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Townsend Place, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 1HB
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The Organ at St Peter’s
This was the exhibition organ for the International Organ Festival, St.Albans,1967. It was later installed in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, St. Anne's Church, Nottingham, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Grant, Degens & Bradbeer, Opus 21, 1967
The International Organ Festival at St Alban's had been started by Peter Hurford in 1963 and was fast becoming an important item in the organ calendar. Organ-builders from home and abroad were invited to exhibit small organs which would be played and demonstrated in the cathedral during the Festival. In spite of the cost it was decided to construct a real 'tour de force' and Frank Bradbeer really enjoyed the challenge. It was to be almost the smallest organ on which most of the organ repertoire, ancient and modern, could be given an adequate performance. It was to have three stops on each manual and two on the pedals. A compensated mechanical action (with floating backfalls) was of course essential and modern materials were to be used throughout, such as steel framework, melamine-faced panels and judicious colouring. The organ was described by Cecil Clutton in The Organ (No. 187, January 1968) as "the cleverest and most original" contribution to the Festival, as well as being "a brilliantly clever and artistic little organ". The Times' critic Miss Gillian Widdicombe, wrote that its appearance with "red melamine panels and black steel frame is so trendy that Habitat could sell it immediately". As it happened, soon after the St. Albans Festival, we obtained the contract for a completely new mechanical-action organ of forty-eight stops for New College, Oxford. In part payment for this large organ we had possession of the old Willis/Rushworth and Dreaper four-manual organ which was of little use to us, except for the tin in the two sixteen-foot spotted-metal basses. In any case, the old organ had to be totally removed from the west gallery leaving the college and organ scholars with nothing on which to play or practice. Thus the Warden and Fellows decided to hire this little organ as a temporary expediant, until such time as we either had a definite sale for it, or until the new organ was playable. It was only a few months in New College before the authorities at St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, wanted to purchase it. Their large four-manual Walker orgn had completely collapsed and was unusable, and both the Vicar, Canon Feaver (later Bishop of Peterborough) and his organist, David Butterworth were fully knowledgeable as to what could be done with a small organ suitably placed in the very large church. So, off it went to Nottingham, where it did good service for several years until the new Marcussen organ was installed. It was then sold to St. Annes's Church, Nottingham where J.W. Walkers added a Pedal Bourdon worked from the existing Pedal trackers in the organ itself. In passing, it should be mentioned that this unique little organ was also exhibited and played at the Pershore Organ Festival just before it went to New College. This much travelled instrument was, however, to be on the move again. St. Anne's Church, Nottingham, having acquired a twenty-year old Compton extension organ, decided to dispose of it. It was purchased by St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Kirkcaldy, Fife in Scotland, and was installed there after extensive renovation and revoicing at the Northampton works. In the hands of a competent and sympathetic organist, it was surprising what could be done on this exceptional small organ.
MANUAL 1 - Rohrflote 8, Principal 4, Blackflote 2
MANUAL 11 - Gedackt 4, Quint 1½, Regal 8
PEDAL - Sordun 16, Quintade 4
COUPLERS - Man. 1 to Pedal, Man 11 to Pedal, Man 11 to Man1.
Twenty-One Years of Organ-Building by Maurice Forsyth-Grant, Positif Press, Oxford 1987