Graham Thorp 18th century Thomas Parker pipe organ
Three Voluntaries, John Stanley (1713-1786)
Voluntary in G major Op.7 No.9 Largo – Vivace [Full organ]
Voluntary in E minor Op. 7 No.7 Adagio – Allegro [Solo cornet]
Voluntary in C major Op. 5 No.1 Adagio – Andante [Solo trumpet with Echo Hautboy] – Slow – Allegro [Solo Flute with Echo Stopped Diapason]
Concerto in G minor Op.13 No.2, Matthew Camidge (1774-1844) Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Gavotta
Two Short Pieces in F major, Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) Air – Gavotte
Prelude and Fugue in D major, Samuel Wesley
Graham Thorp, organ
Graham Thorp won an organ scholarship to Cambridge at the age of 16 and was one of the youngest organists at that time to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He studied the organ with Sir David Willcocks and Dr Peter le Huray as well as obtaining a degree in Music. During post-graduate studies, he had lessons with the internationally celebrated organist and harpsichordist, Geraint Jones. He gave numerous recitals, including one at King’s College, Cambridge.
He was Director of Music at Putney Parish Church, London for 25 years. While at Putney Graham was responsible for the installation of a classical organ by the Danish firm, Marcussen, and joined with a number of international recitalists in giving series of recitals on it. His work as a music teacher took up an increasing amount of his time. He was Director of Music for 23 years at Guildford High School and developed its reputation for excellence, diversity, inclusiveness and a forward-looking approach to music education. He also had wide experience of choral and orchestral conducting in both posts and led the school’s Choir and Symphony Orchestra on tours to Europe.
Now he has retired from music teaching Graham is able to spend more time performing and accompanying on the organ and piano. He enjoyed being able to return to giving organ recitals 2 years ago in Brittany and the UK. His activities since have included talks and recitals in the Guildford Spring and International Music Festivals and a concert in the Centre de Culture Européenne, St Jean d’Angély, Poitou-Charentes. Among his other interests, he is a trustee of the Guildford Institute, responsible for their Redevelopment Project, and Courses Mentor and President-Elect of the Surrey Association of Organists, developing a new educational and training aspect to their annual programme.
Restoration of the 1766 Thomas Parker pipe organ at St Mary & St Nicholas Church, Leatherhead
In 1989 there was a fire in Leatherhead parish church which, for this restoration project, proved providential. It rendered the Victorian Walker organ unusable, but did not touch the parts of the 1766 organ, which had been re-used and somewhat altered by Walker in 1873. These earlier Georgian parts were identified and stored under the supervision of Martin Renshaw, who also researched the organ's history.
It appeared that the organ was not made for Leatherhead, but was moved by J W Walker in 1843. It was originally made for Watford parish church, but Walker had taken it in part exchange for a new organ in 1841. A payment of £163 was made to Thomas Parker by the churchwardens of St Mary Watford in August 1766.
The pipe marks on the Leatherhead pipework, and the manufacturing style of the keys and pipes also show that they are by Parker. An increasing number of organs can be ascribed to him, but at present no church organs, though the large house organ built for Charles Jennens (librettist of Messiah) survives unaltered at Great Packington near Birmingham airport. This organ was used as the base reference for all the information missing at Leatherhead.
The organ was restored in 2007 as the culmination of a project which had been a long time in the planning. The funding mostly came through the Heritage Lottery Fund. For the church the project was directed by Mike Lewis. The opening concert was played on November 24th 2007 with James O'Donnell playing with the Brandenburg Sinfonia directed by Robert Porter.
Church Archivist Linda Heath has written a booklet about the organ which is available from the church. The specification of the organ and a restoration report with much technical information is available from the builders - Goetze & Gwynn. You can also find more about the history of the organs of this church, and its daughter church of All Saints, Leatherhead at: http://www.parishchurch.leatherheadweb.org.uk/parkerorgan/.