Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Willis Organ, St Monica's Trust, Bristol


nfortin
 Share

Recommended Posts

I attended a concert given by the RSCM Millenium Youth Choir in the chapel in what is now partly a care home run my the St Monica's Trust next to Badminton School on the Clifton Downs yesterday evening. The chapel is quite an impressive space and houses 3-manual Willis organ in what looks like original condition. The organ sounded wonderful, with really lovely soft stops and a beautiful corno on the choir. A tuning visit wouldn't have gone amis though.

 

Does anyone know much about this instrument - I couldn't find it on NPOR. Is anyone aware as to whether it is likely to be maintained in good condition or is it "at risk"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I attended a concert given by the RSCM Millenium Youth Choir in the chapel in what is now partly a care home run my the St Monica's Trust next to Badminton School on the Clifton Downs yesterday evening. The chapel is quite an impressive space and houses 3-manual Willis organ in what looks like original condition. The organ sounded wonderful, with really lovely soft stops and a beautiful corno on the choir. A tuning visit wouldn't have gone amis though.

 

Does anyone know much about this instrument - I couldn't find it on NPOR. Is anyone aware as to whether it is likely to be maintained in good condition or is it "at risk"?

 

Here you are.

 

AJJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a little more here:

 

http://www.bdoa.org.uk/

 

under organs in and around Bristol - though it may be out of date as I'm sure a Great Trumpet has been recently added. I don't know who wrote the 'history' but how a Swell Hautboy can be considered superfluous on a Willis organ and how on earth anyone could possibly want a 22nd instead of it makes the mind boggle!

 

Paul Walton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a little more here:

 

http://www.bdoa.org.uk/

 

under organs in and around Bristol - though it may be out of date as I'm sure a Great Trumpet has been recently added. I don't know who wrote the 'history' but how a Swell Hautboy can be considered superfluous on a Willis organ and how on earth anyone could possibly want a 22nd instead of it makes the mind boggle!

 

Paul Walton

 

This is pure guesswork/brain wracking, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Edward Fry (late of All Saints' Clifton) was the organist when work was done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a little more here:

 

http://www.bdoa.org.uk/

 

Paul Walton

 

What an interesting website (Bristol Org Assoc)...especially the page with links to organs in the area....Having a quick look through those, I was impressed to see just how many of these instruments have modern and very comfortable consoles. The ratio there seems much higher than the norm...

Also a fine looking 4-manual manual in the United reformed church that I have never heard of before. Is it good??

Best wishes

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the additional information. Sadly it seems that the instrument is in nothing like as original a condition as it looks. It sounds remarkably fine considering Percy Daniel's have have their hands on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the additional information. Sadly it seems that the instrument is in nothing like as original a condition as it looks. It sounds remarkably fine considering Percy Daniel's have have their hands on it.

Well it was somewhat emasculated by Mr Fry and Daniels. Walkers have put it back in fine fettle. It's a beautiful instrument to play. I'm sure Pierre would love the new Willis-style tierce Mixture!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone know much about this instrument - I couldn't find it on NPOR. Is anyone aware as to whether it is likely to be maintained in good condition or is it "at risk"?

 

Hi

 

It's listed under Badminton as a "site with no survey" - perhaps someone could send in the relevant info to the NPOR office.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

It's listed under Badminton as a "site with no survey" - perhaps someone could send in the relevant info to the NPOR office.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

This is it Tony.

 

N08321

 

A

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dare I suggest that this does raise questions as to how NPOR is indexed.

 

The official location of this instrument is in St. Augustine's Chapel, St. Monica's Home. I tried various searches including:-

  • bristol willis
  • bristol monica
  • bristol augustine
  • bristol chapel

none of which find this organ.

 

A search on

  • bristol home

will list it, but this incorrectly shows its location as Badminton. Although the adjacent private school is called 'Badminton School' Badminton is a small village some miles away, nothing whatsoever to do with this organ.

 

(Incidentally, the Walker organ in the church at Badminton, attached to Badminton House of horse trials fame, is a wonderful instrument of its type. I conducted a choral society concert there last year and it was well able to support "I was glad" and the like.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This organ is actually at Westbury on Trym, not Bristol. Westbury will find it on the NPOR site. It just lacks a Swell Contra Fagotto. (Sorry shouldn't have said this!) R.

That's rather like saying an organ is in Chelsea, not London. If you look at the addresses for the St. Monica's Trust you'll find that they're all in Bristol and all have Bristol postcodes. I don't think that its unreasonable to expect this organ to be found on a search under "Bristol".

 

I notice, for example, that a search for "cathedral bristol" includes Clifton Cathedral in its results. By your logic it shouldn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just lacks a Swell Contra Fagotto. (Sorry shouldn't have said this!) R.

Well there's not much point discussing an organ of this type for what it isnt. You could clearly argue that to have both Dulciana 8 and Gamba 8 on a 6 stop choir is unnecessary duplication, but you have to hear the organ in the building to understand the beauty and range of the individual voices. The corno on the choir is amongst the finest examples of a corno or clarinet that I have ever heard.

 

Daniel Moult played a little adagio (or the like, sorry it was a piece I didn't know) by Lefebre-Wely on Saturday and you would have sworn you were in Paris. (The Bach G-major was less successful, the instrument is unable to project sufficient clarity and brightness from its somewhat hidden location to bring this off.)

 

I notice that none of the Bristol community have been able to answer my question as to the future well being of this instrument. As I mentioned before, it was clearly in need of tuning, although, perhaps in keeping with the fact that its in a care home, it has to be said that the temperature in the chapel was several degrees above comfortable. It may be hard to justify an alzheimer's charity spending publicly raised funds on maintaining a pipe organ, so does it have a future?

 

To me it seems similar in some ways to Tenbury. Here we have a wonderful Willis organ, that has, at least to a large extent, survived the cruel "make everything neo-baroque" era, and yet now finds itself something of a red herring. Where does it go from here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a little more here:

 

http://www.bdoa.org.uk/

 

under organs in and around Bristol - though it may be out of date as I'm sure a Great Trumpet has been recently added. I don't know who wrote the 'history' but how a Swell Hautboy can be considered superfluous on a Willis organ and how on earth anyone could possibly want a 22nd instead of it makes the mind boggle!

 

Paul Walton

 

There seem to be some discrepancies between the NPOR entry and the BDOA details, most notably the issue of the Hautboy, which is claimed to have been installed by Daniels, and the Twentysecond, which again is claimed to have replaced a Vox Humana (what a shame!) It is also claimed that Daniels added the Clarion, one wonders what was there before. The other implication is that the Great reed is a Posaune 16 not 8, which of course would explain the existence of the now removed Trumpet, again one wonders if this has been remodelled to 8'

 

Food for thought, and a fascinating instrument.

 

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is it Tony.

 

N08321

 

A

 

Hi

 

NPOR place indexing is something of a problem - and one to which we have yet to find a solution. Where a building gets entered depends on the information that we are given. For more recent entries (during the last year or two) we do try and verify addresses from the web - but that's sometimes not possible - and sometimes comes up with conflicting information. The basis is the OS gazateer of place names - but things get difficult in cities deciding what can be regarded as a suburb and what should be regarded as a seperate place.

 

I'll pass this one on to the guy who specialises in sorting out address problems - but it might be quite a while before he gets to it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...