Dr. Roger Williams MBE, Haddo Arts Trustee, introduces us to the Willis organ in Haddo House Chapel.
The fine organ in the Chapel at Haddo House was built by Henry ‘Father’ Willis – the most renowned of British organ builders of the nineteenth century. An entry in a Day Book in the Haddo archives for May 30th. 1881, records ‘railway carriage of Organ from London, for Chapel ‘ at the cost of £39.16s.11d -a considerable sum.
The instrument is of three manuals (keyboards) and pedals, comprising 24 stops – 7 on the Swell, 7 on the Great, and 7 on the Choir with 3 on the pedals. It is fitted into the south side of the building, from where the sounds are clear and resonant. The organ has one highly important quality; unlike many other organs by this maker, this instrument has not been altered since it was installed, thus producing a genuine Willis sound, by turns colourful and exciting, with an overall singing sound.
The organ is in regular use – a tribute to the original builder, as also to the way it has been maintained – and will be heard at this year’s Harvest Festival Service on Sunday October 6th.