organ156 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 156

June 2015

4 manuals
66 speaking stops

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Central Hall

Wm Hill & Son, 1912
Rushworth & Dreaper, 1970
Harrison & Harrison, 2011

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The venue for this year's London Organ Day, which was attended by several BOA members, was Westminster Central Hall, the London headquarters of the Methodist church, and also the largest conference venue in central London able to seat over 2000 delegates.  It occupies an impressive site facing Westminster Abbey, and houses an equally impressive organ.

The organ was originally built for the new Hall in 1912.  The latest reconstruction by Harrison & Harrison during 2010-11 was based on the Hill scheme, removing some of the Rushworth & Dreaper changes, and included complete renewal of the slider soundboards, action and wind system. 

It was thus an ideal choice for London Organ Day's theme of "Transcriptions & Edwardiana", and the day included recitals by resident organist Gerard Brooks, IAO President James Lancelot (playing music by Parry) and American organist Weston Jennings (playing three pieces by Lemare). 

Even in such a large hall, with wind pressures of 6in for the Great & Swell reeds and up to 16in for the Solo reeds, full organ certainly makes an impact - especially (I found) when seated in the gallery.  The action is electro-pneumatic with electric stop action.  Eight divisional and 256 general piston memories are provided, together with a sequencer operating on the generals.

You can listen to Martin Stacey playing this organ as June 15's Music of the Month

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