Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : Visit to Organs in Blackburn : 10 June 2017

The outing to Blackburn on 10th June was very much enjoyed by the few who attended (three members and one spouse). Blackburn Cathedral and its surroundings have been transformed in recent times, with the construction of a new cathedral close providing accommodation for the clergy and musical staff, and an excellent refectory and gift shop. We were given a warm welcome by the Director of Music, Samuel Hudson, who explained and demonstrated many features of the four-manual Walker/Wood organ, before each of us played a piece which awakened the reverberant acoustic. It is a colourful and vibrant instrument, with everything from a 32’ Serpent to a 1’ Octavin, more than capable of doing justice to the solo repertoire as well as accompanying cathedral worship.

St Silas’ Church is a large Victorian building dating from 1894. The organ was installed by Harrison’s in 1904, and it was recently renovated by David Wells. In many ways it is a typical organ of its period, with a preponderance of unison stops and limited upperwork, although the full chorus makes a fine sound and there are some beautiful individual stops. Here we were welcomed by Karen Au, who is a former organ scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Several organ recitals have been given here, including by Nigel Ogden and Ian Tracey. We are grateful to Mike Town for having arranged this event.

National Pipe Organ Register Links

Cathedral of St. Mary, Blackburn
St. Silas, Blackburn