An enthusiastic audience of music lovers assembled in St Bartholomew’s Church in Wilmslow over the weekend to join the inaugural recital on the church’s brand new pipe organ, which has been constructed by York Pipe Organs.
This was the first in a year-long series of recitals celebrating this remarkable achievement.
Those in attendance were treated to a comprehensive display of the organ’s varied tonal pallet and its awesome power by distinguished organist Roger Fisher who was organist of Chester Cathedral for nearly 30 years.
The recital culminated in a stunning performance of the Sonata in D minor by the celebrated French organist and composer Guilmant.
At the end of the recital, Roger was presented with a copy of “Oscar’s Organ Book” which contains the 3 prize-winning entries from the Organ Composition Contest held last year to celebrate the new organ.
The new organ contains over 2,500 individual pipes housed in the organ chamber in the church’s north transept.
The organ’s three manual and pedal playing console can be moved around the church to give greater flexibility of use.
On this occasion it was placed in the centre so the audience had a clear view of the performer.
The information from the playing console is relayed to the organ chamber via a data cable which is around the size of a little finger in diameter.
The completion of the organ also marks the conclusion of the re-ordering of the church itself.
St Bartholomew’s is now a very versatile and attractive space for all manner of artistic activity: drama, visual arts, dance, music and many more besides.
Philip Underwood, organist at St Bartholomew’s, commented: “We hope very much that the community of Wilmslow will make full use of this exciting venue which is there for the benefit of all in accordance with the intentions of its 15th century builders.”
(Photo shows Roger Fisher (centre) flanked by organ builders Robin Dixon (left) and Geoffrey Coffin (right). On the far left is Peter Johnson who initiated the organ project and on the far right is the current organist Philip Underwood.)