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New CD of the 1723 Jordan organ at St George's Southall


Guest Geoff McMahon
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Guest Geoff McMahon

Tomorrow sees the launch of a new CD made by William Whitehead on the 1723 Abraham Jordan organ at St George's Southall which we restored a couple of years ago. It is on the Regent label, number REGCD366.

 

This organ was restored very authentically. It has regained its original key compasses and it has no pedals. Hand blowing has been provided.

 

More information about the organ can be found on this web site under "Portfolio".

 

It is an interesting and well made CD.

 

John

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I was particularly interested because, as I told John Mander afterwards, I sometimes play services on an organ by Abraham Jordan which is eleven years older (1712) and which, having been heavily "restored" several ltimes over the last 300 years now sounds very different from the one in Southall. Interestingly, research today has revealed to me that originally the two organs were in churches a few hundred yards from each other - one in Botolph Lane and the other in Lower Thames Street.

 

Malcolm

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was particularly interested because, as I told John Mander afterwards, I sometimes play services on an organ by Abraham Jordan which is eleven years older (1712) and which, having been heavily "restored" several ltimes over the last 300 years now sounds very different from the one in Southall. Interestingly, research today has revealed to me that originally the two organs were in churches a few hundred yards from each other - one in Botolph Lane and the other in Lower Thames Street.

 

Malcolm

 

 

Does this mean that the last remedial work (undertaken by a now-defunct firm) did not address certain issues - perhaps for financial reasons?

 

Out of interest, what does this instrument sound like? On paper, it appears to be a fairly comprehensive three-clavier organ, in a vaguely Romantic style - is this a reasonable assessment. I would be interested to learn more of its present condition. Could you send me a PM, please?

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I assume this is St. Magnus the Martyr in the City of London. The last big rebuild was by Rutt, but it's not at all Ruttish so I assume he didn't do much tonally (earlier specs confirm this). The impression is of a big but gentle sound, appropriate to the church which is not that large. None of it, to my ears, sounds 18th century, but it doesn't sound like Walker or Willis either. Neither is it like an old Hill. I think it's a one-off with a character of its own. It's certainly a very fine old beast - very musical, nothing overdone.

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I assume this is St. Magnus the Martyr in the City of London. The last big rebuild was by Rutt, but it's not at all Ruttish so I assume he didn't do much tonally (earlier specs confirm this). The impression is of a big but gentle sound, appropriate to the church which is not that large. None of it, to my ears, sounds 18th century, but it doesn't sound like Walker or Willis either. Neither is it like an old Hill. I think it's a one-off with a character of its own. It's certainly a very fine old beast - very musical, nothing overdone.

 

Thank you for this, David.

 

However, there has been more recent work - undertaken by HN&B - which, as far as I can tell from the available literature, amounted to at least a major restoration - if not a rebuild.

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There was a fire in the church which didn't directly affect the organ but caused a lot of mess (smoke and water, I suppose). HN&B restored it unchanged. It must have been one of their last jobs before they ceased trading.

 

C.W. Pearce's book 'Old London City Churches, their Organs, Organists and Musical Associations' (my copy is dated 1909) says that Jordan's organ was worked upon by Parsons (1825), Gray & Davison (1850-1) and Hill, 'entirely rebuilt' in 1879 by Brindley & Foster and slightly altered and enlarged (eg 32' Sub Bass) by Hill in 1891. The specification in 1906 is given and is very similar to the present one. It seems reasonable to deduce that Rutt added a new console and pneumatic action but left the tonal scheme largely intact, although he added a 16' Contra Geigen and a third open (not, it seems at the big end) to the Great. It is therefore quite untypical of Rutt's work, although 1924 is early and later characteristics (once described as 'ripe') may not have developed.

 

Incidentally, James Boeringer, in 'Organa Britannica' Volume 2, states, on the basis of Sperling's drawing, that the case was much altered in the nineteenth century. I think that in this, as in a number of other examples, he attributed too much accuracy to a drawing which may have been worked up later from an earlier sketch.

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I have just sent pcnd5584 a PM via another forum trying to answer some of his questions and explaining why I don't wish to reply in public at present. Malcolm

 

Thank you, Malcolm.

 

I shall reply later - naturally fb is blocked in school.

 

Thanks also to David for his information - most interesting. The more I learn of this organ, the more interested I am in it. This instrument does seem to be a little different from the average three-clavier organ of similar vintage.

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