Twelve members of the GOA visited the very pleasant Clifton area of Bristol heard and played two organs, both real gems in fine acoustics..
Our first call was at All Saints with St John where there is quite a historic instrument originally built by Walker in 1967. It is a 3 manual with 41 speaking stops. It was a ground breaking organ in that it was in the vogue of the baroque style that was emerging at that time. In 2015 Nicholson undertook a rebuild and re-designed its mechanical action. Eric Tyson assists the Organist John Davenport at the church and hosted our visit. John played the Theme and Variations by Andriessen and Clare de Lune by Vierne showing that the instrument can not only handle the classical style but also the Romantic. After this there was ample time for members to play. We even sampled the 8,4, 2 chamber organ in the gallery,
For lunch, Mike Eddy, the organiser of this trip, had booked us all in at the Cote Brasserie in The Mall, Clifton where we were well received and had a splendid meal.
At Clifton RC Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul we were greeted by the organist Stephen Bryant who explained how the organ sounded differently according to where we were sitting. The instrument is a 3 manual 28 stop built by Rieger Orgelbau in 1973. Stephen played the famous Toccata and Fugue in d minor and Widor’s Toccata. This organ responds to every nuance of touch delivered by the player and those who played.were delighted by this. The church heating had recently been under review following the discovery of ill-fitting glass in the roof and the changes in humidity had affected the organ, resulting in several cyphers during our visit. Nevertheless, this did not affect our enjoyment.
Our Chairman Cameron Luke plays Georg Böhm – Vater Unser on the organ of Clifton Roman Catholic Cathedral.