The Great Hall Swansea University 2015
In early 2015 we won the commission with a delivery and installation date in November the same year. We were selected by the University having demonstrated to them the quality of instruments installed in the Guildhall School of Music and Highgate School.
In November we completed the installation of our 3 manual digital organ commissioned for the brand new concert hall on the New Jersey Marine Campus site of Swansea University.
This was a complex project from the outset with the organ added after the initial design concept was agreed. Consequently the first site meeting in June was to plan placing speaker enclosures, a most critical part of the design of any digital or pipe organ installation.
For a more detailed account and pictures of the installation visit our blog post.
Dr Ian Rutt Director of Music Swansea University Singleton Park
In September 2015, Swansea University opened a new campus adjacent to the grand sweep of Swansea Bay. The centrepiece of the new campus is the Great Hall – an imposing building containing a 600-seat auditorium.
The hall is used for concerts, graduation ceremonies, public lectures, dinners and other high-profile events. During the planning process, it became clear that an organ would be a desirable addition to the hall, and that a digital instrument would be the most appropriate choice.
The brief was for a versatile instrument, capable of accompanying a choir, playing ceremonial music, and being a convincing solo instrument. A recognisably British specification was needed, but with sufficient breadth to allow the performance of a broad range of music. Naturally, excellent realism of the organ sound and a high quality of finish of the console were essential requirements.
A very important consideration was that the installation of the organ had to take place during the fit-out of the auditorium, meaning that the organ builder would need to work closely with the fit-out contractor and, crucially, determine speaker chamber positions before being able to hear the final acoustic of the room.
After considering several leading digital organ builders, we concluded that Viscount Organs was the only company capable of meeting all these requirements. The draft specification suggested by Jeremy Meager was carefully thought out, and we were impressed with his understanding of tonal design – clearly the result of many years’ experience as an organist. Discussion with Jeremy resulted in a small number of stops being added to the specification, but these were minor changes.
It was essential that the organ console should complement the fine interior of the Great Hall. The console custom-made for us by Renatus is beautifully designed and finished, and is very ergonomic to play. The Viscount team were fastidious in meeting our detailed needs regarding the console layout, and kept us informed at each stage.
The installation of the organ was perhaps the most challenging part of the job. The organ had to be brought into the building several meters above the ground, without the convenience of a lift big enough to take the console. After a somewhat hair-raising experience with a long-armed forklift, the installation had to be undertaken in the midst of a building site, with workmen, dust and noise all around. We were very grateful for the patience and perseverance of Jeremy, David Mason and the rest of the team, working in very difficult circumstances, installing the organ successfully, and even managing to do some basic tonal finishing at the same time.
Since installation, we have benefited from several further visits from Jeremy and David, who have refined the voicing of the instrument significantly over several days of work. Concert halls are always challenging for organ builders, but Viscount have worked hard to give us the best possible sound, and the final result is very pleasing and musically satisfying.
It has been a pleasure to work with Jeremy and David on this landmark project, and the organ is a distinguished addition to our new hall.
|Pedal 14||Great 15||Swell 15||Choir 11|
|Double Open Wood||32||Double Diapason||16||Lieblich Gedackt||16||Contra Dulciana||16|
|Open Wood||16||Open Diapason I||8||Geigen Diapason||8||Open Diapason||8|
|Open Metal||16||Open Diapason II||8||Chimeny Flute||8||Dulciana||8|
|Violone||16||Caribel Flute||8||Vox Angelica||8||Principal||4|
|Principal||8||Stopped Diapason||8||Geigen Principal||4||Koppel Flute||4|
|Bass Flute||8||Principal||4||Wald Flute||4||Nazard||2-2/3|
|Open Flute||4||Harmonic Flute||4||Fifteenth||2||Flagelot||2|
|Trombone||16||Sharp Mixture||III||Corno di Bassetto||16||Clarinet||8|
|Bassoon||16||Double Trumpet||16||Oboe||8||Fanfare Trumpet||8|
|Great to Pedal||Swell to Great||Swell Octave||Swell to Choir|
|Swell to Pedal||Choir to Great||Swell Sub Octave|
|Choir to Pedal||Swell Octave to Great|
|Gt & Ped Pistons combined||Swell sub Octave to Great|