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Featured in I GOT THE MUSIC IN ME on 14 August 2013, in LIVING CHRISTIANITY on 5 September 2013, in EVERYTHING OLD, A NEW TREASURE on 24 July 2014 and in EUROPEAN EVERYDAY LIFE on 23 January 2015
Captured with my Canon PowerShot A3100 IS camera during an unforeseen visit to Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, England, some of the pipes of the mighty Willis organ. (Scroll down for more details.) The Lord Of The Rings aficcionados among you should enjoy this version of “Visions Of Minas Tirith” played during an organ recital by Marco Lo Muscio on the mighty Willis organ in all its terrifying splendour. If that does not put the fear of God into them…!!!
“The Father Willis Organ of 1887 is widely regarded as one of the finest instruments in the country. “It is not easy, even today, to think how the magnificence of the Willis organ in Truro Cathedral could be improved” wrote W L Sumner in his 1952 book The Organ. It was built in 1887 in London and arrived in Cornwall by boat. It has an almost identical specification to the organ he built a year earlier for the then parish church of St Michael, Coventry (later Coventry Cathedral). Both instruments have the standard Willis hallmarks – tierce mixtures on Great and Swell, characterful gedackts on the Choir, and a small but telling pedal division.
Apart from the addition of the electric blower in the 1920s, no major work was done until 1963, when the grandson of the original builder carried out a conservative restoration, at a cost of some £17,000. Before this time, the organ console was situated high up within the main case of the instrument, necessitating a walk of two or three minutes up a spiral staircase in the North Transept. The action was a mixture of Barker lever, pneumatic and tracker. There were very few playing aids and contact between the organist and choir, some forty feet below, must have been almost impossible. In 1963, the organ committee decided to keep the original tonal scheme and voicing, and move the console over on to the south side in a new gallery placed above the choir stalls to a design by the architect John Phillips. Here the organist can hear the instrument properly, and maintain close contact with the choir.
The other main organ in the cathedral is a two-manual instrument in St Mary’s aisle, the sole remnant of the former parish church. It was originally built by Renatus Harris and was installed in Truro in 1750 by John Byfield.11 It was re-installed in the temporary church in 1880, but was significantly rebuilt and reduced in size in 1887 for installation in its current location.12 There is also a four-stop continuo organ by Kenneth Tickell.13"