Letourneau pipe organ

Photo credit: The Border Mail
Photo credit: The Border Mail

On 14th September 1991, the Anglican Church of St Matthew in Albury, New South Wales, was gutted by fire. In rebuilding the church, the opportunity has been taken to enlarge the nave and to site the new organ in a west gallery.

In addition to accompanying traditional Anglican services with or without a choir, the new organ will be used for teaching purposes, for recitals, and for accompanying large-scale choral performances. These needs were carefully considered when drawing up the specification for the new organ.

The final specification was drawn up by the consultant, Ray Holland, in conjunction with Orgues Létourneau of Quebec, Canada. The result is an eclectic instrument capable of performing all the functions required of it. Although “modern romantic” in conception, all major schools of organ composition are well served by the comprehensive tonal design.

Both manuals and pedal have complete choruses to mixture. The tone is based on the French Montre, rather than the English Diapason or the German Prinzipal, and gives a clean silvery sound, as opposed to the harsh steely sounds we have heard from instruments in recent years.

Similarly, the chorus reeds are of Cavaillé-Coll type, speaking with a promptness that is unusual in this country. The carefully designed mixture work complements the reeds as well as capping the flue choruses with a controlled brilliance. The Voix Humaine stop, copied from a Cliquot example at Poitiers, can be used as a solo stop and even in chorus, in addition to its more usual combination with the Tremulant.

There is considerable variety in the flute stops throughout the organ. The flute stops in the Récit in association with the mutations enable a wide variety of solo combinations to be achieved, including the Cornet combination so necessary in classical French and German organ literature.

Although the specification was developed in English, the stop names have been en-graved in French – an indication that organists should expect something different from this beautifully executed work of art.

Addendum: In November 2007 the Voix humaine rank was replaced with a Letourneau supplied Hautbois 8’ rank which is proving better suited for general use and accompaniment. The Voix humaine is stored within the organ and will be reinstalled when funds permit. Donations towards this work would be very much appreciated, and should be designated for “The Organ Fund”.

View organ specification

The St. Matthew’s Pipe Organ by John Scott