The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Category Organs

The English Organ School opens its doors on Monday

The English Organ School is having an Open Afternoon on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May – a chance to see the organs and other keyboard instruments housed in the former Congregational Chapel and Schoolroom, and hear Margaret Phillips play music from her new CD, recorded to celebrate the 21st year of the English Organ School. (Twelve of of the instruments are featured on the CD.) The English Organ School &

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Every home should have one

I have too many keyboard instruments in my home already, so naturally, last year I acquired another one.  The pecuniary outcome of quite a few months’ overtime at the day job* was handed over to David Mason of Viscount Organs, and in return, a 2-manual, 31-stop, 30-note radiating concave pedalboard practice organ arrived at my London terraced home a few weeks later.  And I can’t remember feeling so chuffed since

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Taking the organ out for a drink

Can’t decide whether this is weird, or actually quite brilliant, but I certainly can’t fault Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky if they are going to commission the building of a proper pipe organ from one of the UK’s oldest organ builders, Mander Organs, for a promotional bash. Project organisers Bompas & Parr combined the 5-rank mobile organ – dubbed The Flavour Conductor – with an ‘immersive and theatrical experience’, using

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Widor – Master of the Organ Symphony

I totally blame Gerard Brooks and Fugue State Films for the fact that I nearly missed a writing deadline last week.  I’d been sent a copy of Fugue State’s most recent box set of CDs and DVDs, on Widor and his music.  Fugue State always get high praise for their production values, and the recording quality on the opening CD, with Gerard playing Widor’s Symphonie No 6 on the organ

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Betty’s back! – restoring the St John’s, Hyde Park organ

This coming Saturday, 21 November, I’m looking forward to hearing Betty’s opening recital – Betty being the venerable 1865 Hill organ at St John’s Hyde Park in London, which has just undergone a major restoration by Nicholson’s, in this her 150th year, with National Lottery Funding.   It has all been documented in a great blog SAVE BETTY savebetty.wordpress.com – well worth a visit for the pictures and stories of the

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Meet Bruhns in Brum – RCO Organ Forum 2015

What do you know about Nicolaus Bruhns?  No, me neither, which is why I hope to meet you at the RCO Organ Forum in Birmingham on Saturday 19 September.  It’s a celebration of Bruhns’ music in the 350th anniversary of his birth – covering the development of the stylus fantasticus and the influence of Bruhns and North Germany on the young Bach. Henry Fairs and colleagues are looking forward to

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John Scott Whiteley and D’Arcy Trinkwon record at Selby Abbey

The Hill organ at Selby Abbey in Yorkshire is currently under restoration by Principal Pipe Organs of York.  Viscount Organs were proud to have been chosen to provide a temporary instrument for two years or so, and saw the opportunity to make some recordings, both to show off the Regent 356 instrument in a cathedral acoustic, and also to raise money for the Hill restoration.  John Scott Whiteley, Organist Emeritus

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Picture of the month – January

Anne Page and Paul Binski play the Hallelujah Chorus arranged for two players by John Marsh (1783) at the re-dedication of the 1812 Thaxted Lincoln organ in September last year.   The restoration (by Goetze & Gwynn) kept hand-blowing as an option, as you can see, though an electric blower is provided.   Generations of bored locals who had been roped in to pump the organ during its long history (it came

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Carol Williams celebrates the Spreckels Organ 100th Anniversary

  December 31st this year will mark the 100th Anniversary of the outdoor organ in San Diego where Carol Williams is Civic Organist.  A festive programme has been planned, including a composition by Carol to show off the newly-installed Centennial Tuba stop.  The programme will be streamed live on the internet – visit the Spreckels Organ website for more information. The Centennial Tuba isn’t the only new rank to be

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Picture of the month – November

Purists might shudder at the new vogue for including LED fairylights in organ rebuilds, but I think they are very much in the tradition of the confident Victorian organ builder, determined to uphold civic pride by including every gizmo going.  LEDs are quite clever and discreet – I don’t think you could accuse them of making a fine instrument look like a downmarket fairground attraction, though you may disagree. (They

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Picture of the month – October

This month’s pin-up is the wonderfully frilly Hildebrandt Organ at St Wenzel, Naumburg, Germany.   Many thanks to Andrew Benson-Wilson for sending me this picture, after he played the organ on a trip earlier this year. Andrew told me “Bach and Silbermann approved the organ, running up an enormous bill for food, alcohol and tobacco during their five-day stay in Naumburg.  The stops knobs are original, along with their central paper

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Living the dream – a Father Willis in the garden shed

Here’s a woman after my own heart – retired music teacher Alison Malcolm has installed an 1881 Father Willis (bought for £500 in 1995) in a custom built garden shed, at her home near Salisbury, England.   Planning permission was granted as long as she didn’t play before 8am and after 11pm.  More details and some pictures of the beaming Alison (well I would be beaming too) from the Daily

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Picture of the month – September

I am building up a big picture library,  and I thought some of them should get an airing, rather than lurk unseen on my hard drive.   So this month’s calendar girl is the gorgeous Mander organ at St Andrew, Holborn, London  EC4.  See  National Pipe Organ Register entry for details.  

RCO Summer Course – organ mirrors of the world

I try to control the trainspotter* tendencies in my personality, but I do like taking pictures of organ mirrors (wait for my fully-illustrated coffee table book Organ Mirrors of the World, Part 1 – it’s going to be a wow)  because they are often a makeshift and inappropriate afterthought to the case design.   However this one is pure genius.  The Chancel Organ at St Giles Cripplegate is awkwardly placed (so what’s

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