Chapter 30 Making Connections
Chapter 30 Making Connections
The entrance to the organ chambers was through a door in the hallway of the third floor. Zee-zee felt it time for her to go check on Lars and she called upon Teng-ting to show the men way. Teng-ting took them through another concealed door, this time on the main floor of the ballroom, which led to the kitchen, then up the back service stairs all the way to the third floor of the immense manor.
As they negotiated turns and stairs Jimmy mentioned that he felt quite lost. Harry joked, “This is sort 'a like the lost mines of King Solomon, don't you think? All this climbing, and then a maze to confuse any would be plunderers! They'll probably find our skeletons one day.”
At last they stood before the chamber door which Teng-ting opened. Snapping on the electric light she said with a bow, “I please to go now. Needing anything you are me to call. So?” she smiled and was gone.
Mr. Mac went in first. Amazingly all four of them, the two men and two boys found they could fit just inside the door. Mr. Edwin and the boys stayed put as Mr. Mac crawled about looking at this, checking that. Soon he came back to where they stood, with a rolled sheaf of papers in his hand.
Jimmy said, “Well, Mr. Mac, what did you find?”
Scratching his head he said, “Well, I can find no reason here why the organ shouldn't work! This Mr. Beauliat was quite an impressive craftsman. Everything seems to be OK. Everything's installed.”
“What did you see?” Jimmy was eager to know. Harry brought his notebook and pencil out of his back pocket.
Mr. Mac unrolled the papers, “According to the organ plans, which were very conveniently pinned to the wall in one of the chambers, this is a four chamber installation. There's a chamber on the console left referred to as the Main chamber, and here's an unenclosed one in the front center, its labeled Grand Orgue, and just behind and above that is an enclosed chamber known as the Récit according to this, and finally, this one here on the right is really like a solo chamber, but it's called the Orchestral. From what I can tell, for the most part, this organ is highly unified and has more wind pressure than you might think. It's definitely a modern organ. Let's see . . .” he counted on his fingers, “in the main chamber there is an Open Diapason, it's simply stamped Diapason II.”
“Where's the Diapason I?” Jimmy interjected. Harry was busy drawing and making notes.
“The Diapason I is the facade pipes, and it's labeled Montre on the console. Now, enclosed in the main chamber is the Diapason II, Tuba Horn, a Clarinet, a Lieblich Flute with a Celeste rank, a Quintadena, a Vox Humana, and two string and celeste sets. They are Salicional and Voix Celeste, and a Dulciana with an Unda Maris companion.”
Harry had been making notes and counting too, “OK, that's eleven in the Main, not counting those facade pipes!”
Mr. Mac continued, “In the orchestral chamber -- the one on the right of the console -- there is yet another Vox Humana, and more strings here too; a Gamba and two Celeste companions, probably one celeste is tuned sharp, the other flat. There's one quiet reed, an Oboe Horn, and three interesting color reeds; a Krumhorn, an Orchestral Oboe, and a Musette. There are a couple of nice looking brasses as well; a Trumpet, and an Ophecleide, which looks, and probably sounds, much like a Post Horn. There is one more particular rank that really tells of Robert Hope-Jones' influence. Guess what?
Jimmy said, “Oh! uh, I don't know!” Harry just shook his head still writing furiously not wanting to miss a rank.
“Well it certainly is a Theatre Organ rank . . . ” Mr. Mac hinted.
Jimmy cried, “Oh, I know! It must be a Tibia!”
“That's right, a Tibia Clausa with it's own wind supply and tremulant.” replied Mr. Mac.
Crossing the 'T' and dotting the 'i's in 'Tibia,' Harry said, “I should have known! I saw it on the stop rows, but then, I'm used to seeing Tibias everywhere by now!” The boys and Mr. Mac laughed.
Harry was still chuckling when he said, “So! That's a total of twenty-two ranks, why this organ is already bigger than the Floridian Theatre organ! Now, what about percussions? Are there any?.”
“Yes, a few.” Mr. Mac continued, “Did you notice anything unusual--besides the fancy decorations-- about the grand piano out in the loft?”
“Oh! Yes there was a long box back between the legs and underneath the piano keyboard that looked like it was not originally part of the piano and it had a cable running out of it into a hole in the floor. You mean the piano is playable from the organ console?”
“Right, Jimmy!” Mr. Mac continued, “There's a Wood Harp in the Orchestral chamber along with a set of Chimes, and a Glockenspiel. The Main chamber has a Xylophone and a Metal Harp with rotors, which means that it is really a Vibraharp. As for traps there is just what you saw on the keycheek buttons: Chinese Tam-tam, a Triangle, a Turkish Cymbal, and the stop, start button for a Zymbelstern. Yes, there was a birdsong, too.”
Harry was flipping pages in his notebook. “But wait Mr. Mac! Didn't you say there was two center chambers?” Mr. Mac nodded yes. “What's in those?”
Mr. Mac had a twinkle in his eye. “Ah! The ones labeled Grand Orgue and Récit on the plan. Well, let's just say that Charles-Marie Widor would be pleased and Aristide Cavaillé-Coll would be flattered because it is an almost exact duplicate of the choir organ from Sainte Sulpice built by Mr. Cavaillé-Coll in 1858. Harry, is your pencil sharp? Here's what's in the two center chambers, oh, and some of these ranks are in the facade.”
Harry started to list as Mr. Mac began to read slowly. “According to the plans these are the exposed ranks, which are either just behind or in the facade, and in front of and below the Récit swell box; Soubasse16', Bourdon at 16' and 8', Montre at 16' and 8', Salicional 8', Flûte Harmonique 4', Prestant 4', Octave 4, a Quinte 2-2/3', a Doublette 2', a four rank mixture called Plein-Jeu, a reed chorus of Basson 16',Trompette 8', and Clarion 4'. Did you get all that Harry?”
Mr. Mac chuckled and Harry continued to write. "Now, in the enclosed division called the Récit, there is a Flûte Traversière 8', Viole de Gambe 8', Voix céleste 8,' Flûte Octaviante 4', Octavin 2', and surprise, a French Horn 16', a Cor Anglais 8', a Trompette Harmonique 8', and a Clarion 4'."
Mr. Edwin was excited. “I say! There isn't any kind of organ literature one couldn't play on an instrument like this! I can't wait to hear this organ! What do we do next, Keith?” asked Mr. Edwin.
Mr. Mac indicated the back wall of the organ chambers, “Do you see that bundle of cables going through that wall there? I think they must go to a relay stack somewhere. I noticed they went through another wall but they came right back out again and there's where the trail stops. Did you gentlemen notice another door on this hallway?”
Mr. Edwin said, “I must confess to being too wide eyed to take in any details, myself!”
“I remember that there was a door just before we got to this one.” Jimmy said, “I just thought it was a bedroom or something.”
“Well, there's one way to find out!” said Harry, who was nearest the door. He disappeared into the hallway and in a few seconds called back, “Yes! It's the relay room, all right!”
Mr. Mac quickly checked the relay stacks and simply said, “Hmmm!”
Jimmy said, “Well, can you fix it?”
Mr. Mac stood with a finger pressed to his lips, apparently in deep thought.
He said, “I need to see the blower.” With that he went out the door and finding the main stairs he started down with the boys in pursuit. Mr. Edwin said that he would stay put until they got back.
They found Teng-ting in the kitchen and somehow they made her understand they needed to see the organ blower. She took them down another dark set of stairs to the garage level of the house turning on lights as they progressed. This was not exactly a cellar, cellars being rare in Florida due to the high water table. The house was built into the slope of a hillside which anywhere but in Florida would be called a mere steep rise.
Three sides of the garage were underground but the third, which faced on the north side of the house, had heavy doors. These opened to a drive way that branched off the main parkway drive which began and at the gate, circled through the Porte-cochere on the south side of the house and back to the gate. Mr. Mac and the boys found the blower in a corner of the garage, walled off in its own small room. Even in the gloomy light Jimmy noticed that it was just as big as the Floridian Theatre organ blower, and it was the same make, too. He shined the flashlight, which Teng-ting had found for them, over an inscribed metal plate. It said 'Spencer Orgoblo.' Mr. Mac found the overhead light and soon located what he thought was the problem in short order.
He said to the boys, “Incredible as it sounds, if I am right, and I think I am, the only thing Mr. Beauliat had to do was this.” Mr. Mac pointed to two wires that jutted out of the blower's switch box.
“You mean,” Harry cried incredulously, “that all he had to do was connect the power?”
“That's right,” laughed Mr. Mac, “but we won't know until I check the main boxes, which I believe I saw on the way down the stairs.” He crossed to the electrical boxes mounted on the wall by the kitchen door. “Yes!” he said, “Here's a box marked 'Organ Blower Room' and it has it's own switch, too.” which he placed in the off position.
Within minutes Mr. Mac had found a pair of pliers and a screwdriver and had connected the loose wires. He signaled Harry to throw the switch.
Harry was disappointed that nothing happened. “Why won't it work?”
“Well, the power is on but the organ switch isn't.” said Mr. Mac, “I think I can turn the blower on from down here, though, with this switch. Let's see.”
He indicated another switch and turned it on. When he did the blower made a click and a rumble as the sigh of air rapidly built to a controlled thundering. After a few minutes he turned it off.
“Sounds like the bearings are in good shape and they ought to be, this blower looks to be brand new. Let's go up stairs and see if we get any sound now!”
It was all the boys could do to not run up the stairs. They met Mr. Edwin in the first floor hallway.
“My goodness! You gents nearly scared me to death! I was standing by one of the reservoirs when you started the blower. It popped up and I nearly popped over!” Mr. Edwin was having a good laugh on himself.
To Mr. Mac he said, “I heard no wind leaks whatsoever in the chambers. Everything looks to be in order. I closed the door and shut off the light and came down here suspecting you would most likely be headed for the console next.”
Mr. Mac replied, “You were right and thank you for attending to the details for me. Shall we?” he indicated the Peacock doors to the ballroom.
The console was as they had left it, extended in front of the panel. Mr. Mac leaned over and, reaching under the key desk, snapped on the switch that turned the organ on. The only indication that the organ was on was the swishing sound of the swell shades as they opened behind the facade pipes. Mr. Mac reached over to the section of draw knobs marked” Great” and pulled one that read “Open Diapason 8' ”. He then put his fingers on the keys and played a simple “C” scale. Then adding stops he played the Old 100th; “All People That on Earth do Dwell”.
Mr. Edwin was astounded, “Why, that sounded quite in tune! How could this organ be so well tuned after all this time? And it sounds fairly regulated as well!”
“Apparently it has never before been played except for tuning. And as for regulation, time will tell! As I said, Mr. Beauliat was quite an organ builder.” Mr. Mac checked every stop as Jimmy spoke to Mr. Edwin.
“Mr. Edwin, wouldn't you like to play? I, for one would like to hear you play this organ!” Jimmy had been watching Mr. Edwin. He grown more and more excited as the events of the evening unfolded.
Finishing, Mr. Mac said, “Yes, Johnathan, why don't you play it? This instrument needs a good workout and I love the way you play Franck, especially the “Piece` Heroique.”
“Please, Mr. Edwin, won't you play it?” pleaded Harry.
Mr. Edwin simply said, “Certainly! I'd love to.” and he mounted the bench, registered the organ, and began to play.