The Organs at St Francis
The Digital Organ (temporary)
The Viscount digital console installed in the former nun’s chapel to the side of the sanctuary currently provides the accompaniment for the choir and congregation in the liturgies at St Francis. It was installed in 1998 when the transept instrument (see below) was deemed too small to accompany the choir and congregation in the present situation. Whilst fulfilling the requirements at present, it is hoped that in the near future a pipe organ of significant size and quality will be able to replace this instrument in accordance with article 120 of Sacrosanctum Concilium (see below).
The Specification of the Viscount Instrument is as follows:
Viscount Jubilate 232
Specification: Pedal C- g’ Kontra Bass 16’ Subbass 16’ Oktavebass 8’ Rohrgedackt 8’ Oktave 4’ Mixtur 4 fach Posaune 16’ Klarine 4’ MIDI
Manual I: (C-c””) Bourdon 16’ Prinzipal 8’ Gedackt 8’ Oktave 4’ Rohrflöte 4’ Superoktave 2’ Kornett 4 fach Mixtur 5 fach Fagott 16’ Trompete 8’ Tremulant MIDI
Manual II: (C-c””) Bourdon 8’ Gamba 8’ Vox Celeste 8’ Prinzipal 4’ Flöte 4’ Nasard 2 2/3’ Rohrflöte 2’ Terz 1 3/5’ Zimbel 4 fach Oboe 8’ Tremulant MIDI
Couplers : II/I II/Ped I/Ped
Accessories: (!) 6 Memory levels with 6 Adjustable Thumb pistons General Enclosed Chimes Tutti General Cancel Variable Tremulant Transposer
Temperament: Equal I, Equal II, Kirnberger, Werkmeister, Pythagorean, Meantone, Vallotti.
Assisted Pedal: Alternative Voicing (Baroque/Romantic)
Adjustable Volume for: Manual I Pedal Console Speaker (Master) Digital Reverb.
The Transept Organ
Though in good working order, this organ was rarely used in recent times because it was designed for a much smaller church, and could no-longer meet the liturgical needs of our parish. The 1980 refurbishment and re-location of the present pipe organ from the back gallery to the transept happened during the renovations of the church. The rebuilt organ was, at that trime, re-dedicated to former organist of the church Despina Zaracosta (1915- 1995) at the completion of the renovations.
The original maker, date of installation and much of previous history of this small organ is currently unknown. It is an example of “old wine in a new cask” – the building frame, windchest, manual action and wooden pipework probably dating from c.1850, but the case is an early 20th century replacement, and the metal pipes and the Bourdon probably date from the same time.
In 2015, during major renovations of the church, this historic pipe organ was dismantled and stored temporarily in the church gallery, and then reassembled in the West gallery in 2016. Organ builder Peter Jewkes remarked that “Its present incarnation is by John Holroyd (Sydney agent for Norman & Beard – cf book “Historic Organs of NSW”). The Violin Diapason and Principal ranks probably date from his time, and are by Palmer of London – the Rolls Royce of pipemakers in the period, and definitely the best in the little organ. The wooden pipes are much earlier, and not of brilliant construction it must be said, though the fact that the 2′ ones are wooden all the way to the top note is extremely rare for the period (or indeed any period).”
Manual: (C-f”’) Violin diapason 8 Stopped diapason 8 Geigen principal 4 Piccolo 2
Pedal: (C-c’) Bourdon 16
Coupler Keys to pedals Compass, 54/25
Relevant Ecclesial documents:
- In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things. But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.
CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 4, 1963