organ204 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 204

June 2019

4 manuals

89 speaking stops

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Hill & Son, 1894

Hill, Norman & Beard, 1930

Harrison, 1981, 2005, 2016

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The present cathedral organ can be traced back to 1894 when William Hill built a new organ but incorporating some pipework from previous instruments, including those built by Thomas Thamer (1661) and Kellingburgh (1735).

The main organ is situated in the north triforium, behind a case designed by Dr Arthur Hill.  The console was originally placed in a gallery north of the choir stalls but during the 1930 rebuild was moved to a gallery on the south side following the introduction of electro-pneumatic action.
Like other Hill organs of the period, it was originally tuned considerably sharper than modern concert pitch, which naturally caused a problem when concerts were held in the cathedral involving the organ and other instruments.  During 2015/6, Harrisons carried out the painstaking task of lower the pitch of all 5286 pipes.  While some of the shorter pipes could be re-tuned in situ using the usual tuning slides, many of the longer pipes had to be removed to the workshop and individually extended by eg soldering on a small extra piece of metal.

You can listen to a recording of Adrian Partington playing this organ (before its re-pitching) as June 2019's Music of the Month.

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