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Archive of 1870 Cavaille-Coll Organ on Facebook

Christine Jose Rigby

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For those of you who would like to know more about the 1870 Cavaille-Coll Organ in the Parr Hall, Warrington, England - there is a group on Facebook 'Warrington Cavaille-Coll Organ'. https://www.facebook.com/groups/660405240701596/

I have shared a great deal of information from my archive on this fine instrument.
This has reached many amateur and professional organists, and enthusiasts.

I have been successful in linking this group and information to the Facebook group 'Aristide Cavaillé-Coll e i suoi Organi'.
This has been well received by enthusiasts of all nationalities.
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  • 2 weeks later...

We need to make as many people aware that the Warrington Cavaille-Coll Organ is vitually unaltered - except for the removal of the Barker Lever movement.

We are incredibly lucky in so many ways. We have, almost on our doorstep, three significant people - Roger Fisher, Emeritus Organist - Chester Cathedral, Professor Ian Tracey Organist Titulaire - Liverpool Cathedral, and David Wells - Organ Builder. That can only be good !!!

Over 40 years ago, Douglas Carrington, a former Editor of 'The Organ', said 'It is maintained by David Wells of Liverpool, whose enthusiasm and skills make the historic musical instrument a joy to hear and to play.' He also said 'The importance to the nation of this organ cannot be overstated.' This is what we MUST convey to others !

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The 1870 Cavaille-Coll Organ in the Parr Hall, Warrington, Cheshire, England.

The great hall of Aristide Cavaille-Coll at avenue du Maine, Paris lent itself to displaying Cavaille-Coll's biggest instruments, like the one built for Mr John Turner Hopwood of London, a rich music publisher, which was installed at his home Bracewell Hall near Skipton in Yorkshire.

It was a three-manual of 41 stops, with two enclosed divisions.

Saint-Saens and Widor shared the first two performances on this instrument in March, 1870.

A third programme was given soon after by Alexandre Guilmant.

Following its installation in England, the organ was inaugurated by William Spark, on November 7th 1870.

It was to be in Bracewell Hall for about five years, and in 1875, J T Hopwood had it moved to his newly built home, Ketton Hall, Near Stamford, Rutland.

In 1873, Cavaille-Coll completed a large organ for Albert Hall, Sheffield, England. For French people - to see such masterpieces of workmanship installed elsewhere than in a church, it was necessary to travel to England at that time.

As a result of Sheffield having a concert organ, there was considerable interest in having one built in France.

In 1875, a large Cavaille-Coll organ was purchased for the Amsterdam Palace of Industry.

In 1877, a three-manual Cavaille-Coll Organ was installed in Manchester Town Hall.


In 1878, a four-manual Cavaille-Coll Organ was installed in the Palais du Trocadero in Paris.

Of these these five organs, the 1870 was moved twice, its third home was the Parr Hall in Warrington, England, having been bought by the Warrington Corporation in 1925 and installed the following year.

The Sheffield Albert Hall organ was lost in a fire in 1937.

The Amsterdam organ was bought by two wealthy art lovers in 1916, and in 1924 it was moved to the Haarlem music hall - the Philharmonie.

From 2004 to 2006, Flentrop Orgelbouw restored the instrument to its original state.

The Manchester Town Hall Organ has been modernised and enlarged, and in 1970, the original console was replaced. This organ is now said to be unplayable.

The Trocadero organ has been moved and rebuilt several times and is now in Auditorium Maurice Ravel, Lyons. Little of Cavaille-Coll remains.

In spite of its lack of maintenance and regular tuning, Warrington's Cavaille-Coll Organ is still a remarkable instrument.

Unfortunately, and because of financial restraints, Warrington Borough Council has been unable to implement Ian Bell's recommendations in his last report on the condition of the instrument.

So the only attention the organ receives, is when it is tuned by David Wells Organ Builder before a concert.

This organ is worthy of much more that it is getting at the moment.
The last Recital in March was attended by 272 people, and was the largest audience at a recital for many years.
The 1870 Cavaille-Coll Organ has been discussed on many forums, and I have taken the opportunity of sharing Archive material with those of you who would like to know more about this fine instrument.
This can be seen on the Facebook group 'Warrington Cavaille-Coll Organ'. https://www.facebook.com/groups/660405240701596/

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