Pipe organs are a dime-a-dozen in cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, but for the rural town of Albury, you can count the number of pipe organs in the area on two hands. Ask the average folk on Dean St and they will no doubt mention the Letourneau organ at St Matthew’s and, to a lesser extent, the organ at St Patrick’s. There are a few others around the area, namely at St David’s Uniting Church, Albury and St John’s Anglican, Wodonga. If you’re prepared to do a little trek either north or south of the border, there’s the pipe organ at St Michael’s Cathedral, Wagga Wagga, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta and the Zion Lutheran Church of Walla Walla. I can see the potential for an “organ ramble” in the Riverina one day, but there would need to be a sufficient number of interested people for it to be a success. Perhaps a thought for seasoned ramblers from the cities to organise a weekend trip to the country?
So out of the handful of organs in a 150km radius, St Patrick’s Albury has not one, but actually two pipe organs in the church! The secondary organ is a 1966 Hill Norman & Beard Pty. Ltd, Melbourne “Dorian” Pipe Organ of 2 ranks, comprising of 10 stops. The organ was originally located at the Vianney College Seminary (Wagga Wagga) and was relocated to St Patrick’s in April 2016. The console is currently located adjacent to the main organ console. The disposition of the 2 ranks is as follows:
MANUAL Spitz Principal 8 B Stopped Diapason 8 A Gemshorn 4 B Nason Flute 4 A Doublette 2 B Block Flute 2 A Larigot 1/1-3 A Octavin 1 B PEDAL Bourdon 16 A Bass Flute 8 A
For two ranks of pipes, the disposition is quite versatile for a single manual instrument. My only criticism is the omission of the Diapason rank (extension) to the pedal. The choir seats are located next to both the organ consoles and consequently, the little organ is too loud for choral accompaniment due to its proximity. Further enhancement to the instrument would be to enclose the entire division. The Dorian organ is, however, an excellent solo instrument – well suited to old English organ music (the likes of John Stanley), Italian keyboard works and Spanish literature.
To celebrate its installation into the church, myself and colleague, Benedict Wilson, performed a joint organ recital. The highlight of the recital was the pieces arranged for both organs. We received a good number in the audience on the morning of Saturday August 13, 2016. The feedback was most pleasing and whilst I could barely hear myself at the main console (due to the box of whistles next to me), the audience enjoyed music in stereo! I can honestly say that organ recitals in the area are no longer as scarce as hen’s teeth! The pieces featuring both organs were as follows:
Variations (Op 4, No 1) – George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)
Echo in G major – Gerardus Scronx (1594-?)
Partite sopra L’Aria della Folia di Spagna – Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710)
Voluntary in D minor (Op 5, No 8) – John Stanley (1712-1786)
Interested in my next upcoming recital?
Leave your details with me and I’ll let you know.