Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Copeman Hart Organ

Well known and respected Scottish organists Frikki Walker, Dr James Hunter, Matt Edwards and Chris Nickol were amongst the first players to experience the new four manual Copeman Hart organ recently installed in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall during its first public outing. They were joined by around sixty other organists, some of which played whilst others simply marvelled at the quality of sound and console build.

Proceedings were started with an introduction to the whole seventy six stop instrument by one of its designers Professor Ian Tracey, Organist Titulaire at Liverpool Cathedral, who demonstrated each division in turn from the quietest Swell strings supported by a soft 32’ through to the hair-splitting sounds of full organ.

Chris Nickol commented “The sound is musically convincing, especially the 32-foot stops; the instrument is a worthy alternative to a pipe organ.” After playing, Frikki commented on microphone to all attendees that he found the console ‘exceptionally comfortable’ with an ‘excellent keyboard action’. Matt Edwards, Organist at Thomas Coats Memorial Church in Paisley, thought that the attention to detail was astounding, with a console that many organ builders would be jealous of! He added “The sound is very impressive, especially on some of the quieter ranks. The choir 8′ flute and Trompette were especially beautiful”.

Dr James Hunter, Director of Music Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, said “This organ ably demonstrates the huge advances made in recent years in sampling and speaker technology. The sound is magnificent, truly realistic and fills the vast Concert Hall effortlessly. It is a superb instrument which contains all the organ colours that you could wish for, an ideal instrument for the venue and for the many varied styles that will required of it.”

The most common question from those attending concerned the speaker locations with all seventy four (66.8) being placed high up on either side of the hall out of sight behind baffles. Interestingly, some thought that the instrument was a combination organ and wanted to know where the pipes were located.

A truly memorable day was rounded off by a formal organ recital by Professor Tracey to an audience of over 350 who were extremely generous with their applause at the end, with Ian then performing an encore. Being exceptionally versatile, the instrument will be an excellent resource for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, for choral concerts, organ recitals, civic events and graduations.

Funding for the instrument was obtained in quick order by exceptional efforts by Raymond Williamson from the Merchants House of Glasgow who worked with many trusts and individuals who responded to his appeal. The installation in July 2015 helping to celebrate the hall’s 25th anniversary.