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National Museum And Gallery Of Wales, Cardiff


Peter Clark
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I had the great plesure of playing this instrument yesterday for the first time. I actually helped with the tuning and a bit of remedial work since it has not been used for two years while the gallery in which it is housed was being renovated. I then got to play it for about half an hour. And what a delightful organ it is. Lovely soft flutes, a three rank mixture on the great which is bigger than you might think given the size if the instrument, and fairly weighty principals and diapasons. Incidentally the swell super octave wasn't working and could not be fixed as they had hung a painting on the back door so we could't get to that part of the organ!

 

What do others think of it, if you've played or heard it?

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D03246

 

 

Peter

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Guest Cynic
I had the great plesure of playing this instrument yesterday for the first time. I actually helped with the tuning and a bit of remedial work since it has not been used for two years while the gallery in which it is housed was being renovated. I then got to play it for about half an hour. And what a delightful organ it is. Lovely soft flutes, a three rank mixture on the great which is bigger than you might think given the size if the instrument, and fairly weighty principals and diapasons. Incidentally the swell super octave wasn't working and could not be fixed as they had hung a painting on the back door so we could't get to that part of the organ!

 

What do others think of it, if you've played or heard it?

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D03246

Peter

 

I do know it and rate it very highly indeed! I have given three lunchtime recitals on it over the years - Robert Court of St.Augustine's Penarth ran the series then. He would certainly know who does now if he has handed this duty on.

 

About half the instrument is by Snetzler, the other half is Gray and Davison, all spruced up to a high standard by Goetze and Gwynn maybe a dozen years ago. I seem to remember that it is a bit cramped to play - but then I am a bloated shape! While the tone is uniformly excellent, the case is even finer - it's quite superb - by Thomas Adam I think. It bids fair to be the most handsome small organ case anywhere in the UK. There are elaborate doors which completely enclose the console, all part of the Adam design.

 

Oh it's an utter gem!

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I do know it and rate it very highly indeed! I have given three lunchtime recitals on it over the years - Robert Court of St.Augustine's Penarth ran the series then. He would certainly know who does now if he has handed this duty on.

 

About half the instrument is by Snetzler, the other half is Gray and Davison, all spruced up to a high standard by Goetze and Gwynn maybe a dozen years ago. I seem to remember that it is a bit cramped to play - but then I am a bloated shape! While the tone is uniformly excellent, the case is even finer - it's quite superb - by Thomas Adam I think. It bids fair to be the most handsome small organ case anywhere in the UK. There are elaborate doors which completely enclose the console, all part of the Adam design.

 

Oh it's an utter gem!

 

Yes, Robert is still runnning the recital series and at the official re-opening of the gallery next week (if all the work gets finished in time) he will be playing.

 

Peter

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I had the pleasure of turning for a midday recital a few years back and thought this a splendid instrument in every way. I seem to remember that the museum staff expected the tuner and /or organist to wear gloves as they were handling an historic artefact! My recollection is that the recitalist certainly didn't wear gloves and that the curator would have got a suitably robust

reply had he insisted.

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It is a fabulous instrument which I had the good fortune to play in its' second home at Wynnstay Hall where I believe it was installed sometime around the 1870's and the G & D work was carried out. Unlike the rather dry atmosphere at the National Gallery of Wales, the hall in which it was located in Ruabon was cube-shaped complete with poloshed wooden floor and a panelled oak ceiling modelled on the Market Hall in Ghent. When the hall was empty of people, the instrument filled the hall with a quite beautiful sound. The trade-off of course was that it was located in a hard-up independent school where its' condition was fairly parlous and the casework very tatty and abused. When the school finally went mammaries-vertical and Wynnstay entered a period of limbo, there was a serious concern that the instrument might fall prey to petty vandalism or worse. Seeing it so resplendently restored in Cardiff gave me a great sense of joy that others too might hear and play it.

 

The original home of the insrument was in St James' Square in Belgravia, which was designed by the Adam brothers along with many other furnishings for Sir Watkin Williams Wynn Bt (another splendid Adam case in London may be seen at Home House, Portman Square where, alas, devoid of its innards it now serves as a particularly handsome drinks cabinet!). A sister instrument also reputed to contain Snetzler pipework and that was built and cased by G & D was in the parish church of St Mary in Ruabon. Unfortunatley this was wantonly discarded in 1970 for a particulalry ghastly Compton electronic which in turn was replaced c 1987 by a second-hand Binns from a redundant church in Wrexham.

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