according to Martin Doering's database: Wanamaker, Lichen Basilica in Poland, Dom zu Mainz, Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, Stiftsbasilica in Waldsassen, Duomo Monreale in Sicily, and the Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church in Hurricane, West Virginia.

Cheerio,

CD :):):)
 
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dll927

New member
Thanks, CD, that's probably about the extent of them.

As if one needed to be reminded that pipe organs are individual instruments, it seems there is no particular relation between size and the number of manuals. West Point is about the third-largest, and it's 'only' a four-manual. So it's more a matter of how many divisions, and even there, such things as floating divisions or using one manual for more than one division seem common.

In looking this up on Google, I ran across an article that goes into quite a detailed description of organ construction. Not that I totally understand all of it, but it's interesting reading nonetheless. It's rather apparent that electrical action opened up possibillities that couldn't be done before that.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha dll927,

A former organist at the West Point Chapel shared with me that there had been plans to put in a seven manual console in the Chapel but apparently those plans have been way-laid.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha dll927,

The seven manual ACCHO is playable by the average dimensioned human.

Cheerio,

CD :):):)
 

dll927

New member
Which sort of raises a question: What would be the "ideal" stature or construction for an organist? It would seem that someone with long legs and arms would be most suitable. But since few of us get to choose such things, we have to live with what we've got!!

I've read that the organ in the "mother" Christian Science church in Beantown is a four-manual because at the time the organ was being built, the lady who was chief organist didn't think she could reach a fifth one. Did Lefbvre-Wely complain about St. Sulpice?? In that case, the Recit (Swell) was originally the fifth manual.

I don't know about others, but the upper manuals on the Wanamaker are clearly somewhat tilted. Same for the Atlantic City one. Thus at least one doesn't have to stand on the bench to reach them.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
If my memory serves me, I have this notion that the *APOBA* has promulgated a memorandum that states the ideal console dimensions for organ consoles with two or more manuals.
 

acc

New member
Did Lefbvre-Wely complain about St. Sulpice?? In that case, the Recit (Swell) was originally the fifth manual.

Good question; I don't know. Widor definitely complained, since he had the manual order changed in 1903. But then, Widor wrote stuff for the Récit that has a degree of velocity Lefébure-Wély wouldn't even have dreamed of.
 

jvhldb

New member
Is a five manual organ really needed for church accopanyment? We had a visiting organist a while back that complained because our organ has only two manuals (we use the swell only for the intro (sometimes) and everything else is done on the great) and he was used to a five decker. I can't imagine playing on a five manual organ. As it is I have trouble using the swell if we do a 'hot swop' at the organ as my teacher moves the bench further back than I normally do and I'm not the shortest person in town.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
In many instances the Church has only a single manual organ with pedal pull-downs, or a *toaster*(appliance - denoting a digital organ purchased without forethought), and that suffices for playing hymns and some early music compositions plus arrangements either created by the organist or bought for use on a single manual organ.
 

jvhldb

New member
I know I'm of the toppic here, but at least the appliance don't have pipes that can get filled with bat guano, unlike our organ.
 

Krummhorn

Administrator
Staff member
ADMINISTRATOR
Johan,

My church pipe organ has but two manuals also ... for service playing only, I think two manuals is quite sufficient as long as there are sufficient pistons and reversibles, which my organ severely lacks (there are but 4 generals, one of which I use as a general cancel!).

For concerts, 3 manuals is plenty for me ... I see all those really terrific organs with 5 manuals, but if you notice, the concert organist playing them most of the time only use the Great and Choir - except for a few "honks on the chamade" the upper most manual is seldom used.

One could just as easily have "floating divisions" and less manuals.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
At my regular wedding gig I have a five manual plus pedal *toaster*. However, I use only three and let those upper manuals with associated divisions act as *floating divisions*.
 

Dorsetmike

Member
[showing ignorance mode]
I can only see sense for most cases for pedals & 2 manuals, you can only use 2 hands at a time! A third manual possibly for concert work but I can't really see a desperate need for more, or is there a limit to the number of stops you can have for each manual?
[/showing ignorance mode off]
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha Mike,

No! You're not showing ignorance - Its a valid question. Any good organist can use three manuals with two hands - some organist can use four manuals with two hands. I regularly bring out a melody line by thumbing the melody line on the middle manual. With much difficulty I'll play on four manuals - taking care to *tease-out* different subjects in the piece.

Cheerio,

CD :tiphat::tiphat::tiphat:
 

dll927

New member
What is "necessary" is probably open to question. I've long had the feeling that it takes three manuals to handle most of the classical organ repertoire. Two can be limiting.

But pipe organs are nothing if not individual instruments. And in many cases (Crystal Cathedral, First Congregational L.A., etc.) it's not really one organ. In both of those cases there are "front" and "back" organs which happen to be played from the same console, although both have two consoles. First Congregational long went with just the original four-manual Skinner. It wasn't until 1969 that the Schlicker up in the rear balcony was put in, and they have added more since then. (The church was built in 1931.)

I'm in the process of looking up each of the locations mentioned so far, and I'm finding out some interesting stuff. That Lichen Basilica in Poland appears to be some type of religious Taj Mahal built out in the middle of Nowheresville. Google it, and you'll come across some rather pithy comments, not all of which are exactly complimentary. More to follow.
 

dll927

New member
Has anyone out there ever heard of something called the Montjuich Palace or Palacio Nacional in Barcelona, Spain? There seems to be some uncertainty, but it either has, did have, or may have a six-manual console. I've never heard of the place before -- but that could be because Barcelona ia also home to the famous (or infamous) Sacred Family Church. There seems to be some question as to what shape the organ is in, if indeed it stll is in existence.
 

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Aloha dll927,

Bravo dear sir! I totally forgot about the six manual organ at the Palacio Nacional de Montjuich - Here's a weblink for it:

http://www.magicspain.com/michael/montjuich/06consola-montjuich1971.html

From what I understand it is a Walcker organ in very deplorable and decrepit condition - So Sad!!!!!!! :cry::bawl::shake::banghead::scold:

And then there was the six manual Barton in the Chicago Stadium. I don't know what happened to the pipes but the console resides in the home of Phil Maloof controlling lots of digital sound chips:

http://www.theatreorgans.com/walnuthill/Maloof_Console02_400.jpg

Cheers,

CD :tiphat::tiphat::tiphat:
 
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