The grand finale of Selby Abbey’s summer series of organ recitals will be a special event. Two internationally acclaimed organists, D’Arcy Trinkwon and John Scott Whiteley, will play a Viscount Regent Classic Organ and the Abbey’s own Edwardian-era organ in a free evening concert on 14th September, starting 7pm.
The two organs are each remarkable in their own way and the event offers an unrivalled opportunity for the audience to compare the two. The Abbey’s four manual 58-stop organ was made for the Abbey in 1909 by William Hill. The restoration of this masterpiece was completed last year, thanks to a successful appeal. The Viscount Regent Classic custom-built organ (designed by Viscount Organs of Bicester) will be played alongside it. It is the best and largest example of a modern organ, being brought to the Abbey specifically for this concert. It has 66 speaking stops spread over 5 divisions. David Mason, Managing Director of Viscount Organs commented: “This flexible instrument is a very accurate copy of the instrument made by the Skinner Organ company for the church of St Peter’s, Morristown, New Jersey USA with voice models made from recordings of that instrument. The technology allows rapid change of its unique range of sounds and is, in effect four instruments in one. We are sure the audience will enjoy hearing it played by such distinguished musicians.”
D’Arcy Trinkwon, of Worth Abbey and John Scott Whiteley, Organist Emeritus of York Minster, have enjoyed playing both the Hill organ and the Viscount in recent years and are excited to return for another “Battle of the Organs” which proved hugely popular in 2017. Their concert this year will feature works by Mendelssohn, Handel, JS Bach and together they will play the incomparable Toccata from Symphony No. 5 by Widor. The concert is free, no tickets required. There will be a retiring collection to support the Hill Organ. The commemorative 54-page recital series programme can be purchased for £2 at this final concert.
This year, as always, the summer recital series has been immensely popular with around 1,000 people attending the seven concerts that finished on August 14th.
Roof restoration appeal
The Selby Abbey Trust has launched a £3 million appeal to restore roofs and gutters at the abbey. Recent inspections confirm that failing lead on the roofs and multiple cracks in the gutter systems and asphalt covers are allowing water into the building through damaged and eroded masonry, much of it medieval. Therefore, stonework repair, guttering and roofing restoration are all urgently required. The 950th Anniversary Roof Appeal has been launched to raise these funds. The abbey was founded in 1069 and its 950th anniversary will take place in 2019 during the lifetime of the Roof Appeal.
About the Hill organ and the new recordings – now available on CD
Now the sound of the Hill organ is back to its best, as it was when its international reputation was established in the 1960s by Fernando Germani. Many famous organists have played it but it was the three iconic LP recordings in the early 1960s by Italian maestro, Fernando Germani, which brought the organ its global recognition. Three new CDs recorded on the Abbey’s famous Hill Organ are now available including (5***** Choir & Organ) ‘Beautiful Bach’ with Michael Overbury, and a new CD of Liszt, Thiele, Brahms, Raff and Reubke played by John Scott Whiteley organist emeritus of York Minster as well as the best of Germani’s iconic recordings now digitally re-mastered on a new (‘Critics Choice’) CD to high acclaim. Furthermore, critically acclaimed DVD recordings by John Scott Whiteley, D'Arcy Trinkwon and Joseph Nolan playing in Selby Abbey are on sale with all the new CDs in the Abbey bookshop and at www.selbyabbeyorgan.co.uk
All profits from the CDs and DVDs will go to the organ’s upkeep.
About the Viscount organ – a Regent Classic custom-built instrument
This substantial instrument has 66 speaking stops spread over 5 divisions. It is played from a beautiful handmade oak and mahogany console that faithfully copies the Skinner console dating from 1929 in St Peter's, Morristown, New Jersey. This flexible instrument is instantly capable of changing its unique range of sounds. In fact it is three or four instruments in one. There is a rich English sound based on the instruments of Hill and Willis but the voicing you will hear in concert is that of US organ builder Ernest Skinner. There is also Baroque voicing as found on the instruments of continental Europe, and there is also French voicing. All these are accessible at the flick of a switch. The instrument is, of course, a large digital organ but has some extraordinary qualities. This means that several divisions are outputted to strategic areas high up in the ancient Abbey’s triforium and furthermore, ceremonial trumpet sounds are placed high in the gallery of the west door, speaking straight down the nave. The effect is extraordinary and fills the great Abbey with a vibrant sound virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
About Selby Abbey
Selby Abbey was founded by William the Conqueror in 1069. Sir Simon Jenkins, former chairman of the National Trust described it in his book: England’s Thousand Best Churches (2012) as "one of Yorkshire's greatest architectural jewels and has every right to be rated amongst England's finest non-cathedral churches. It remains an essential part of our national heritage.” It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Visit http://www.selbyabbey950roofappeal.co.uk for more information about the roof appeal and other restoration projects recently completed.
Or contact Brigadier J. J. Gaskell, OBE, Appeal Director, The Rose House, Wykeham, Old Malton, YO17 6RF. 01653-697320 or firstname.lastname@example.org