Bernard Smith (organ builder)
"Father" Bernard Smith (c. 1630 – 1708) was a German-born master organ maker in England in the late seventeenth century.
Smith served his apprenticeship in Germany before emigrating to England in 1667. He built an organ for the Chapel Royal and, in 1681, became the king's organ maker. Along with his hated rival Renatus Harris he was one of the two most prominent organ builders in late seventeenth-century Britain.
The rivalry between Smith and Harris led to the famous Battle of the Organs in 1684, when both were bidding for the contract to build the new organ for the Temple Church, London. Each man erected an organ in the Temple Church and then hired prominent organists to demonstrate the superiority of their instrument. Smith hired John Blow and Henry Purcell as his organists and won the contest.
Remnants of Smith organs survive at various places in the United Kingdom, though most survivals comprise only the casework. One of the best preserved cases is in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge. The organ that is now contained in this case (by Metzler, 1975) contains a number of restored Smith ranks. Other notable Smith cases (this list is not exhaustive) can be found at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, St Mary the Great, Cambridge, St Paul's Cathedral, London, and the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London. The west front of the organ at Durham Cathedral is preserved in the south aisle of the nave and the choir organ is now the organ (with some original Smith ranks in use) of the chapel of University College, Durham.
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