Liverpool Philharmonic Hall will showcase the return of its recently refurbished pipe organ in two upcoming concerts.
The organ, originally made by well-known Liverpool instrument manufacturer Rushworth and Dreaper and installed at the Hall in 1939, was restored to its former glory by another Liverpool-based business, Henry Willis & Sons Ltd, over a two-year period.
The organ has been extensively refurbished, including the pipes which have been cleaned and voiced, and the organ console which has been fitted with new keys and new electronics. The motor below the stage which generates the wind to play the organ has been revamped and the trunks that carry the wind to the pressurised reservoirs have been repaired.
The organ will make its official debut at a concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Thursday 13 January, in a spectacular programme featuring Poulenc’s Organ Concerto performed by renowned organist Ian Tracey. Ian Tracey, who is also Chorusmaster of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, was instrumental on advising on the refurbishment. The concert will be conducted by Nicholas Collon and also includes works by Eugene Gigout, Lili Boulanger, Lutosławski and Shostakovich.
Another performance featuring the organ takes place on Saturday 5 February with Ian Tracey performing Saint-Saëns’ brilliant Organ Symphony, conducted by Elena Schwarz.
The organ restoration was supported by the Rushworth Foundation, a long-standing supporter of Liverpool Philharmonic which promotes the legacy of the Rushworth family music business and its support for music and the arts for over a century.
Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic, said: “We are delighted to see the return of our much-loved pipe organ to our stage at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
“The pipe organ is part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s rich heritage and we look forward to audiences experiencing its majestic sound for generations to come.”
Ian Tracey said: “Having known the Liverpool Philharmonic organ for most of my professional life, it has been a particular joy for me to have steered its recent restoration, and I am very much looking forward to ‘cutting the red tape’ at the Pipe Dreams concert with the Orchestra on 13 January.
“It now boasts a console which offers the player every 21st century playing aid and it speaks with a new, clear and definitive voice. To appropriate the catchphrase of a well-known supermarket chain, the audience will truly be able to ‘hear the difference!’…. “
Jonathan Rushworth, of the Rushworth Foundation, said: “Our family business built the organ in the original Hall which was destroyed by the fire in 1934. It is really exciting and quite humbling for our family that the organ which was built by the Rushworth family business in the magnificent new Hall in 1939 to replace the original instrument has now undergone major work to bring it to concert standard again.
“Liverpool Philharmonic are to be congratulated on preserving this worthy and unique instrument, which can now be enjoyed in its full splendour for the next generation.”