ORGAN OF THE MONTH 56: February 2007

Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick
(Nicholson, 1980, 1998)

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The third and last of the Warwick organs visited by BOA members last Autumn is the substantial instrument (really two instruments) in St Mary's Warwick.  This organ has a particular connection with BOA inasmuch as immediate past President, Andrew Fletcher, was Director of Music there during the last major rebuild (by Nicholson & Co of Malvern), and was largely responsible for its current specification.

The present instrument has its origins in the organ constructed by Robert Hope-Jones in 1896, after which major work was also carried out by Compton (1928) and Alfred E Davies of Northampton (1966).  The organ also contains a Voix Humaine by Cavaillé-Coll.  However much of the prsent organ, including the whole of the West End section, dates from 1980 and includes an en chamade Trompeta Real.

Compared to the pre-1980 organ, which occupied no less than four different locations around the church, the Nicholson re-build confined itself to just two divisions: the North Transept (see left photo) and West End (right photo).  A single console (situated in the North Aisle - centre photo) controls both divisions, which are about 30 metres apart. The organs, conceived as being for separate use, can thus also be used antiphonally or even together - when the effect is very much that you are totally surrounded by organ sound!

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Last modified: December 29, 2008