Saturday saw the re-dedication of the newly restored 138 year old historic organ at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
Dr David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe led the Special Service of Solemn Evensong where the organ dating back to 1880 was once again “awoken”. He described it as one of the “musical treasures of this territory”.
The service saw the participation of the representatives of other Christian denominations in Gibraltar. Guests included Education Minister John Cortes, Opposition members Edwin Reyes and Roy Clinton, Chief Justice Anthony Dudley and president of the Hindu Community Haresh Budhrani.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is described as the most significant of buildings in the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe and the provision of music, in particular provided by the organ, is of great importance.
The service was followed by a short introduction to the restoration work from the organ builder Andrew Cooper, of Andrew Cooper & Co and a recital by the Maestro di Cappella of St John’s Co-Cathedral: the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta Hamish Dustagheer.
Adrian Mumford, Church of England Organs Adviser for the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe and Honorary Precentor and Minor Canon of Holy Trinity Cathedral, who had carried out the initial report for the restoration of this musical instrument back in 2014 told the Chronicle it had been tremendously exciting to see the project having been completed.
The restorers, he said, had given it a total workout and the concert had revealed its new vibrant sound with “every possible colour combination” being used.
Mr Mumford said this was a classic organ of the Victorian period which had proven to be a great survivor.
“It is just how it would have sounded originally, and in the Cathedral the acoustic is so wonderful for music and it just sounds all the more glorious.”
Although there are many Victorian organs that have survived, Mr Mumford, said that a great organ required many ingredients and this one “was well up there and it is a great thing to hear”.
During the Service Mr Mumford played the world premiere of the Gibraltar March for Organ commissioned especially for the occasion from French Canadian composer Denis Bedard.
Mr Dustagheer, the first to fully appreciate the changes having played on it previously, said he was honoured to have been the person to have welcomed it back into the Cathedral.
“To have seen its transformation and to see it come back to life, after years of hard service in a very arthritic state, now restored to its former glory, is wonderful,” he said. The recital included works by Elgar, Pierne, Bach, Liszt, Szymanowski and Walton.
But the person who notices all the changes more than anyone is the actual organist at the Cathedral David Gilson. Come March he will have been playing the organ for 50 years.
“It sounds magnificent,” he said after the concert.
Looking forward to playing on it he added: “it sounds so much richer and cleaner and one does not have to work so hard now. Before some of the notes were not functioning and I had to play around them. Now it will be very different,” he added.