St Paul's Anglican College
University of Sydney
City Road, Newtown
D.A. Flentrop 1971-72 (2/15 mechanical)
Photo: Alan Caradus (April 2021)
From SOJ May 1972, August/September 1989, Winter 2001:
The organ in the modern chapel, located in a west gallery was built by the Dutch organ company, D.A. Flentrop of Zandaam, Netherlands and is the only example of their work in this country. It was erected in 1971-2 and is neo-classical in style.Prior to its shipment to Australia its opening recital was given on Dutch TV at Christmas 1971 by Albert de Klerk.
Photo: Trevor Bunning 1984
David Drury writes (early 2020):
St Paul’s College Chapel organ to sing again after refurbishment
The St Paul’s College Chapel organ was built in 1971 by the Dutch firm of Dirk A. Flentrop and made possible by the generosity of the late Sir Alexis Albert CMG and his family. Sir Alexis was in College (1926-28), as were his three sons: Robert 1953-56, Ted 1956–58 and Tony 1958-62.
Our organ, brought out from Holland in 1972 and dedicated after its installation in June of that year, is regarded as one of the finest instruments of its period and of considerable musical value. The Flentrop firm has instruments in venues all around the world, but this opus was the only one he built for Australia.
The instrument is from the Organ Reform Movement ideology which takes the mechanical and tonal basis back to classical principles. The organ (except for the blower and console lights) is entirely mechanical.
It has given near faultless service for over 48 years and is used every week in semester to accompany the Chapel choir in a fully sung Choral Evensong or Eucharist service. The organ is used almost every day and is a superb practise and teaching instrument.
Including 880 pipes, it has undergone a complete restoration by the Sydney firm of P.D.G. Jewkes. The pipework was in excellent condition apart from 8 or so large canistered flute basses which had collapsed around the mouths. These were sent to Tim Gilley in Melbourne for repair. The action was in good condition and had shown little wear and tear. Everything was very dirty though and required a considerable amount of cleaning.
The soundboards were dismantled. Tables, slides, upper boards and racks were all carefully cleaned and checked. The facade pipes were removed and cleaned, then all mouths applied with gold leaf. The keyboards were returned to Germany for full restoration by their original manufacturers Aug Laukhuff. The natural keys were buffed and new pear wood sharp keys fitted with Mammoth ivory overlays. All bushings replaced and new centre and front (bat) pins fitted. The upper manual was always the best action to practise on. The Great touch had become worn and clunky. Both keyboards are now a joy to play and beautifully even in touch. The pedal board was fully restored, with all felts replaced and the sharp keys re-pieced with matching Oak. The tuning access panels were removed from behind the Great pipework and re-made then fitted between the front and rear sections of the casework, thus improving tonal egress of both Swell and Great divisions, as well as facilitating more accurate tuning. This excellent woodwork looks as though original as has greatly benefitted both tuner and musician!
The original voicing and tonal character has been meticulously preserved, with careful regulation by Peter Jewkes on site. The swell Kromhoorn stop has always been the least successful stop on the organ. It was not a good solo or chorus reed and unstable in tuning. The swell box houses a 4’ Prestant and the reed had wooden boots, so there was room for a half-length resonator reed. A new larger-scale, half-length resonator rank has been scaled to complement and balance the existing flue stops, whilst being musically more versatile than the original very small-scaled fractional length stop (which has been archived at the College for posterity, enabling reversal of this alteration if required in the future). In a much used and heard instrument of only 15 stops, this will fulfil the requirements of both solo and chorus registers with significant musical quality.
We also took the opportunity to add a cymbalstern for extra sparkle! The Dutch nomenclature is Cimbelster or Klokster. The casework could have been designed to accommodate this as the star looks perfect above the central flat in the large decorative pipe shade. A suitable pedal will operate the device. The traditionally-shaped bells are hand turned from solid brass and tuned, all housed in an Oak expression box.
The works are being funded through the generosity, once again of Old Pauline, philanthropist and huge support to the musical world in Sydney - Robert Albert AO – for which the College community is immensely grateful.
Photos above: Alan Caradus (April 2021)
The former Kromhoorn and its successor in situ.
Photos above: Peter Jewkes (April 2021)
Peter Jewkes writes (SOJ Summer 2020-21):Work is nearing completion on a lengthy programme of renovation, cleaning and overhaul of the college’s famous Flentrop organ. Recent items completed have included addition of a Klokster (“bell star” in Dutch, otherwise known as a Cymbelstern in German) made from 5 cast brass bells. The splendid tone of the bells adds another dimension to the organ, and at times accompanies both “early” music such as one would typically expect, as well as the occasional surprise during college organist David Drury’s improvisations! Work will shortly commence on the installation of a new 8’ Kromhoorn, to replace the very small scale fractional length original, and provide slightly more body and cohesion as the organ’s only reed stop. As always in such situations, the original pipes will be archived for posterity at the college.
Peter Jewkes writes (SOJ Autumn 2021):
Work has now concluded on the 1971 Flentrop organ in the chapel at St Paul's College, the University of Sydney, with the installation of a new Kromhoorn 8’ stop. The fine pipework was imported from Killinger Pipes of Germany, after several freight delays due to COVID issues. The generous scale was calculated between Peter Jewkes and Christoph Ulmer, the Director of Killinger, in order to achieve the best possible blend and balance with the existing stops, without compromising the organ’s existing “period” qualities. The new pipes are of high lead content “black metal” like the organ’s existing pipework, fitted with felted metal regulators. The original slender fractional-length Kromhoorn will be archived for posterity at the College.
Pictured below are the new pipes, rackboards, upperboards and stays, at the Jewkes Works at Ermington.
The specification is:
Positief - Hoofdwerk
Positief - Pedaal
Hoofdwerk - Pedaal
Photo: Trevor Bunning 1984