The Organs

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10:15am Choral Mattins
11:30am Sung Eucharist
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3:15pm Choral Evensong
4:45pm Sunday Organ Recital - Peter Holder
6:00pm Eucharist

ORGAN RECITALS

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The Organs

St Paul’s Cathedral was built on an epic scale and with absolute attention to detail. These are qualities deeply embodied in its Grand Organ.

In 1694 a contract was signed with eminent German organ builder, Bernard Smith, to supply an organ for the new Cathedral. The 27-stop, three-manual, no-pedal instrument was placed on a screen in the quire.

The organ remained relatively unaltered until, in the 1870s, Henry ‘Father’ Willis completed an essentially new instrument. The original Wren case was boldly divided in half and placed against the pillars on either side of the quire. At considerable risk to his own reputation, Willis had constructed something of a musical and visual coup de théatre in one of the most important ecclesiastical buildings in the world.  

Further alterations and reconstructions have been made by Henry Willis III (1930s), N P Mander Ltd (1970s) and Mander Organs Ltd (2000s).

A second, mobile console has also been provided. The two consoles are identical - each of 137 drawstops and 140 controls. The operating system needed to make this set-up work utilises the same technology as the NASA space shuttle programme and the International Space Station.

But what of the instrument’s ability to make music? Like the building in which it finds itself, the organ is capable of the big and the small and finds a unity in its very diversity. Former St Paul's Organist, John Scott, describes the Grand Organ as having a “chameleon-like character”, but above all else, it is capable of making the most incredible music. 

The Cathedral has three other organs, the 'Willis on Wheels', Continuo 'Chamber' Organ and OBE Chapel Organ. Organ specifications.