Where to hear them
In July 2011 the Wetheringsett and the Wingfield Organs joined together after a separation of more than two years for a residency at the St Albans International Organ Festival.
At St Albans Cathedral they featured in concerts, demonstrations and a masterclass, events which were part of a fascinating education day on the Tudor period. Dr Magnus Williamson (Newcastle University) officiated at both instruments and a group of singers provided chant.
Earlier in the year, whilst the Wetheringsett continued its residency at Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, the Wingfield was in use at St Swithun's, Worcester, a redundant but well used eighteenth-century church in the centre of the city, where it was used in lunchtime recitals, and was made available to local organists associations and also to organ students of Birmingham Conservatoire.
After the St Albans Festival, the Wetheringsett and Wingfield were moved to Halifax Minster for a residency lasting until summer 2012. Details of the Minster's organ initiatives, including work with the EEOP organs, can be found at www.halifaxminster.org.uk.
The Wetheringsett Organ also features in Ex Tempore: The Art of Improvisation in England, from 1500 to the Present Day, a DVD (and CD) presented and performed by Ronny Krippner, a Fellow of the College. This study of the history of organ improvisation in England also includes recordings at Adlington Hall, St Lawrence’s, Little Stanmore, and at Bristol and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedrals. For more information consult Fugue State Films at: www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk.
Introducing a new medieval organ: 8-9 April 2011
A third late medieval organ designed and constructed by Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn was launched at St Teilo’s Church, St Fagan’s Museum, Cardiff on 8-9 April. The organ has been built for a major research project entitled The Experience of Worship in late Medieval Cathedral and Parish Church, led by Professor John Harper of Bangor University, and commissioned by the AHRC-ESRC Religion and Society programme.
The new organ follows the same late-medieval principles and processes developed and applied to the two Suffolk organs built for the Early English Organ Project a decade ago. It has been specifically designed to accommodate changes in performance practice (e.g. music sounding ‘in C’ rather than ‘in F’), allowing research into 16th- and 17th-century repertoire for organ, and organ with voices. It has an overall compass of 46 notes and two chromatic keyboards with different ranges, the second designed to demonstrate changes in late Tudor performance practice. Pitch is one semitone sharp to modern pitch and it is tuned to ‘modified meantone’.
The form of the case and the carved pipe shades are based on the organ of c.1520 still surviving in the parish church at Old Radnor, while the pipes are based on West Country models. Painting of the case is currently being completed by artist Fleur Kelly, an Italian-trained specialist in medieval and Renaissance painting techniques who uses materials authentic to the early sixteenth century.
The organ will be based at St Teilo’s, but will be sometimes moved to other locations to enable specialist use within the liturgy and for research. It will be in residence in Bangor Cathedral in early 2012.