Organ music is central to St Martin’s, but in order to maintain the quality of this superb instrument, the Walker organ is in need of extensive refurbishment.
Since Handel and Mozart performed at St Martin-in-the-Fields, organ music has delighted and inspired generations of worshippers and concert-goers. From its installation in 1990, St Martin’s Walker organ has carried on this strong musical tradition by supporting an outstanding church music programme and a world-renowned concert series.
Read on to discover how you can make a resounding difference to the musical life of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Urgent work is required to the main organ
The Walker organ at St Martin-in-the-Fields is made up of over 3,000 pipes ranging in size from a mighty 32 foot reed to flutes smaller than a pencil. Each group of pipes (known as a stop) has its own unique character and musical ‘colour’. As you may have been lucky enough to experience for yourself, they combine to produce a stunning array of sounds.
Maintaining such a massive and complex instrument is a major undertaking. A recent report has identified that the organ has a number of worn mechanical parts and requires substantial and essential cleaning and updating.
This will be the first major work to be done to the organ since its installation in 1990. The projected cost is £65,000. It is envisaged that this work will be carried out in August 2013.
A new chamber organ
As well as ensuring that future generations continue to enjoy the splendour of the Walker organ, as part of the Organ Appeal, St Martin-in-the-Fields is also commissioning a new chamber organ from Robin Jennings, a Dorset based organ builder whose previous instruments have included the chamber organ used by John Eliot Gardiner in his ‘Bach Pilgrimage’ of 2000.
The current chamber organ has given long and faithful service for almost twenty years. However it is no longer able to meet the demands placed upon it by extensive liturgical and concert use. The new instrument will have a substantially greater specification and greatly enhance the liturgical and concert performances of Baroque and Early Music for which this church is world-renowned. The projected cost of the new Chamber Organ is £32,500.
Our Parochial Church Council and other kind supporters have already generously contributed to our campaign to the tune of £32,500, but to ensure our appeal is a resounding success £65,000 is still needed to ensure organ music continues to flourish St Martin’s.
How you can help by sponsoring a pipe
By sponsoring the cleaning of pipes on the main organ, or the acquisition of pipes for the new chamber organ, you can directly contribute to the success of the Organ Appeal. Names of all donors will be recorded, together with any dedications, in a book which will be compiled at the end of the Appeal and available on request.
You can sponsor the cleaning of a pipe on the main organ for £10 or the cleaning of all of the pipes that make up a stop for £500. Alternatively for £50 you can sponsor a new pipe for the chamber organ or sponsor a complete rank of pipes for £3,000. Donors of gifts above £500 will receive a pair of tickets to the re-opening recital and reception and donors giving above £5,000 will also receive an hour of tuition or a demonstration and tour of the organ with the Director of Music.
To make a contribution please download and return the Sponsor a Pipe form.
Since Handel played at the opening recital of the original Schreider organ, the organ at St Martin-in-the-Fields has delighted and inspired generations of worshippers and concert-goers.
The current instrument, built by J W Walker & Sons in 1990, is considered one of the finest in London, and was awarded The Carpenters Award for the quality of its casework. The full specification can be found below.
The earliest mention of an organ in St Martin-in-the-Fields dates back to 1526. The first organ to be installed in the new Gibbs church of 1726 was built by Christopher Schreider in 1727 with 3 manuals, pedals and 22 stops. New organs by Gray (1799) and Bevington & Sons (1853) replaced this instrument, but despite numerous rebuildings and modifications, the organ became very unreliable, with almost a third of it in an unusable state by the 1960s. This was finally replaced in 1990 by the current J W Walker & Sons instrument, which is widely regarded as the firm’s flagship organ.
To visitors, worshippers and concert-goers alike, the visual and aural splendour of the organ is one of the glories of St Martin’s.
The Organ of St Martin-in-the-Fields
J W Walker 1990
Flûte Harmonique 8
Flûte Ouverte 4
Cornet (from a) V
Fourniture 18.104.22.168 IV
Cymbale 22.214.171.124 IV
Récit to Grande Orgue
Positif to Grande Orgue
Contra Bombarde 32
Récit to Pédale
Grande Orgue to Pédale
Positif to Pédale
Flûte à Cheminée 8
Viole de Gambe 8
Voix Céleste (from g) 8
Flûte Conique 4
Nasard 2 2/3
Tierce 1 3/5
Plein Jeu 126.96.36.199.29 V
Voix Humaine 8
Flûte à Fuseau 4
Nasard 2 2/3
Quarte de Nasard 2
Tierce 1 3/5
Larigot 1 1/3
Fourniture 188.8.131.52 IV
Récit to Positif
Manuals: C-c4: 61 notes
Pedals: C-g1: 32 notes
Mechanical action with optional electric coupling; electric stop action and Solid State pistons with 8 memories and independent sequencer. There are 8 divisional pistons for each department and 8 general pistons.