ORGAN OF THE MONTH 102: December 2010

St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford
(Henry Willis III, 1954 / Henry Willis IV, 1990)

Click on the thumbnail to obtain a full-size image


Your Webmaster had the pleasure of assisting Town Hall/Symphony Hall Organ Scholar James Luxton during a recital he gave last month in Oxford at the city centre parish church, which boasts a tower dating from about 1050 - probably the oldest surviving building in Oxford.

The organ is considerably younger, and was installed after the previous "Father" Willis instrument (and much of the church) was tragically destroyed by the actions of an arsonist.  It began as a two-manual instrument in 1954, which was subsequently overhauled and enlarged in 1989-90 with the addition of an unenclosed Postif division (see left photo), flanked by the horizontal pipes of a new Trompette.

Beginning with Bach's Passacaglia & Fugue, James subsequently put the organ through its paces with music by Sixten, Wesley, Vierne and Rawsthorne: the latter's Dance Suite ending the recital in suitably flamboyant style - not to stay deafening if you were (as I was) standing beside the console directly in front of the en chamade pipework!


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Last modified: December 27, 2010