|Region||Co. Dublin - Dublin city|
|Uploaded by||Ray O'Donnell|
David Forde writes:
"This organ is the third organ to have been built for Blackrock College. It was built following a fire which, in 1982, destroyed the elaborate 'Gothick' style chapel and left the organ in an unsalvageable state. Most of the college archives were destroyed in the fire (the archives were located in a room just of the organ loft) so the information about the earlier organs is very scant. A picture, from the early 1950s, survives of the first organ which appears to have been a sizeable two-manual mechanical organ complete with artisan Gothic case, probably by Telford or White. This organ was subsequently rebuilt in the late 1950s by the dying Evans & Barr firm of Belfast - in house style with electro-pneumatic action. The Irish Organ Company (?) later moved the console down from the loft to the nave.
"The current organ was commissioned from Kenneth Jones following the fire and represents a compromise between two different schools of thought. The late Rev. Father Joseph Corless, Dean, Principal and President of the college and most accomplished and refined musician was responsible for the commission. A man respected and feared in equal measure, he compiled the once popular Holy Ghost Hymnal amongst other work. Those familiar with the style of arrangement in this volume (expertly executed) would understand the school of organ playing which Fr. Corless would have most appreciated. He insisted on having a console in the nave of the chapel so he could direct the singing whilst playing. This of course would have dictated the use of electric action, which had all but been eschewed by the builder, Kenneth Jones. Legend has it that both equally forceful men refused to budge on this issue so the consultant, Prof. Gerard Gillen, with customary diplomacy, suggested a compromise - the result being an organ with two consoles - the nave played with electric action, the loft being partly mechanical.
"The organ is largely new though there is some pipework from the previous organ (which did not completely perish) and other sources. The instrument is housed behind two façades (rather perfunctory in design and construction) with the manuals on the south west side and the pedals on the north west. With the appointment of the author, David Forde, as Musical Director, maintenance passed to Trevor Crowe. Although the solution was largely successful, particularly from the nave, there were aspects of the organ design which were not; so, with David Forde as advisor and Trevor Crowe as builder, a programme of modifications has been put in place. So far the bass chest of the pedal division has been rebuilt with electro-pneumatic action as the heavy duty magnets used originally proved noisy and unreliable. The loft console originally had electric couplers which made play at this console an unsettling experience as there was no synchronisation whatsoever between an of the division - this was particularly noticeable with the pedals. These electric couplers have now been replaced with new mechanical action transmission which makes the loft console very pleasant to play. The swell pedal on the loft console used to operate the electro-pneumatic whiffle tree engine - this has been replaced with a mechanical connection. Further enhancements are planned as funds become available.
"The organ is musically quite interesting, if very loud - Trevor Crowe relates that the voicing brief was to make the organ as loud as possible and, even as it is, full organ struggles to accompany the phenomenally strong singing of a capacity church of school boys. The Great organ is very successful with individual ranks, particularly the Great Open Diapason, being very refined and musically the organ is a good representative of some of the best Jones organs of the period, though it needs a soft 8' stop (Dulciana etc.) - a common fault with Jones' great organ schemes. The tonal schemes of the Swell and Pedal are, perhaps, not as well considered as the Great - the mutations do not substitute for a mixture and the lack of an Open Diapason 8 seriously hinders the effectiveness of the Swell chorus. The pedal desperately requires an Open 16' as the bass disappears when the church is full.
"In general the organ is satisfying and easy to live with and first impressions improve with increased playing."
|Couplers & accessories|
|Swell to Great|
|Swell to Pedal|
|Great to Pedal|
|Tremulant (affects both manuals)|