Portsmouth Trumpet Stop Christening

Portsmouth Cathedral Organ’s new ‘Trompete de Maris’  Stop will be played in concert for the first time on Friday 30 September during the Cathedral Patronal Festival. The ‘Trumpet of the Sea was designed by Nicholson & Co, and installed in the summer.

The organ at Portsmouth Cathedral itself has an interesting story.  Originally designed by English composer, priest and organist, Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley, the organ was installed at Manchester Cathedral in 1861. When Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley was designing the organ for Manchester Cathedral he made a trip to Toledo, Spain. He was inspired by the ‘en-chamade’ style of Spanish trumpets – both visually and acoustically – and incorporated them in the design proposal for the organ built by Nicholson organ for Manchester.  ‘En chamade’ refers to powerfully voiced reed stops in a pipe organ that have been mounted horizontally, rather than vertically, in the front of the organ case, projecting out into the church or concert hall.  The Chapter of Manchester shied away from the proposal, preferring to keep the envisioned sound but to hide the trumpets away within the case.

When the organ was moved to Portsmouth in 1996, this solo reed was placed inside the East case, which unfortunately made it impossible to hear in the Nave. When the new West Great was added in 2001 there were insufficient funds to include a solo stop but the aspiration that one day a trumpet or similar solo stop would be added remained.  In 2015, Chapter commissioned and received full approval for a new set of solo reed pipes in the blind windows of the Nave Clerestory, with a design that is visually arresting as well as being acoustically excellent.  The name given to this new stop reflects the original Spanish inspiration.

Dr David Price, Director of Music and Organist and Master of the Choristers at Portsmouth Cathedral, said, “I’m overjoyed to see and hear this addition to the Portsmouth organ. It will be visually dramatic and acoustically exciting. It is a fitting memorial to David Ritchie who left money towards the completion of the Cathedral Organ ten years ago and to others in who’s memory generous donations have been given.”

To celebrate the completion of the 1861 Nicholson Organ and the unveiling of the Cathedral’s new en-chamade ‘Trompete de Maris’, Portsmouth Cathedral will be holding a series of evening concerts over the coming months.  The inaugural concert will be on Friday 30th September at 6.30pm, featuring the celebrated organist Gordon Stewart, who is Resident Organist at Huddersfield Town Hall.  Subsequent concerts will include Roger Sayer on Friday 24th November who is Organist and Director of Music at Temple Church, Adrian Lucas on Friday 26th January who is former Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, Andrew Lumsden on Friday 4th May who is Organist and Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral.  The penultimate concert in the series will be given by Dr David Price on Friday 6th July.

All ticket purchases can be made through Eventbrite, by searching for ‘Evening Organ Concert Series’ at Portsmouth Cathedral, or on the door the evening of the concert.  Tickets are £10, £8 concessions.

For further information, visit the Portsmouth Cathedral website at www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk or call 02392823300.