September 2010

Visit to Salisbury

On a bright autumn morning nine ESOA members descended upon the ancient city of Salisbury.  The first obstacle with which we were confronted was where to park the car.  Salisbury at first sight would appear to be a total yellow line area.  However, we managed.

Our first visit was to Saint Martin’s Church.  Known locally as Sarum St Martin, the churchmanship is “high” and the music is of a comparable quality.  We were made most welcome by the Organist, Timothy Hone, who himself is also head of Liturgy & Music at the Cathedral.  After partaking of a cup of coffee Mr Hone told us about the organ which was built originally in 1869 by William Hill and stood in the north-east corner of the building at ground level.  Over the years various additions have been made by Thomas Hill, and Hele.  The instrument was moved to its present position aloft so as to provide a choir vestry.

The organist then played to us three pieces: - Lṻbeck “Prelude in E”; Duruflé “Sicilienne” and the final movement of Mendelssohn’s 1st Sonata.  These pieces admirably demonstrated the qualities of the organ.

We then walked to Sarum College in North Walk, adjacent to the Cathedral, where our number increased to eleven.  This, of course, as well as being a theological college is also the present home of the RSCM.  The chapel organ is by Kenneth Jones.  This was a “do-it-yourself” visit, so members took turns to demonstrate it.  We also had an opportunity to look at the Vincent Woodstock instrument in the practise room.

Members were then free to get lunch before re-convening in the Cathedral for the choir rehearsal and subsequent Choral Evensong.  David Halls (Director of Music) welcome us into the quire and took the 15 girls and 6 gentlemen through the music not only for Evensong, but also for the Sunday services.  Evensong was directed by David Halls with the Assistant Organist (Daniel Cook) at the console. 

After the service Daniel Cook came and spoke to us about the organ, telling us an interesting story of how Henry Willis managed to get a small section of the then new organ taken to Durham who have some pipework intended for Salisbury whilst at Salisbury they have some pipework which should really be at Durham.  This all happened since both instruments were being built at the same time.  Members were then invited to the console in small groups.

It was a fairly long day, but most enjoyable none-the-less, and our thanks must go to John Eagles for looking after all the arrangements.         
Terrence Hancock