St Lawrence Whitchurch, Edgware New Church Organ Based on 1716 Gerard Smith Organ

This organ was used by Handel when he worked for the Duke of Chandos at Cannons in 1717 and 1718. The remaining keys, the only ones that we know for certain that he touched himself, were preserved and displayed in a case of 1904. While in his employment Handel wrote the Chandos anthems and Acis and Galatea.

The organ is based on the surviving parts of the 1716 Gerard Smith organ; the case, front pipes and a rank of inside pipes, and 3 octaves of the original keys. The case and the surviving pipes have been studiously and carefully restored. The case had suffered, but the front pipes, unused since 1877, are in almost unaltered condition. The remainder is based on the organ at St Mary Finedon, which we thought was made by Gerard Smith in 1719 (cf Hopkins & Rimbault 3rd 1877) but now turns out to be Father Smith 1704.

Most of our aims are combined in this project. The organ is an instrument of character, well-suited to its main task of complementing and encouraging the worship of the St Lawrence congregation. It is a new organ, reconstructing Handel’s organ of 1716 from the surviving evidence. The organ is one of the very few on which the music of Handel and his contemporaries can be performed faithfully.

Great Swell Pedal
Open Diapason 8’ Open Diapason 8’ Bourdon 16’
Stopt Diapason 8’ Stopt Diapason 8’
Principal 4’ Principal 4’
Flute 4’ Nason Flute 4’
Twelfth 2 2/3’ Fifteenth 2’
Fifteenth 2’ Cornet treble II
Sesquialtera bass III Trumpet 8’
Cornet treble III

Couplers: Swell to Great Great to Pedals Swell to Pedals

The front pipes are original 1716 pipes from the Great Principal, their voicing unaltered. The Great Stop Diapason and Flute are stopped metal. The Swell Stop Diapason and Flute are stopped wood. The Swell Open Diapason is made of original 1716 tapered metal pipes, the Swell Principal pipes are copies. The Sesquialtera and Cornet divide at bº/c¹. The Swell Cornet is treble only, starting at c¹.

The manual compass is GG C AA D – d³, pedals C D – d¹.
The pitch is a¹=440Hz. The tuning was developed by Mark Lindley for Handel’s music. The wind pressure is 58mm.

The Rector was Paul Reece, the advisor John Norman.

The recording is available from CDD22052 George Frideric Handel Organ Concertos performed by Paul Nicholson (organ) and the Brandenburg Consort directed by Roy Goodman