Opus 60 (2010)

2 m + P organ of 13 stops for The Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh.

Part restoration/part reconstruction (new) of an organ originally by David Hamilton of Edinburgh.

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Opus 60 - Image 1

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Great Organ: C - g"'  56 notes new keyboard
Open Diapason 8' Original, in case facade
Stopped Diapason 8' New, oak and walnut, Hamilton scale
Salicional 8' Original, from tenor c, bottom octave common with St Diapason
Principal 4' Original
Flute 4' New, oak and walnut, Hamilton scale
Fifteenth 2' Original
Mixture III New, 25% tin, scaled on Fifteenth
Trumpet 8' New, 75% tin, scaled after Hamilton stop in St Mary's , Dalkeith
Swell Organ: returned to tenor c - g"', lowest octave coupled to Great new keyboard
Open Diapason 8' Original
Dulciana 8' Original
Principal 4' Original
Oboe 8' Original
Pedal Organ: returned to C - d'  27 notes new pedalboard
Bourdon 16' Original

The organ is thought to have been originally a house organ - the voicing in its pre-restored state was very subdued, which could be intentional, or, morely likely, because the toe holes have compressed into the toeboards under the weight of the pipes (see photo). These have now been re-formed and regulated. The casework at the bass side of the organ has been poorly compromised by being cut in two from top to bottom and the rear section turned through ninety degrees to accommodate a secondary soundboard with its own swell box containing a lowest octave for all four registers. In the restoration this has been discarded and the Swell compass returned to tenor c. The casework has been repaired to include a proper access panel onto the passageboard between the Swell and Great soundboards.

The Swell soundboard, rollerboard and support frame are all original. Because of the extremely damp conditions within the Chapel, all the soundboard glue joints literally fell apart when the organ was dismantled and had to be re-made and re-glued (see photos). Long backfalls between the rollerboard and the keyboard made the action very sluggish and imprecise, and so have been replaced by a double set of action squares and trackers.

The Great organ has been enlarged by two stops (Mixture III and Trumpet 8') and so all the stops have been accommodated on a new, larger soundboard of oak. With the addition of these two stops, the soundboard dimensions have been increased width-wise so as to avoid excessively increasing the depth, but still keeping within the original width proportions of the casework. The playing action, with new rollerboard and splayed backfalls, is constructed in the Hamilton style. The stop action is also new, again following Hamilton's example (see photo).

New keyboards have been made in oak frames with pine keys covered in boxwood naturals and ebony sharps. The new, balanced keys have revised pivot-points and the entire playing action for the manuals has been engineered to be more responsive. The external casework around the console has been repaired. The console itself, including stop-jambs, music desk and knee panel etc, has been renewed. New stop-heads, for the Mixture III and Trumpet 8', have been turned to match the original style. New console lights have been sympathetically integrated to illuminate the music desk and pedalboard. Various generations of electrical fittings and switching etc have been eliminated.

The Pedal organ had been "modernised" to include a 30-note radiating concave pedalboard which cut into and compromised the original case proportions, and the pneumatic playing action was not in keeping with this mechanical organ. Consequently a new, flat, parallel pedalboard of 27 notes has been made which fits the repaired case proportions, and an entirely new mechanical playing action and soundboard have been constructed. The lowest octave of the 16' pipes sit on the new soundboard at the back of the Swell organ with the smaller pipes located under the Swell soundboard in their original position.

The bellows have been completely re-leathered, and the winding system has been retained.

The entire organ has been moved forward by some 800 mm in the gallery to project the sound into the building more effectively. This also gives better access for tuning and maintenance, particularly for the Pedal organ.


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