organ203 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 203

May 2019

1 manual
8 speaking stops

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Burghley House



Robert & William Gray, 1790

Dominic Gwynn & Edward Bnennett, 1985


Burghley House

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A short coach trip from Peterborough brought members of the IAO 2018 Festival to Burghley House, one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age.  One of its many treasures, found in the chapel, is this chamber organ built inside a case of mahogany styled more like a harpischord than an organ (see central photo) with pipes below the keyboard.

The organ was created by Robert and William Gray of London for the 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793), who was an active patron of the Handel memorial concerts and taught himself music late in life.
As may be seen from the photo on the right, the stop controls are arranged vertically to the left and below the keyboard. The Hautboy is in a swell box with a sliding front, controlled by a pedal on the right.  Tuning is a modifed meantone and the wind pressure is 2.5 inches wg (64mm)

On the occasion of our visit, the organ was played by Fergus Black, organist of All Saints, Stamford.  His recital included works by British composers of the 18th century, including John Keeble, Thomas Roseingrave and John Stanley, as well as music by Handel.

You can hear a John Stanley voluntary played on a rather larger, but contemporary historic, organ as May 2019's Music of the Month.

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