Having the space to indulge one’s interests is the result of good luck and advancing years. When almost 20 years ago now we moved home a few miles to a very small farm I also acquired a tythe barn dating according to Peterborough Cathedral records to 1762. The nearest church is about a mile away so when first built this barn must have stood pretty much alone.
Over time other buildings were added until it eventually formed part of a small farm set up. In 1998 when we moved the barn was still in farm use as this earlier picture (above) shows, but it was quite obvious that it was really a small concert room in the waiting and it just cried out for a pipe organ to be installed.
And so it was that in 2001 after the barn was re roofed and a new floor installed that a lovely redundant pipe organ took pride of place.
This instrument, made by William Hill in 1875, started life at St Peter in the East Oxford. On the closure of that church in 1966 to become the library of St Edmund Hall, the organ was moved to St Edburgh’s in Bicester. There it was later replaced by an Allen organ. In 2000 the church wanted the space for toilet facilities and then the organ was fortunately available so I snapped it up! On this second move it was returned to its original 1875 specification removing a later clamp that had added 2 stops to the swell. This had to be done to reduce the depth allowing the organ to fit behind the cross beam that you see in the picture above.
Many years of fun have been had with a variety of concerts, organ and choral given in this space. In January however we were there to record our 2016 series of organ tutorial videos. These, as ever, were played by Jonathan Kingston with the recording under the direction of Adrian Lucas of Acclaim Productions.
17 of the 26 Regent Classic organ speakers are located inside the pipe organ case. These carry the Pedal, Great Swell and Solo divisions. Another 5 are at the west end of the barn. These carry the Choir and another dedicated sub woofer for the pedal. As you will imagine this is not a room with much reverberation which has to be added to create the spatial impact you would expect from a large instrument of this size. This is provided by a further 4 speakers dedicated to reverberation alone which are placed to the east and west sides of the barn.
The recording desk pictured below was set up in the small lobby area outside the barn.
The microphones for the recording were set to each side of the pipe organ and also to the rear of the room. The filming was done using a number of stills cameras set to video mode. This is shown in the pictures below and you can also see the dummy pipe case that houses the speakers for the Choir division high on the back west gable end wall. To see the first of the six videos that we made that day please CLICK HERE.
New videos will be released every two months. We hope you have found this information of interest and will look forward to the other videos as they are published.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Regent Classic Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.