Ithaca, New York
Cornell University — Sage Chapel
Builder: Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Inc. Year: 1940 Opus: 1009
No. manuals: 3 No. stops: 58 No. ranks: 68 No. pipes: 4,013
GREAT ORGAN SWELL ORGAN
"In 1940 the west end of the chapel was extended to again accommodate the choir loft and organ. [The organ] was thoroughly rebuilt, enlarged and modernized tonally by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston under the direction of its late president, G. Donald Harrison. The contract was signed on May 31, 1940, and the cost for Opus 1009 was specified as $16,500. According to the Alumni News of August 1940, the trustees "authorized the expenditure of $48,000, or as much of that amount, as may be necessary, on the understanding that any part of the cost that cannot be obtained by special gifts shall be taken from the Oliphant Fund, an unrestricted gift of the late J. Norris Oliphant '01." Undoubtedly the $48,000 included the reconstruction of the west end of the chapel.
The Alumni News of August 1940 described the extension of the west end of Sage Chapel as providing the choir loft and organ with more room. Aeolian-Skinner installation men began work on September 30 (one of them, Larry Mogue, played the Cornell Chimes on Halloween), and the organ was finished from guidelines set by G. Donald Harrison himself in the chapel. On December 5 the "Journal" announced that the organ was "ready for use" on the next Sunday and that the "most notable feature" was the Positiv, which was "of particularly beautiful quality...essential for the performance of music of the Baroque period," the console being "remarkable for its inclusion of all possible recently developed devices which make the large instrument capable of easy handling and unlimited expressiveness."
Almost all of the pipework was new in 1940 and reflected Harrison's latest tonal thinking. His handwritten notations of the summer of 1940 reveal that, in preparing the stoplist, he used ideas from some of his previous organs. His notes also show that some pipes from earlier organs were to be included: the lowest twelve pipes of the Spitzflote from the Gemshorn [from] Westminster Choir College; the lowest seven pipes of the Swell Diapason from the Carnegie Institute Music Hall, the lowest twelve pipes from the Greenwich organ of Mrs. Percy A. Rockefeller; twelve pipes of the Pedal 16' Principal from New York's Broadway Tabernacle; all pipes for the Pedal Principals 8' and 4' from All Saints' in Worcester; and the entire Octav 1' from another, later, organ at Westminster. Several ranks from the 1909 organ also were to be included: Swell Bourdon, Aeoline, Oboe and Vox Humana; the entire Choir division except for the Zauberflote and the Cromorne; and the Pedal Violone 16' and Bourdon 16'. The Choir windchest was originally built for a theater in Midland, Texas, but was never installed there.
The façade of the present organ, which incorporates part of the Pedal Violone 16', is from the 1898 King organ, and it is probable that the Choir Flutes 8' and 4' are King as well. There are no pipes remaining from the 1875 Hook & Hastings organ.
During the academic year of 1966-67, a few minor changes were made. The tablet previously labeled "Chimes Control" (never functional) was changed to operate an added Positiv Tremolo. An unconnected microphone switch was used to turn on an eight-bell Zimbelstern. The Great Quint was replaced, by A. Richard Strauss of Ithaca, with a Larigot 1 1/3' from the 4' Harmonic Flute in the 1891 Johnson organ formerly in St. John's, Ithaca. The Swell Aeoline was replaced by a new Sesquialtera II and the Positiv Nason Flute by a new Gedeckt 8', both installed by the G. F. Adams Organ Company of New York. The old pipes of the three former stops are being carefully protected in boxes inside the organ.
During the 1989-90 academic year, the electrical system was entirely rebuilt to include a solid-state mechanism by SSL. The old components have been stored inside the instrument. Moreover, the refurbished console now has a new stop knob for the Positiv Tremolo, a restored Chimes Control tablet, a new toe stud for the Zimbelstern, and new knobs for borrowing the Quintaden and the Fagotto to the Pedal."
Organ Historical Society Database: https://pipeorgandatabase.org/OrganDetails.php?OrganID=23598