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St Mary’s is honoured to have a large and quite superb ‘Father’ Willis pipe organ of three manuals and pedals, built in 1889 by “Father” Henry Willis – one of the greatest of English organ-builders in the Nineteenth Century – to a specification [see below] and quality closely similar to the renowned organ ofTruro Cathedral (built two years earlier by the same distinguished Company). It was taken from the church of St Augustine, Highbury, London and installed here in 1975 after the fire of 1973, in which our original ‘Father’ Willis instrument was destroyed. The instrument is comparatively little-known, despite its prestigious origins.
Hear Vierne’s Carillon De Westminster being played by Simon Gregory on the Father Willis (from a CD by Emanuel School, used with permission; CDs are available to buy in church):
Concerts and recitals are a feature of Parish life; a regular series being arranged throughout the year. Organ recitals have included performances by Andrew Cantrill (St Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington, New Zealand), Andrew Daldorph (Guildford Cathedral), David Davies (Guildford Cathedral) and Peter Wright (Southwark Cathedral).
The present Organ Curator was taken to St Mary’s by the treasurer and was appalled at the condition of our fine instrument at that time: notes not working, air leak,s and many other things. In consultation with the Director of Music it was decided to raise money to bring the instrument back to the high standard it deserves.
The yearly run of Organ Recitals aaas increased from 2 to 8. We explore every avenue to raise money, and while this has been very successful, it is getting more difficult.
In 2008 we raised £4699; in 2009, £9713; in 2010, £8559; in 2011, £11229; in 2012, £6023, and at the time of writing (September 2013) in 2013, £3400. This represents a grand total of £41623.
Much of this money has been spend on major repairs. We have renewed the diode switching system (£6.000) with a life expectancy of 60 years. We have repaired the swell keyboard which was failing (£15.000), with life expectancy 80 years. We have replaced the presets, increasing from 9 to 500, which makes the organ much more flexible for complex recitals and services (£3.000). We have also replaced the valve leathers (£3.000) and performed various minor repairs (£5.000).
This leaves £9.000 in the fund, but further major work is urgently needed, with the risk of the bellows failing if repairs are not made. So we continue to fundraise! All contributions to the fund are gratefully received. Please get in touch to find out more. We hope to provide the facility to donate direct to the fund on this web page in the near future.
|Great Organ||Swell Organ (enclosed)||Pedal Organ|
|Double Open Diapason||16||Lieblich Bourdon||16||Open Diapason||16|
|Open Diapason 1||8||Open Diapason||8||Violone||16|
|Open Diapason 11||8||Lieblich Gedact||8||Bourdon||16|
|Principal||4||Vox Angelica||8||Bass Flute||8|
|Fifteenth||2||Mixture 17.19.22||3rks||Choir Organ|
|Mixture 17.19.22||3rks||Contra Hautboy||16||Dulciana||8|
|Double Trumpet||16||Hautboy||8||Lieblich Gedact||8|
|Posaune||8||Vox Humana||8||Claribel Flute||8|
|Corno di Bassetto||8|
Couplers: Great Reeds on Choir – Great & Pedal Pistons – Swell to Great – Swell Sub-octave – Swell to Choir – Swell to Pedals – Swell Octave – Choir to Great – Choir to Pedals – Great to Pedals – Great Reeds on Pedal – Generals on Toe Pistons
The general and divisional pistons have been upgraded by Solid State Organ Systems in November 2008 from 8 to 512 channels enabling the resident organists and visiting recitalists greater flexibility in preparing registrations.