David Drinkell Posted June 26, 2013 Share Posted June 26, 2013 My old friend and sometime colleague Robert Coates has sent me a copy of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in A by John Ireland, which he has edited for Cantando Musikkforlag. It's a pleasant setting and I shall order a set for St. John's Cathedral. I was struck, though, by the low tessitura. It was composed in 1905, a year after Ireland became Organist of St. Luke's, Chelsea. In those days, the organ was a three manual, large for its date, built by Nicholls in 1825 for somewhere else and bought in and installed by William Gray. It was subsequently rebuilt and altered on several occasions by Henry Jones, but retained much of its character until it was replaced in 1932 by the famous Compton instrument. It was said that the the tracker action made a glorious bonfire and the organist at the time (was it Guy Eldridge?) had the unique experience of transferring from an antiquated 19th century console and action to a Compton luminous job. Shortly afterwards, in 1907, Ireland persuaded the church to get a clever little two-manual Harrison to accompany the choir, the big organ being in the west gallery. I wonder - was the old organ tuned to a high pitch? A lot of Victorian organs were. I shall probably transpose Ireland in A up into B flat when I take it into use. Just an idle musing about music and pitch.... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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