St. Peter's Church - Nottingham
, United Kingdom
For over 800 years, congregations have worshipped at St. Peter's Church in Nottingham, England. But in November 2007, the church's pipe organ fell silent as a consequence of too many problems to repair.
Now the church's musical tradition is about to begin a new chapter as Modern Pipe Organ Solutions Ltd. (MPOS) blends six new pipe stops with the digital technology of Rodgers along with three restored and re-voiced ranks from the existing instrument.Two of the historic ranks are probably nearly 200 years old. Nine of the 51 speaking stops - nearly 20% - are pipe.
Nottingham, located in the central part of England about 100 miles north of London, is part of a new frontier in British organbuilding. Rodgers UK, which is part of the Roland group, is providing a Masterpiece 958 organ while MPOS handles the pipe building.
The historic main case attributed to Snetzler, the famous 18th century organ builder, has been restored. MPOS provided a contrasting modern case in the chancel. The organ offers the versatility and color of a cathedral organ to accompany the choir - which frequently sings in major English cathedrals - in the Anglican repertoire, to support congregational singing, and be a superb recital instrument, said Richard Patt of Rodgers UK.
The church relied on the guidance of the prominent British organist Paul Hale, who serves as Diocesan Organ Advisor, to solve troublesome space and sound issues surrounding its organ replacement project. Mr. Hale recommended that "consideration be given to a new and exciting type of instrument that was gaining great success in America and Asia, but yet to ‘take off' in the UK - that of the ‘combination' organ... It was felt that this type of instrument would enable a much greater flexibility in how the organ was arranged in the chamber, and accordingly offer a solution to the space problem outlined above," said Director of Music Peter Siepmann, who led the effort to raise funds and commission the organ.
Because of the difficulty of getting sound out of the organ chamber it would have been impossible to achieve this using pipes alone without major structural changes to the 12th century building. The compactness of the pipe unit and speaker combinations means that the new organ will speak directly into the church.
A dedication celebration was held 2011, as well as a gala recital by Paul Hale and a separate concert by organist David Briggs.