Me playing the Compton electronic organ at Church of the Ascension on the Hanger Hill Estate in Ealing, West London.
Hanger Hill is one of those 1930s "garden suburbs" and contains much interesting architecture. John Compton himself lived on this estate.
The organ here dates back to 1947 and is one of the few remaining "347" models and was the flagship of the Compton electrone range. The organ works on the electrostatic principal and uses 12 rotating generators contained in an external cabinet which is located in a room just behind the console. Two large loudspeakers are situated each side of the communion area. The specification reads:
JOB NUMBER: A520
Acoustic Bass 32'
Contra Bass 16'
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Contra Geigen 16'
Hohl Flute 8'
Stopped Diapason 8'
Wald Flute 4'
Twelfth & Fifteenth II
Cor Anglais 8'
Swell to Great
Contra Salicional 16'
Viol de Gamba 8'
Flauto Pleno 8'
Lieblich Gedeckt 8'
Lieblich Flute 4'
Contra Fagotto 16'
4 thumb pistons to Great and Pedal
4 thumb pistons to Swell
1 balanced expression pedal - Great and Pedal
1 balanced expression pedal - Swell
Tremulant - entire organ
Double touch canceller to each department
Here I am playing "To God be the glory" which demonstrates the main sounds of this fascinating machine including the 8ft Tromba in the chorus.
These organs are fast becoming extinct with many churches replacing them with digital instruments etc. Modern technology is indeed appealing with its realistic sampled sounds but history is being lost as a result. Opportunities should be taken to see that these unique instruments are preserved for future generations to experience how technology worked in the pre digital era.
Many thanks to Reverend Simon Reed for allowing me access to the church to play what is now an extremely rare instrument.
One thing to note - I am certainly no wizard of an organist but hope this video is able to give an illustration of what a Compton 347 electrone sounds like.