Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ecumenical Organ(ist)

On Sunday I attended an organ recital at one of our local Roman Catholic Churches in the Blue Mountains village of Glenbrook. The Hele pipe organ was made in Plymouth, England in 1881 to the order of St Peter's Anglican Parish, East Sydney. It was installed in St Peter's Church in February, 1882. It was bought by this parish on 8th February, 1993, when St Peter's Parish was amalgamated with the parish of Darlinghurst and St Peter's church was declared redundant.

The organ was installed in this new church during July, August and September, 1995 by Pitchford & Garside Pty. Ltd. On 15th October 1995, it was inaugurated by Mr Norman Johnston who had been the last organist in St Peter's church and who had used it as a teaching instrument for many years. It is due to his influence that the organ was kept in good working order.

The instrument is fully mechanical in its action. It was completely restored in all its parts prior to installation and a new electrically-power blower was installed under it. The organ is now in its original condition. It was classified by the national Trust of Australia on 29th May, 1996. Full details and more photos are found here.

On Sunday the organist was David Drury who until a year ago was organist at St James Anglican Church, King Street where I worship. He is now Director of Music at St Paul's Anglican College within the University of Sydney. He has given recitals in Westminster Abbey, St Paul's and Westminster Cathedrals in London & King's College, Cambridge. In Paris he has performed four times at Notre Dame, twice at La Madeleine & appeared in concert at the Toulon Festival.

He has toured extensively in the USA and Canada and appeared on all the major organs in Australia.

So it was a wonderful afternoon concert with an organ that has moved from an Anglican to a Catholic church and an organist whose main employment has been in Anglican churches.

I found on youtube the organ being played by a different organist but embedding has been disabled

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7aLogWJQ-E Bach 'Gigue' Fugue

David played among other pieces the Berceuse (lullaby) by Louis Vierne

I think I need a lullaby now as I go to sleep after a very trying day watching the stock markets. Here it is played by Greg McAusland at Notre Dame, Paris.


Fran said...

Wow- what a story. I love the long trajectory of the organ's life and how it keeps on going.

It is beautiful!

June Butler said...

It's a beautiful organ, Brian, and I like the musical offering, too.

We have an old restored organ in our church. The innards are intact, but a new housing and console had to be built. The sound is lovely. I have pictures of it, but I need to get more information on its history, before I post. It came from an Episcopal mission church in the Northeast, which is no longer in use. It was given to the restorer, and he charged us only for materials and labor, or we'd never have been able to afford it.