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The Stoller Organ to be played for the first time on Easter Day
Published: 12 April 2017
There has been an organ in Manchester Cathedral since at least the 1680s with different instruments being rebuilt, modified and replaced over time. The old organ was badly damaged when a bomb exploded on the north east side of the Cathedral in 1940, and stop-gap measures were taken to repair the instrument, re-using old pipework. This organ lasted 75 years.
We are very grateful to Sir Norman Stoller and the Trustees of The Stoller Charitable Trust who have generously sponsored the new Stoller Organ (the total cost was approximately £2.6m) which will be at the centre of Cathedral music and in use virtually every day of the year for services, concerts, recitals, recordings and teaching. It is both musically superior to its predecessor and restores the pipes to the quire screen, framed by the archway.
The Stoller Organ was built at Tickell’s workshop in Northampton before being transported to the Cathedral ahead of the installation which began in July 2016. The scaffolding around the Quire came down, revealing the beautiful new Stoller Organ in its entirety in November 2016. Since then, organ tuners have been voicing the instrument. The Stoller Organ will be played for the first time on Easter Day at the 10.30am Eucharist.
The main section of the old organ was replaced with the new Stoller Organ, mechanical in action, has been placed on the screen between the Nave and the Quire. The pipe shades have been designed by text artist Stephen Raw. The lettering on the pipe shades is taken from the words of the liturgy in Latin, the common language of Christian worship internationally. The cut-through lettering helps to release sound. There are over 4800 pipes inside the instrument, ranging from 6 inches to 32 feet high. The pipes facing into the quire were gilded by hand with wafer-thin 23.5 carat gold leaf, so that they will never tarnish.
On Monday 3 April 2017, the Stoller Organ was officially handed over to the Dean of Manchester, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender. The Dean said:
“The moment when the organ was officially handed over was extremely emotional and a great blessing. It has taken twelve years to reach this point and it was very special indeed. My grateful thanks to the large team who have worked tirelessly to enable the dream of our new organ to come to fruition. My thanks to all who donated towards the cost especially The Stoller Charitable Trust.”
In the evening, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Mr Christopher Stokes, performed a private organ recital for Sir Norman and Lady Stoller, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and the Trustees of the Stoller Charitable Trust. Following the recital, Sir Norman Stoller said “I am delighted that Manchester Cathedral has been able to build our new organ on its medieval screen to replace one destroyed in the blitz 77 years ago. This world class instrument, properly maintained will be at the heart of this great building and will give pleasure for generations to come. The Stoller Charitable Trust are proud to have had the opportunity to make such an historical mark on the oldest building in Manchester”.
The Stoller Organ will be officially dedicated in September 2017.
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