THE BISHOP JOHN KELLY MEMORIAL PIPE ORGAN

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HISTORY OF THE BISHOP KELLY MEMORIAL ORGAN

The pipe organ in St Patrick's Church is one of Australia's most important historic instruments, dating back to the 1860s.Mentone-St-Patrick-15A

Built in England by Frederick W Nicholson in 1862, it was imported to Australia for the Congregational Church, Prahran and was the largest instrument in the Colony of Victoria at that time. Following its installation, the grand opening occurred in February 1863 by Melbourne City Organist Charles E Horsley, conductor W Clarke and a 50-strong choir. During the 1980’s, the church (by then Prahran Uniting Church) closed and was purchased by Prahran City Council for use as a performing arts space. The organ was gifted to St Patrick’s on the condition that it be restored for use in worship, and was placed in storage while plans were made for its restoration. Over 5 years of planning, research and meticulous restoration with assistance from the Organ Historical Trust of Australia resulted in the instrument being brought from an unplayable state into the fine instrument that so richly enhances parish liturgies. Restoration work for the organ was completed by “Pipe Organ Reconstructions” of The Rocks, New South Wales.

The 1558-pipe organ remains as it was designed, except that the case was duplicated to allow it to fit in the gallery at Mentone (and not block the fine Gabriel Loire stained glass window), and a 16’ pedal Trombone (ex Scots’ Church, Melboure) was added. The Swell division and Pedal Trombone are located in the left case, and Great and Pedal Divisions are located in the right case. The console is also located in the right case. The sound is bright and bold, and few instruments of this era boast a reed, mixture and 16’ rank on each manual, resulting in incredible flexibility to the performer and authentic adaption to many styles of repertoire.

The dedication and opening concert for the organ was held on 13th August 1999, and featured performances by The Australian Army Band directed by Captain Andrea Davey, and guest organist Professor Ian Tracey (Liverpool, UK). At its re-dedication in Mentone, the organ was dedicated to Bishop John Anthony Kelly, Parish Priest at St Patrick's 1973-1986 and auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.

Each year, a recital is given in his honour to showcase the capabilities of the organ beyond its normal duties of hymn playing and leading the singing, and an Advent Organ Concert series featuring prominent local organists performing is held each Saturday leading up to Christmas. The organ has encouraged a strong musical tradition to be established at the parish, drawing on the full array of the Church’s musical patrimony (including chant, polyphony and hymnody led by the parish’s mixed-voice choir).

Further technical information and photos of the Bishop Kelly Memorial Organ can be found on the website of OHTA by clicking here.

 

 

RECENT RECORDINGS

The CD DIAPASON celebrates the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Bishop Kelly Pipe Organ in St Patrick’s Mentone. This CD was released in early 2013.

One of Australia’s most significant historic instruments, it was built by Frederick Nicholson for the Independent Church in Prahran (now Chapel off Chapel). Organ duo Christopher Trikilis and Dr Gordon Atkinson team up to explore the rich sounds of the Nicholson organ – for two and four hands! Music by Vierne, Walther, Hesse, Bonelli and others.

Further details of this CD (including to purchase) are available from the Move Records website.

 

Preview tracks:

Louis Vierne: Trois Improvisations (1929) – Cortège Click to play
Johann Gottfried Walther: Concerto in B minor (after Vivaldi LV 133) – Allegro Click to play
Julije Bajamonti: Sonata in F Click to play

 

 

 

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DVD: HISTORIC PIPE ORGANS OF MELBOURNE - VOLUME 1

 

This DVDs has been released by Assemble Edit Productions and is part of a series sponsored by the Organ Historical Trust of Australia. Further details (including to purchase online) are available from the Assemble Edit website.

 

 


 

Christopher Trikilis performing Benjamin Carr's 'Variations to the Siciilian Hymn' on the Bishop Kelly Memorial Organ.

 

 

Christopher Trikilis performing Christian Hellemann's 'Cantilene for Organ' on the Bishop Kelly Memorial Organ.

 

 

ORGAN SPECIFICATION

GREAT SWELL PEDAL
16' Bourdon
8'   Open Diapason
8'   Stopped Diapason                
8'   Keraulophon TC
4'   Principal
4'   Flute
2 2/3' Twelfth
2'   Fifteenth
IV   Mixture
8'   Trumpet

16' Bourdon
8'   Open Diapason
8'   Clarabella
8'   Salicional
4'   Principal
4'   Flute
2'   Piccolo
IV   Mixture
8'   Horn
8'   Oboe

Tremulant
Swell Octave

16'  Open Bass
16'  Stopped Bass
8'    Principal Bass                     
16'  Trombone

Pedal Octave
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal