THE ORGAN APPEAL at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral has been completed but
Please help repair our……” is a familiar refrain from Churches. How could it be otherwise? Churches were often built by, and always equipped for, whole communities and need help from the whole community – which uses them at significant moments in individuals’ lives – for exceptional maintenance. That help comes neither from Government nor the Church of England.
This is partly so that the organ can continue to play its part in worship. Week by week, God’s praises are sung as part of the regular round of Cathedral worship. A far wider congregation hears the organ at weddings and at funerals and memorial services. (Malta was at the centre of a theatre of war and, if the veterans of that war are fewer in number than they used to be, many of their children and grandchildren still come to honour their memory.)
Then, too, the Cathedral is a regular destination for local and foreign choirs and recitalists. The organ is used, and needed, for their concerts. Cathedral, University, school and community choirs come to perform here There is a history of collaboration with the Manoel Theatre, which is the home of the National Orchestra, and other concerts under their auspices are given.
There is an ancient tradition of Cathedrals as places of education. Malta has no choir school, but the Cathedral has a long tradition of using the organ for benefit of local young people in teaching and practicing and examining. Without such traditions, there would be no organists for future generations. Rebuilding the instrument allows this to continue to the benefit of our children and their children, both Anglican and Roman Catholic.
This Cathedral, which was built by Queen Adelaide, is younger that its organ which has a fine case by Fr Smith the famous organ builder built in 1684, which was very probably played by Handel while it was still in Chester Cathedral. He was on the way to Dublin for the first performance of the Messiah.
A passage from that work is regularly played at the annual Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols and the work itself has often been performed in St Paul’s. Your generosity will go beyond devotion beyond artistic value and beyond usefulness: it will maintain a link through the centuries with one of our greatest composers and a tradition of music – making that too valuable and beautiful to lose.
We thank you for your contributions
Please keep them coming to maintain and develop our new instrument
So, “Please help maintain our ORGAN”
St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral Organ
- The Organists at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral:
- Dr Hugo Agius Muscat MD MSc LRSM Cert RCO
- Mr Philip Gale
The Organist in Gozo
Mr Peter Thomas 99745216
HISTORY OF THE ORGAN
The first organ in St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, Valletta (which was consecrated in November 1844) was a rebuild by Gray and Davison of a late 17th century organ by “Father” Bernard Smith. This organ was originally located in Chester Cathedral in England and was reputed to have been played by George F. Handel on his way to Dublin for the first performance of his “Messiah”. This organ was rebuilt by the same firm in 1886, and then again by Goll of Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1905.
During 1949, the Pro-Cathedral underwent extensive refurbishment, including the re-orientation of the interior by 180 degrees. A new chancel was constructed, incorporating the Altar, the War Memorial, the Bishop’s throne, the choir and canon stalls and the case of the Father Smith organ. At this time the whole organ was rebuilt by the firm Hill & Son & Norman & Beard. The rebuild incorporates some of the pre-existing British and Swiss pipework.
The organ case survives intact from the previous instruments.