ORGAN OF THE MONTH 41: November 2005

St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham
(Walker, 1994)

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After various experiments with the placement of the choir, and with the console of the previous instrument having been in the South aisle, the present organ was constructed on a West End gallery shared with the choir - the arrangement intended by the cathedral's architect, Pugin.

At its opening in 1994, this J W Walker instrument was the only large mechanical action organ in the West Midlands.  While seemingly modest in specification for a cathedral organ, its impact in the generous acoustic of St Chad's is spectacular, never more so than during the lecture-recital on the music of Messiaen given by Colin Walsh (see photo on the right).  The association is grateful to David Saint, Organist & Director of Music at St Chad's, for facilitating this important event in BOA's calendar.

The disposition of the organ is very traditional:  the Great occupies the centre of the main case with the Swell above the Pedal department divided in towers on either side; the Positive is on the front of the gallery, behind the player’s back.  This classical layout and the clear choruses on all four divisions make it suitable for music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whilst versatility is ensured by a variety of colourful stops, including those required by the baroque French tradition and by the grand nineteenth century Cavaillé-Coll school. 


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Last modified: December 29, 2008