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organ 215

May 2020

3 manuals
47 speaking stops


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St John the Evangelist

Islington

London

Builders

J W Walker, 1963
Keith Bance, 2006, 2012


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Following the break for lunch, the London Organ Day 2020 audience reassembled at St John's RC church.  The Walker organ here, built on a west-end gallery, replaced a much smaller instrument by Bishop, Starr & Richardson that was situated at the other end of the church, to the right of the altar in the south aisle.

A few stops were retained, but revoiced in keeping with the rest of the new instrument, which was conceived in the North European tradition with classically voiced flue work and French-type reeds.  The builders claim it was the first organ in this country (1963) with a RΓΌckpositiv division, placed behind the player.
It certainly produces sounds in complete contrast to the "Father" Willis heard during the morning session at Union Chapel (Organ of the Month 214), with its high-pitched mixtures and brassy reeds.  One of our recitalists here was the resident organist, Adrian Gunning (see also this month's Music of the Month).

During the 1960s and 70s, the organ was used by the BBC (a 'BBC broadcast' light still adorns the console) and recorded commercially, with recitalists including Jennifer Bate, George Malcolm, Simon Preston and Dame Gillian Weir.  A regular programme of recitals still takes place here (in normal times before Covid-19).

You can hear Adrian Gunning playing Tournemire as May 2020's Music of the Month.

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