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organ 119

May 2012

2 manuals
13 speaking stops

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Swiss Church
Covent Garden


Späth, 2010

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Organ of the Month archive
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Organist & Director of Music at the Swiss Church is the IAO's Communications Director, Peter Yardley-Jones, who relocated to London after graduating from Glasgow University and now works in the media industry.

Examples of the work of Späth Orgelbouw of Rüti, Switzerland, are rare in the UK, but they recently installed an organ here. Last month, your Webmaster was privileged to hear PY-J giving a recital on this brand new mechanical-action instrument, which has striking casework by Christ & Gantenbein of Basel. The organ replaces a very different instrument, built in the 1930s by A Hunter & Son of Battersea (a firm taken over by Henry Willis in 1937) and typical of small English instruments of its time.

Although the Swiss builders list it as being in their "modern" rather than "classical" style, the voicing is bold and decidedly Baroque, with flutes that chiff cheerfully and brilliant upperwork.

The layout of the organ is rather unconventional, with Manual II's soundboard split on either side of the console and enclosed with shutters reaching to floor level that open & close immediately to the player's left and right. The whole instrument, including the console, is situated high on a balcony above the main entrance to the church that is partly shielded from ground-floor view by large reflecting glass panels. In the church's generous acoustic, the modest number (676) of pipes makes a spectacular impact.

You can listen to Bach's Fantasie in G BWV572 played on a (rather larger!) Späth organ as May 12's Music of the Month

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