Report on the visit to St. Alban’s Holborn on 05/04/2008 - by David Sutton
The Compton organ was advertised as being loud and certainly it was! – in an acoustic sporting a 4/5 second reverberation period. It must be said it had some ravishing quiet registers as well.
Edward Batting, the Director of Music, met us and gave a brief introduction and history of the organs since the building of the church in the-mid 19th century i.e.
(1) Holdich – (removed following complaints by the organist that the instrument was not “fit for purpose”)
(2) Father Willis – (sadly destroyed in WW2 , and greatly admired by organists from afar - notably Bonnet, Tournemire Marchal and Messiaen)
(3) Compton (installed 1961 following war-time restoration)
(4) Peter Collins/Slater – (known as the Lamdin Organ and donated to the church in 2004 by the widow of John Lamdin in his memory)
After a comprehensive demonstration of the Compton (with the performance of a piece by Franz Liszt), Edward handed over the organ to the hands of 11 members eager to sample and explore the 59 speaking stops spread over 3 manuals and pedals. Edward was exceedingly generous with his time allowing us over 1½ hours of “hands-on” before we retired to a nearby hostelry to celebrate and “recover” from what was unanimously agreed to be a marvellous Saturday morning.
It was notable that we had no less than 4 brand new members of CLESO attending their first event. From what was said I gather they all had a good time and would come back for more!