List of organists and assistant organists of Bath Abbey

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Organ, in north transept

The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England.

It has had several organs since the first was installed in 1634 and multiple organists and assistant organists since the 16th century.

Organs[edit]

The first mention of an organ in the Abbey dates to 1634, but nothing is known of this instrument. The first properly recorded organ in Bath Abbey was built by Abraham Jordan in 1708. It was modified in 1718 and 1739 by Jordan's son. The specification recorded in 1800 was one of twenty stops spread over three manuals.[1] The abbey's next organ was built in 1836 by John Smith of Bristol, to a specification of thirty stops over three manuals and pedals.[2] This instrument was rebuilt on a new gallery in the North Transept by William Hill & Son of London in 1868, to a specification of forty stops spread over four manuals and pedals, although the Solo department, which would have brought the total to well over forty, was not completed.[3]

A new organ was supplied to the abbey in 1895 by Norman and Beard of Norwich. It had 52 stops spread over four manuals and pedals.[4] It was again rebuilt in 1930, and then by Hill, Norman and Beard in 1948, which brought the number of stops to 58.[5] In 1972 this was increased to a total of 65 speaking stops. The organ was totally reconstructed in 1997 by Klais Orgelbau of Bonn, retaining the existing instrument as far as was possible and restoring it largely to its 1895 condition, although the Positive division was kept.[6] The instrument as it now stands has 63 speaking stops over four manuals and pedals.[7]

Continuo organ[edit]

A four-stop continuo organ was built for the abbey in 1999 by Northampton-based organ builder Kenneth Tickell.[8] The instrument, contained in a case of dark oak, is portable, and can be tuned to three pitches: A=440 Hz (modern concert pitch), A=415 Hz and A=486 Hz. A lever pedal can reduce the stops sounding to only the 8' stop and, when released, returns the organ to the registration in use before it was depressed. A page about similar instruments on the builder's website can be found here.[9]

Organists[edit]

Assistant organists[edit]

  • Raymond Jones 1935 – 1975 (Teacher and Organist of a Church destroyed in 1942 air raid)[22][23]
  • Marcus Sealy 1974 – 2005 (now Sub Organist)
  • Mark Swinton 2005 – 2008[24]
  • Gary Desmond 2008 – 2010[21] (post abolished upon creation of new post for Assistant Director of Music and Director of Choral Outreach Programme)

Assistant Directors of Music[edit]

  • Shean Bowers 2010 -[25]

Sub Organists[edit]

  • Marcus Sealy 2005 -2017[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Jordan organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1802. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  2. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Smith of Bristol organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1836. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  3. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Hill organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1868. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Norman & Beard organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1927. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  5. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Hill, Norman & Beard organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1950. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Klais organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 1997. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "Klais Orgelbau: Bath Abbey". Klais Orgelbau. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "Bath Abbey: The Tickell continuo organ". The National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 2000. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  9. ^ "Representative Examples of Continuo Organs". Kenneth Tickell and Company. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Falconer, David (1972). Notes on the Organs of Bath Abbey. Dawson & Goodall. 
  11. ^ "John Dodwell". Biographical Dictionary of the Organ. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Boeringer, James (1989). Organa Britannica: Organs in Great Britain 1660–1860 : a Complete Edition of the Sperling Notebooks and Drawings in the Library of the Royal College of Organists, Volume 3. Associated University Presse. p. 39. ISBN 9780838750445. 
  13. ^ "Thomas Dean". Biographical Dictionary of the Organ. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Josiah Priest". Biographical Dictionary of the Organ. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  15. ^  "Chilcot, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  16. ^ Yescombe, Edward. "'Hazardous and Scanty Securitys' The Career of William Yescombe, Bath Attorney, 1760–1774" (PDF). Bath Spa University. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Piggott, Patrick (1973). The Life and Music of John Field, 1782–1837, Creator of the Nocturne. University of California Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780520024120. 
  18. ^ "Charles Milsom". Biographical Dictionary of the Organ. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  19. ^ Curtis, Gordon (2013). A Provincial Organ Builder in Victorian England: William Sweetland of Bath. Ashgate. p. 50. ISBN 9781409494492. 
  20. ^ "John Dudley Holroyd". Biographical Dictionary of the Organ. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c "Music Staff". Bath Abbey. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Bernard Lovell / Astronomer". Webofstories.com. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "Student Memories of Bristol" (PDF). Bristol University. 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "Lunchtime Recital – Mark Swinton, Organ". Bristol Cathedral. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  25. ^ "Organist: Shean Bowers". Makin Church Organ Builders. Retrieved 22 November 2015.