AN organ from a redundant chapel in Huddersfield is to enjoy a fresh lease of life in the home of one of Holland's leading recitalists. Jacques van Oortmerssen, an organist in Amsterdam and a lecturer at Gothenburg University, has acquired the two-manual Conacher from Upper Heaton Chapel, near Kirkheaton.
He has a particular affection for the sound of the English instruments and this one will replace a house organ he commissioned from a Dutch builder some years ago.
The Conacher, aptly enough, was originally built for a private residence, Farnley Hall, and later moved to Upper Heaton, where it has remained mute in the boarded-up building for over a decade.
David Wood of Wood of Huddersfield says: "Jacques rang one to day to ask if we knew of any small organ English house organs that might be available. "By chance, we were looking for a home for this Peter Conacher from Upper Heaton. He came across to see it and fell in love with it. We shall soon remove it before shipping it over to him to put in a new house he is having built."
The organ has seven speaking stops (three great, three swell plus a 16ft pedal bourdon), but by virtue of its original location, its burr walnut case is of unusual elaboration and includes carvings of birds.
"It was built for a large gentleman's residence so it is voiced for a room but its most notable aspect is its appearance.
"It's a cabinet maker's case rather than an organ builder's case and when cleaned and restored it will look very fine," says Wood.
The date of the organ has not yet been established but it is known that the pipework is exclusively French and probably by Zimmerman of Paris which Conacher used extensively at one period.
Jacques van Oortmerssen is currently embarked series of Bach recordings on important historic European instruments for Vanguard Classics. His disc featuring the Dorian Toccata and Fugue was reviewed in the last Clarion.