Although geographically some distance apart, the visit to Upper Latymer School and St Mary, Putney were integrated by the size of the 2 organs – both small mechanical action organs of 12/14 stops. The visit was also unified by Mark Laflin, former Director of Music at Latymer who hosted the visit there and also former Director of Music at St Mary, Putney, where he supported Graham Hallett who hosted the visit there.

In 2008 a new Performing Arts Centre was added to the impressive facilities at Upper Latymer School. With rehearsal rooms and classrooms above, the ground floor has a small recital hall (98 raked seats) with a new pipe organ of 14 stops by Kenneth Tickell & Co. The organ is placed in a chamber at the front of the hall, the case flush with the line of the room - if needed large doors can be folded across the front to obscure it (the pedal board is removable). The instrument has tracker key action and mechanical stop action – not a playing aid in sight. The specification is perhaps slightly unusual in that a bright Trumpet sits on top of the Great and the Swell is topped by a Sesquialtera (rather than a reed under expression). The Swell is placed almost in a Brustwerk position, with conventional swell shutters, obscured by a casework grill and is very immediate to the player.

Mark demonstrated the organ very capably with a performance of Buxtehude’s, Prelude (Fuga and Ciacona) in C, BuxWV137. Members tested the capabilities of the organ in a range of choices – these included ‘Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch BWV769, ‘Prelude & Fugue in D major’ and the Fugue in C BWV BWV531 by JSB; 2 of the ‘Choral Preludes’ Op122 by Brahms; the slow movement from Sonata II by Hindemith; the fugue from Sonata No 6 by Mendelssohn;Toccata on ‘Lobe den herren’ by Hans Friedrich Micheelsen; a Toccata by Pachelbel, and, a chorale prelude on ‘Vater unser im Himmelreich’ by Telemann!


St Mary, Putney Bridge has an organ of 12 stops by Marcussen installed in a West end gallery in the rebuilt church in 1981. It has folding wooden Brustwerk doors operated by a swell pedal. The organ is well known to the Association from previous visits. Personally I still think the Great Mixture is perhaps a little too strong and the Brustwerk Regal would not have been my first choice for the only reed! Graham tackled the first movement of Trio Sonata 6 BWV530 and a major chorale prelude by Sigfrid Karg-Elert based on the ‘Dies Irae’. Mark played a delighful trancription of the ‘Forlana’ from ‘Five Bagatelles for Clarinet’ by Gerard Finzi. Regrettably I had to leave Putney early for a theatre visit that evening so missed entirely whatever pieces members essayed at the console.

Our thanks to Graham for arranging this excellent visit to two fine organs – reminding us that big in organ terms is not always best. Our thanks also to Mark for facilitating access at Hammersmith and joining us at Putney. Many of us had an excellent lunch in the cafeteria adjoining the Putney church – although given that each meal is produced individually it led to a rather languorous lunchtime sojourn but amongst most excellent company!