organ139 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 139

January 2014

4 manuals
61 speaking stops

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T C Lewis, 1897
Willis III, 1952
Harrison & Harrison, 1991

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Last year your Webmaster had the pleasure of hearing Southwark Cathedral's current Organ Scholar, Martyn Noble (left), give recitals in Leicester & Walsall, as well as on his home territory at Southwark, the latter providing the opportunity to feature this important example of the work of the local (Brixton) firm of Lewis & Co.

The organ remained unmolested for over fifty years until Henry Willis III made some signifcant changes, including raising the wind pressures.  A decision was made in the 1980s to restore the instrument to the Lewis specification, and this work was carried out by Harrisons of Durham.

Thomas Christopher Lewis was greatly influenced by Edmund Schulze, and his firm's use of low wind pressures aided the production of a characteristic bright, vibrant tone that was somewhat out-of-step with the trend at the end of the 19th century in England, which was to use higher pressures.

In addition to revoicing the pipework on Lewis's original wind pressures, mutation stops installed by Willis were discarded in the Harrison rebuild, and the specification (with the exception of the Pedal Viola 4ft extension) is now as Lewis left it.  The Willis console has been retained, but it was given solid state action and eight memory levels for the combination pistons.

You can listen to the cathedral organ as January 14's Music of the Month

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