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Some Rochdale Organs...

Richard Washington

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You might have noticed that it was the National Heritage weekend this week. I took the opportunity to go on something of an organ-seeing tour. And it was well worth it, as I got to play two rather exciting instruments. First was a Father Willis instrument in a church in Rochdale. This instrument was formally installed in Park Hall, Cardiff. A technical problem with the console rather spoilt the experience, preventing the pedal and swell divisions from being properly used. I think this could be bypassed to a certain extent by way of the crescendo pedal, though. There was no shortage of sound from this organ in what was a fairly average-sized church. And as for the trumpet - wow, what a sound!


Then, I had a go on the instrument in Rochdale Town Hall. This four-manual 55-stop Binns instrument was a delight to play. This, not least because everything seemed to work faultlessly (a new experience for me), but also because the Great Hall has wonderful acoustics for the organ. It is most satisfying to lift ones fingers following a large chord and listen to the sound ring around the venue. No carpets or curtains in sight!


Most thrilling, for me, was to have a 32' Double Open Diapason at my disposal. I recall previous discussions on the old board where it was suggested that 32' flues are not all that effective. Well to my mind, this stop made all the difference to the pedal division, making as it did the console shake nicely, along with the rest of the Town Hall. I was most impressed with the tuba as well. Full organ was exhilarating to say the least. Equally enjoyable were the quieter stops, such as the softer reeds and the strings. It is a shame there wasn't a 'Lieblich' Double Open Diapason on the pedal to complement them.


And furthermore, the stool was height adjustable. :blink:

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