The Organ of Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead
Emmanuel Church established an outstanding musical tradition at the turn of the last century with the appointment of distinguished composer Martin Shaw as its first organist. He was succeeded by Henry Colles, who subsequently became chief music critic of The Times, RCM professor, and editor of Grove's Dictionary of Music . Colles drew up the specification for the current organ, heard on this recording, in consultation with his friend and former tutor, Walford Davies, who was to give the inaugural performance. J.W. Walker & Sons built the organ in 1910, by which time the acclaimed recitalist and composer, Harold Darke, had replaced Colles as organist.
Originally designed as a three-manual instrument, the organ was constructed in a suitably spacious chamber on the north side of the chancel, at a cost of £1,125. All but a handful of Swell, Great, and Pedal stops were installed, with the intention of completing work to the full original specification when funds permitted; but no provision was made for the Choir organ, save for a dummy keyboard. The casework, incorporating bass pipes from the Great Large & Small Diapasons and the Dulciana, was erected in 1914; but the outbreak of the First World War, and subsequent economic difficulties of the inter-war years prevented any further progress at this stage.
Walkers cleaned and revoiced the organ in 1956, replacing the Tremulant, and inserting the present Twelfth stop in a niche initially earmarked for the Great Trumpet. An apprentice on that project, Michael Broom, has been tuning and maintaining the organ ever since. Consistent problems of wind shortage were finally rectified in 1996, when the ageing, belt-driven blower was replaced with a new machine, supplied by B.O.B. Stevenson Ltd.
The organ otherwise remains unaltered: a capacious swell box permits wide dynamic range, and the action is tubular-pneumatic. Its full-bodied tone and colourful specification are ideally suited for an accompanimental rôle, and an apposite vehicle for the English romantic repertory. Walker organs of this vintage rank amongst the finest of their period and style, and the radiant acoustics of Emmanuel add warmth and glow.
|Open Diapason Large||SWELL:||PEDAL ORGAN|
|8||Open Diapason||Open Diapason|
|Open Diapason Small||8||16|
|4||Principal||Swell to Great|
|Twelfth||4||Swell to Pedal|
|2 _/_||Fifteenth||Great to Pedal|
|Fifteenth||2||Balanced swell pedal|
|2||Fifteenth||Four toe pistons to Swell|
|2||Four toe pistons to Great & Pedal|
|Mixture||Reversible toe piston for Great to Pedal|