Our Binns Organ

The magnificent organ of Providence United Reformed Church was presented to the church, together with the choir stalls, by James John Hadfield and his sons Thomas, Wright, Charles, Francis and William. Built in 1914 by the famous Leeds organ builder James Jepson Binns (1855 - 1928), it is one of the few of his instruments never to have been altered; the original patent pneumatic action still responds well, as can be heard on the two CDs recorded by Gordon Stewart, Chapel in the Valley and A Centenary Celebration.

Great
Bourdon 16
Open Diapason 8
Hohl Flute 8
Harmonic Flute 4
Principal 4
Fifteenth 2
Trumpet 8

Choir (enclosed)
Gamba 8
Lieblich Gedact 8
Dulciana 8
Flauto Traverso 4
Clarionet 8
Tremulant

Swell (enclosed)
Geigen Diapason 8
Rohr Flute 8
Viol d’Orchestra 8
Voix Celeste 8
Salicet 4
Dulciana Mixture 2 Ranks
Cornopean 8
Oboe 8
Tremulant

Pedal
Harmonic Bass 32
Open Diapason 16
Bourdon 16
Dolce Bass 16
Octave 8
Bass Flute 8

Couplers
Swell to Great
Swell to Choir
Choir to Great
Swell Octave
Swell Sub Octave
Choir Octave
Choir Sub Octave
Swell to Great Octave
Swell to Great Sub Octave
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal

Binns patent pneumatic action

The organ is tuned and maintained by Brian Jones of Merseyside Pipe Organs.

Gordon Stewart plays classical organ favourites

What a wonderful concert we had at Providence on Thursday 19th. The concert was part of the New Mills Festival and Gordon played to a packed church. Firstly, he reminded us of the precious gift of our Binns organ bought by five brothers, sons of the Hadfield family, local mill owners, who had the foresight to go to Leeds to the famous factory and in 1914 the organ was installed in Providence. What a day that must have been when it was first played in the church. It still has the ivory plate bearing the inscription ‘JJ Binns Patent Pneumatic Action’ and this is still working over 100 years later. The problems we are encountering now are with the pistons and all proceeds from the concert will be used to this restore them. Prior to the launch of the restoration fund we had a meeting when Gordon explained all the workings of the organ, with videos and photos taken of the pipe-work inside – well over 1000 pipes! He is planning to do this again in the future and we will let you know the date well in advance.
The concert opened with a march written by Scotson Clarke who was a priest but of all the music he wrote only his marches survived; Marche des Flambeaux was a rousing start. Gordon had asked for requests and we were not surprised that Handel’s ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’, Jeremiah Clarke’s ‘Trumpet Voluntary’, and Bach’s ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ were chosen. It was wonderful to watch on the screen Gordon’s hands playing on different manuals, particularly in the Bach. We don’t only enjoy wonderful organ music at Gordon’s concerts but are treated to many stories connected to the music. Apparently much of Bach’s music was lost when he fell out popularity. It’s hard to believe that Bach could ever be unpopular, when he wrote such music as his magnificent ‘Toccata and Fugue in D Minor‘, which was the next item. Gordon has recorded this many times, one of which is included on a CD recorded in America entitled ‘Spooky Music for Halloween’. He even receives an annual cheque for royalties!
The organ has many flute stops which were used in Haydn’s ‘Scherzando’. This was followed by ‘In a Monastery Garden’ by Ketelbey which is a very descriptive piece – we had birds singing on the flutes, the peace of the garden and the monks singing the Kyrie. Ketelbey’s music was so popular and he was the first musician to become a millionaire for his compositions which were arranged for a great variety of instruments, even a ukulele band. Sadly, he died in his eighties having moved to the Isle of Wight, with only 10 people attending his funeral, so it is good that today we can listen and enjoy his music which often brings a smile to our faces.
The following two pieces where composed by living musicians. Firstly, ‘Mozart Changes’ by Zsolt Gardonyi which was very jazzy and foot tapping, followed by ‘Prelude on an Irish Melody’ by Aaron Shows; the melody is sometimes known as the ‘Wexford Carol’. Aaron was born in 1989 and is now working in Hollywood, writing film music very successfully.
Well, of all the organ favourites Widor’s Toccata’ had to be included and this was a fitting finale to the concert. The applause was loud and long and Gordon gave us another of Aaron Shows’ compositions as an encore. This was a very rhythmic piece based on a Christmas carol sung during Advent in America.
The fund-raising is going well and over £500 was raised from the concert. Thank you everyone for helping us and a big ’thank you’ to Gordon for such a wonderful evening.
Gill Collins