ORGAN OF THE MONTH 19: January 2004

Chapel of Newman College of Higher Education
(Nicholson & Co, 1980)

Click on the thumbnail to obtain a full-size image


This extension organ, built for Newman College in Bartley Green, reminds us that Nicholson not only provide instruments for parish churches and cathedrals, but have also produced very effective work where space and resources are much more limited, as here in the college chapel.

The organ is placed high above the altar in a case that hangs off the East wall.  The first two photographs show how the low ceiling of the main part of the chapel rises to form a "glass canopy" over the altar, letting in more daylight and providing the necessary height for the pipe-work.  The back of the console, shown in close-up in the right-hand photo, can be seen on the extreme right of the first photograph.

The sound of the instrument varies significantly in different parts of the chapel, and it is not heard to best effect at the console.  With the inevitable compromises of an extension organ, the chorus work can sound a little shrill (the high-pitched Swell Mixture is very bright) while the Pedal Organ has to rely on the Bombarde for any real impact at 16ft pitch, but in the (for a modern building) helpful acoustic, the instrument is quite capable of leading the singing of a large congregation.


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Last modified: December 29, 2008