The T.C. Lewis Organ
Built by T.C. Lewis & Co. for the Vineyard Congregational Church in Richmond – London –, the organ was substantially modified throughout its lifetime, especially in the second half of the 20th century. In 2015 it was moved to the PIME Church in Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII. The works included the provision of electric action, a new case and building frame and the addiction of few stops without ever distorting the typical mid-victorian aesthetic of the instrument.
This organ has a distinct personality and proves a textbook exposition of Lewis’s view about the art of organ-building. The instrument possesses a good variety of beautiful quiet stops, from the whisper of the Dulciana to the charming Viole de Gambe. The flutes are varied to a degree: the Claribel sounds mellow as like as a solo stop, while the Traverso has a luscious richness and a Cavaillé-Coll-like crescendo in the treble. The string voicing is assured and as varied in character as the flutes. Foundations sound confident: the Geigen Principal has a marvellous telling voice quality, as well as the delightful small Open Diapason – moved to the Choir – while the Open Diapason on the Great has an exceedingly vibrant tone. The reeds add nicely colour to the ensemble, giving a free, splashy sound, but avoiding the devasting power characteristic of Cavaillé-Coll. The Oboe displays its own fascinating French inspiration and the Clarionet and the Willis’s Orchestral Oboe on the Choir provide a solo colour. The bell-like grandeur and the harmonic brilliance is a sound of astonishing magnificence.