Robert Ampt Plays the Hill Grand Concert Organ of Sydney Town Hall N.S.W. Australia

By Hildreth, James | The American Organist, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Robert Ampt Plays the Hill Grand Concert Organ of Sydney Town Hall N.S.W. Australia


Hildreth, James, The American Organist


ROBERT AMPT PLAYS THE HELL GRAND CONCERT ORGAN OF SYDNEY TOWN HALL N.S.W. AUSTRALIA. V/160 organ of William HUl and Son (1886-90), restored by Roger Pogson (1973-83). Priory PRCD 6012. Priory.org.uk; saIes@priory.org.uk. When it was installed and inaugurated by William T. Best in 1890, die monumental Hill organ of Sydney Town Hall was the largest in the world. Although it has long since forfeited that honor, it remains one of the world's great concert organs. It is also one of the most remarkable. Certainly, it was a paradigm of engineering when it was built, rivaling the work of Willis and other prevailing builders. It is significant that the instrument as it now stands is nearly identical to its original condition, both tonally and mechanically. Particularly notable is the tubular-pneumatic action (wisely rebuilt, not replaced), which is remarkably responsive to the high velocity of virtuosic passagework. The other distinguishing feature is the full-length, controversial 64' Contra Trombone, which contributes less tone than presence. Although the stoplist reveals a redundancy of certain voices and a lack of solo mutations or a Cornet, the organ is rich in tonal variety. The principal choruses, capped by abundant mixtures, are clear and coherent, dominating the full ensemble, which is bright, steely, fully balanced from bottom to top, and remarkably clear. One is struck by die colossal power of the full organ, yet the instrument also boasts many delicate, beautiful quiet registers. …

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Robert Ampt Plays the Hill Grand Concert Organ of Sydney Town Hall N.S.W. Australia
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