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New Kuhn Organ in the Royal Academy of Music—Inaugural Concert


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I went to this free concert yesterday evening. There were speeches from the Principal (Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood) and Head of Organ (David Titterington) who was the driving force behind the installation and “Expert”* in the design of the new instrument.


The organ looks rather fine; certainly the modern case design doesn’t jar with the building.


We heard Bach, Bach arr. Dupré, de Grigny, Duruflé, two fascinating Études by Lionel Rogg and Vierne played by Susan Landale, Clive Driskell-Smith and 4 RAM organ students and the concert finished with a piece for Trumpet and Organ by Jolivet and Dupré’s Poème Hèroïque for Organ, Brass and Field Drum played by organ and other students.


The organ spoke clearly to where I was seated in the rear quarter of the hall. I don't know how close to full organ we got but it was never too loud; I suspect the octave couplers weren't used. Some of the solo sounds were gorgeous including the Tierce en taille, the Cromorne and the Flûte Harmonique. Lovely flute combinations; strong, rich chorus reeds; refined strings. The swell boxes are very effective. Some of the low pedal flues lacked clear pitch definition.


I was trying to imagine the organ playing with a full symphony orchestra but wouldn't like to prophesy as to which would win.


I may well have missed them but I do not remember hearing tremulants, the Hautbois or the Voix Humaine.


I would be very interested to hear the reaction of others to the instrument.


*He is so described on the Kuhn website which also has the specification. http://www.orgelbau.ch/site/index.cfm?id_art=4437&vsprache/EN&fuseaction=orgelbau.orgelportrait&laufnummer=114480&actMenuItemID=2605&id_site=52&vOrgelSelectAdd=Liste_Neu&vsprache=EN

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