February 2012

Together with members of the Surrey Organists’ Association our first visit this month was to Saint Peter’s Church, Petersham.

The church was built in 1266 and only the chancel remains from this original building. Between the 17th and 19th centuries various additions were made, including the tower and the west end and also the transepts. A west end gallery was constructed in the 17th century for use by musicians of the period.
Saint Peter’s Church, Petersham

The present organ was built in 2009 by the Swiss organ builders Saint-Martin of Neuchatel. There are only sixteen stops altogether with three manuals and pedals. The builder’s French classical tradition is very evident by the specification of the instrument. Early music is particularly suited to it. Members were given the freedom of the console and played a variety of pieces.
Saint Peter’s Church, Petersham
The softer stops on the organ were very pleasing, but the upper work was rather shrill. The Director of Music was unable to be with us, and so the Vicar, The Reverend Canon Tim Marwood, spoke to us about the installation of the organ.

Following a break for lunch we re-convened at the main parish church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Richmond-on-Thames. Our host was Ron Bond, Director of Music at St Mary’s.
Saint Mary Magdalene in Richmond-on-Thames
The organ, originally a two manual nine stop instrument built by Thomas Knight in 1770, was altered by William Hill and in 1907 J W Walker re-built the instrument. Further work was carried out in 1965. In comparison with Petersham, here was an organ of typically English characteristics admirably suited to the spacious church. Once again members were invited to play, and we heard the music of various composers – Bach, Bruckner, Dubois and Mendelssohn.

Terrence Hancock

Other Pictures from this visit