Robert McCormick gives a narrated tour of the Schoenstein Organ at Saint Paul’s Parish K Street

Mr. Robert McCormick, Director of Music, at St. Paul’s Parish, K Street

January 28, 2012

Saint Paul’s Parish K Street has one of the finest music programs in all of Washington DC and is blessed with a fabulous Schoenstein Pipe Organ, several excellent choirs and their Music Director, Robert McCormick, who is universally respected for his superb musical skills in the organ world.

The Schoenstein Pipe Organ was designed to accompany the Anglican Service and has a rich selection of colourful solo stops and soft effects, as well as ensembles for brilliant hymn playing. It was modelled upon the work of Henry Willis, builder of organs at Saint Paul’s, London, and Salisbury Cathedral. The smallest pipe is pencil-sized; the largest pipe is 18.5 feet tall, 2 square feet in dimension and weighs 430 pounds. The weight of the organ is approximately 32,000 pounds. There are 40 miles of wire in the console, relay action and wind chests.

Robert McCormick uses the Salve Regina as the basis for 8 short improvisations. He demonstrates the following colors: Flutes, Foundations, Reeds, Crescendo/Decrescendo starting on the  Foundations and adding the Swell Reeds, Principals and Mixtures, Lighter Foundation Stops, Celestes and the Tutti.

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3 Responses to Robert McCormick gives a narrated tour of the Schoenstein Organ at Saint Paul’s Parish K Street

  1. Richard Harrold says:

    Interesting. Seems disappointing how the Great diapason chorus tails off so much in the treble – one longs for more brilliance, as you get with a Father Willis. It’s a glorious organ in terms of its orchestral sounds, with a fabulous Tuba, but it’s ultimately too smooth and lacking in brightness to really excite me. Sorry. I remember reading an essay by Jack Bethards on scaling and the way he proposed making the Principal something like three notes smaller in scale note-for-note than the main Open Diapason, with a similar relationship between ranks further up, rang alarm bells in my head. My fears have been realised – I hope that the new Schoenstein which will arrive in London next year will have more boldness. I feel like grabbing Jack Bethards the next time he’s over and dragging him round organs by Lewis, Brindley & Foster and Michell & Thynne!

    To be fair, this ‘failing’ is purely subjective. I notice exactly the same thing in E. M. Skinner organs – a bit too smooth and lacking brilliance. Henry Willis III complained that Skinner did not really understand the importance of mixtures until he had demonstrated the Great chorus up to the huge mixture at Westminster Cathedral… now THAT is a REALLY exciting organ. Big, fiery reeds, very pure, bold choruses, with both quint and tierce mixtures.

    On the other hand, if you added a Tibia Clausa to this Schoenstein organ, it would make quite a good theatre organ impression!

  2. Mr. McCormick, keep up your good work!

  3. I truly enjoyed your performance of the Bach… you really bring out the dance… Brava

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