Organ History > Organ History
3 manual organs with 2 manual console
A recent post on Facebook turned out to be about an organ I once (late 1960's) knew well as one of the church's deputy organists. The organ is 3 manual - but the console only has 2 keyboards, with Great & Choir sharing the lower manual. I've come across this twice - in both cases, Great & Choir stops shared the lower manual of a 2 manual console. I gather that at Acton Baptist Church is came about because a previous organist was short-sighted and wanted the music desk kept close http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N17467 has the details. I was one of the deputy organists there for a short while in the late '60's. The other was St Luke, Bristol Road, Birmingham - http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02812 Onetime a regular practice organ when I worked at the nearby technical college. I don;t know the reasons for the shared manuals there.
Are there any other examples of this unusual arrangement? I seem to remember reading that the late Percy Vickery used something similar on his theatre-style home-built electronic.
I believe Limerick RC Cathedral as rebuilt by Willis III had such an arrangement. It's since been rebuilt again (by Ken Jones, I think).
Larger Casson 'Positive' organs often had secondary departments made up of registers on their parent divisions an octave higher. Others duplicated certain Great stops to make a Choir Organ, playable on the same manual by means of a piston. Redgrave Church, Suffolk, has such an example, although I see from NPOR that it has recently been slightly pepped-up.
Thanks David. I'd forgotten Casson's ideas - somewhere I've got a book with one of his organ designs which, IIRC, has 2 manuals, with 2 divisions on each. It's an interesting idea, but I think I'd prefer individual claviers. Certainly, when I played at Acton Baptist, the total impossibility of using Great & Choir for solo/accompaniment work & so on was a bit of a limitation.
There is an 1880s CASSON with three divisions on two manuals in All Saints', Thorpe Malsor.
It has a lavishly painted case with two free standing pedal towers.
I was organist there in the early 1970s just before leaving school. The organ was in a very poor state even then but has been restored by Wood of Huddersfield in 2010. It is in their portfolio at http://www.woodofhuddersfield.com/portfolio.html.
A well illustrated article on the organ by Paul Hale was published in the Organists' Review in 2011 and can be found here:- http://manfamily.org/PDFs/Thomas_Cassons_Creations2.pdf.
Do look up this spectacular instrument.
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