The last fortnight has been extremely busy with various recordings and performances, and there are many exciting developments from the latest PRSF New Music Biennial composers’ gathering that I look forward to sharing, but that will have to wait, as I promised some information about a certain Grand Organ and its importance to the city of Hull.
Following on from my last entry, Music of the Sea, I’d like to talk a little bit about how, with the right support, one Hull venue could provide even more opportunities and resources for musicians, composers, musical audiences, the people of Hull, and anyone with even the vaguest interest in national heritage.
The Grand Organ of Holy Trinity is, according to the restoration documentation, a giant: it has 104 speaking stops and nearly 4,500 pipes; it is almost the size of the organ at Westminster Abbey and is, in fact, much older. But the Grand Organ is in a state of disrepair and, with less than half of the full organ functioning, it is not the world-class instrument that it once was.
At present, the leather of the bellows is disintegrating and the instrument’s tones are often masked by the deafening sound of air leaks — not surprising when you consider the organ hasn’t received any rebuilding work since 1938. So, why should you care? I’ll tell you why.
Parts of the organ date back to 1711, which means that when you listen to the organ, you’re listening to the same sounds that would have been heard by people such as William Wilberforce, a young John Venn, Sir Alfred Gelder, and painter John Ward. The sound of the organ, like the bells and the carillon of Holy Trinity, is a part of Hull’s heritage. And while the morning calls of Reckitt’s are long gone, this is a small piece of the city that can be reclaimed, restored, repurposed, and enjoyed for generations to come.
The Grand Organ could be an incredible national resource, but its restoration, with an estimated cost of £1,000,000, won’t be easy or cheap. So, while the city has the limelight in 2017, let’s take the opportunity to raise awareness of this historical instrument and let the music of Hull ring out.
For information about how you can sponsor the Grand Organ, please contact Mark Keith, director of music at Holy Trinity.