organ182 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 182

August 2017

4 manuals
57 speaking stops

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St Mary's





Henry Willis, 1879
Harrison & Harrison
1931, 1959, 1977, 1994, 2009

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Edinburgh's episcopal cathedral contains an organ originally built in 1879 by Henry Willis to a specification drawn up by Sir Herbert Oakley, then Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University.  It was the first 'Father' Willis to contain a 16ft Contra Oboe stop.

Robert Hope-Jones provided a detached console in 1897 but, fortunately, made no tonal changes.  However, it was comprehensively rebuilt at the start of the 1930s by Harrisons in the manner of the time, ie revoiced reeds with harmonic trebles, increased wind pressures, enclosed Choir Organ and electropneumatic action.

Since then, the Durham firm have carried out further work at regular intervals, including in 1959 when mutations were added to the Choir division and the Great chorus reeds were enclosed in the Solo box.

Following OrganFest 2016's hectic Saturday, the final event of the weekend was Sunday Eucharist & Baptism here, when the cathedral choir was heard singing Mozart's Orgelsolomesse and the motet O quam gloriosum by Victoria, conducted by Master of the Music Duncan Ferguson.  The voluntary was Reger's Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor, after which Assistant Organist Donald Hunt demonstrated the instrument to us.

You can listen to an audio recording of the cathedral choir as August 17's Music of the Month.

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