1. Me playing the organ at St Olave's Church in London located very near to Fenchurch Street Railway Station and the Tower of London.

    The organ was built in 1954 by the John Compton Organ Company Ltd to replace a 3 manual Walker instrument which had been destroyed on 29th December 1940 during a world war two bombing raid. The organ is enclosed in two chambers at the rear of the church concealed by an ornamental grille and played from a 3 manual drawstop console located in the rear gallery underneath the chambers. Typical of Compton, the organ is built using the extension principal with all pipework fully enclosed. There is also the patent 32ft Polyphonic Bass. When first built, the organ consisted of six ranks of pipes but in 1957, following a bequest from Miss Irene van Raalte, the following ranks were added by Compton: Hautboy, Stopped Flute, Vox Angelica. The original action was replaced in 1991 by a solid state system but otherwise the organ remains as it did in 1957 and is a superb illustration of a small-medium instrument by the John Compton Organ Company Ltd. The specification reads:

    PEDAL
    Subbass 32'
    Open Bass 16'
    Subbass 16'
    Echo Bass 16'
    Salicional 8'
    Flute 8'
    Flute 4'
    Trombone 16'
    Trumpet 8'
    Choir to Pedal
    Great to Pedal
    Swell to Pedal

    CHOIR
    Contra Salicional 16'
    Second Diapason 8'
    Viola 8'
    Harmonic Flute 8'
    Salicional 8'
    Vox Angelica 8'
    Harmonic Flute 4'
    Salicet 4'
    Acuta II
    Trumpet 8'
    Clarion 4'
    Swell to Choir

    GREAT
    Sub Diapason 16'
    First Diapason 8'
    Second Diapason 8'
    Stopped Flute 8'
    Salicional 8'
    Principal 4'
    Stopped Flute 4'
    Twelfth 2.2/3'
    Fifteenth 2'
    Mixture III
    Swell to Great

    SWELL
    Contra Viola 16'
    Viola 8'
    Harmonic Flute 8'
    Octave Viola 4'
    Harmonic Flute 4'
    Nazard 2.2/3'
    Piccolo 2'
    Cymbale III
    Contra Hautboy 16'
    Trumpet 8'
    Hautboy 8'
    Clarion 4'
    Tremulant

    ACCESSORIES
    6 double touch thumb pistons to Choir and Pedal
    6 double touch thumb pistons to Great and Pedal
    6 double touch thumb pistons to Swell and Pedal
    4 reversible thumb pistons
    1 reversible toe piston - Great to Pedal
    1 balanced expression pedal with indicator - great chamber
    1 balanced expression pedal with indicator - swell chamber
    1 balanced expression pedal with indicator - crescendo
    1 general cancel thumb piston
    Ventil switches
    Voltmeter

    For this first video im playing the hymn 'Ye holy angels bright' to the tune 'Darwall's 148th' which shows off the main sounds on the organ used for accompanying congregational hymn singing.

    Many thanks to the church officials for allowing me access to this fine Compton organ.

    REQUEST: I am always on the lookout for Compton organs to play - particularly electrones - so if you know of any churches which still have these then please do let me know. I will happily give a donation or pay any applicable room hire charge.

    # vimeo.com/74413848 Uploaded 113 Plays 0 Comments
  2. Another of me playing the 3 manual 9 rank Compton organ installed at St Olave's Church in London.

    I am playing the hymn 'Jesus in the olive grove' to the tune 'Heiliger Geist' which is an ideal hymn for demonstrating the quieter sounds on the organ such as the Hautboy, Salicional and Harmonic Flute ranks.

    Many thanks to the church officials for allowing me access to this fine unspoilt Compton organ.

    # vimeo.com/74420342 Uploaded 31 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Another of me playing the 3 manual 9 rank Compton organ installed at St Olave's Church in London.

    For this final video here, im playing the hymn 'Jesus, the First and Last'. I decided on this hymn as it has the tune 'St Olave'. Access in the rear gallery was restricted so I had to have the camera very close to the console.

    Many thanks to the church officials for allowing me access to this fine Compton organ.

    # vimeo.com/74421555 Uploaded 21 Plays 0 Comments
  4. Me playing the organ at St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark, London.

    St George's Cathedral originally contained an instrument built by Bishop (rebuilt by Henry Willis) but like many places, suffered severe damage during the blitz on London during World War Two and so the present instrument was built by the famous John Compton Organ Company Ltd in 1958.

    The organ is built in true Compton format using the extension principal with 19 ranks of pipes installed in 2 enclosed chambers located east of the south transept. However, the patent 32ft polyphonic bass is unenclosed as is a fantastic Tuba! The drawstop console is located behind a screen at the very front of the cathedral below the east window. Each swell box has 2 sets of shutters directing the sound into either the chancel and nave but there are also drawstops to allow these to be controlled seperately. It is said that when originally installed, tonal finishing had to be done during the night due to the noise of trains running nearby! The organ received an overhaul in 2000 and apart from a few tonal changes, remains very much original and is a superb example of a large instrument built by Compton in the post war years. The specification reads:

    PEDAL
    Sub Bass 32'
    Sub Bass 16'
    Contra Bass 16'
    Open Metal 16'
    Contra Viola 16'
    Bourdon 16'
    Principal 8'
    Octave 8'
    Stopped Octave 8'
    Geigen 4'
    Octave Flute 4'
    Octavin 2'
    Mixture IV
    Harmonics 32'
    Bombarde 16'
    Posaune 16'
    Hautboy 16'
    Posaune 8'
    Clarion 4'

    CHOIR
    Double Dulciana 16'
    Open Diapason 8'
    Gemshorn 8'
    Stopped Diapason 8'
    Dulciana 8'
    Vox Angelica 8'
    Principal 4'
    Stopped Flute 4'
    Dulcet 4'
    Nazard 2.2/3'
    Dulcet Fifteenth 2'
    Flautino 2'
    Tierce 1.3/5'
    Sifflote 1'
    Acuta II
    Clarinet 8'
    Contra Posaune 16'
    Posaune 8'
    Tuba 8'
    Tuba Clarion 4'
    Tremulant

    GREAT
    Double Diapason 16'
    Bourdon 16'
    First Diapason 8'
    Second Diapason 8'
    Third Diapason 8'
    Hohl Flute 8'
    Stopped Diapason 8'
    Octave 4'
    Principal 4'
    Open Flute 4'
    Twelfth 2.2/3'
    Fifteenth 2'
    Fourniture IV
    Cymbale III
    Contra Posaune 16'
    Posaune 8'
    Clarion 4'

    SWELL
    Contra Viola 16'
    Geigen Diapason 8'
    Viola da Gamba 8'
    Voix Celeste 8'
    Harmonic Flute 8'
    Geigen Octave 4'
    Viola 4'
    Harmonic Flute 4'
    Nazard 2.2/3'
    Fifteenth 2'
    Piccolo 2'
    Cymbale III
    Contra Hautboy 16'
    Trumpet 8'
    Hautboy 8'
    Clarion 4'
    Tremulant

    COUPLERS
    Choir to Pedal
    Great to Pedal
    Swell to Pedal
    Swell Octave to Pedal
    Swell to Choir
    Choir to Great
    Swell to Great

    SHUTTER DRAWSTOPS
    Chancel Shutters On
    Nave Shutters On

    ACCESSORIES
    8 double touch thumb pistons to Choir and Pedal
    8 double touch thumb pistons to Great and Pedal duplicated by toe pistons
    8 double touch thumb pistons to Swell and Pedal duplicated by toe pistons
    4 general thumb pistons
    3 reversible thumb pistons
    1 reversible to piston - Great to Pedal
    Pedal combinations to Great pistons
    2 balanced expression pedals with indicators
    10 ventil switches
    1 general cancel thumb piston
    Voltmeter

    For my first video im playing the hymn 'Hail the day that sees him rise' to the tune 'Ascension'. There is no mistaking the unenclosed Tuba can be heard doing the 'Alleluia' at the end of each line!

    Many thanks to the Cathedral staff for allowing me access to this magnificent Compton organ.

    # vimeo.com/74635179 Uploaded 41 Plays 0 Comments
  5. My second video of me playing the Compton organ at St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark, London.

    In contrast to my first video, im playing the old folk tune 'Greensleeves' which is ideal for demonstrating some of the softer tone colours on this fine instrument including the Dulciana, Harmonic Flute and Hautboy.

    Many thanks to the Cathedral staff for allowing me access to this wonderful Compton organ.

    # vimeo.com/74635180 Uploaded 27 Plays 0 Comments

Compton Organs

Christopher Lawton

Videos of me playing organs built by the John Compton Organ Company Ltd.

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