Sesquicentenary: 150 years of the historic J.W.Walker organ in St Stephen’s Richmond, Australia

In 1865, Mr William Philpott commissioned a three-manual tracker action organ from the well known English firm of organ builders, J.W. Walker & Sons for the ballroom of his home, Rose Hill, on the corner of Glenferrie and Toorak Roads, Malvern. The organ was sold not long afterwards to St Stephen’s, in 1869.
The organ has been in continuous use for the past 150 years for regular worship as well as for recitals and concerts. Its significance is growing year by year as other organs of its type are decommissioned and replaced, or are altered so much that their original characteristics are obscured. The St Stephen’s organ, in contrast, is in almost original condition, which is a tribute to the fine workmanship that went into its construction.
The time has come, however, when routine maintenance will no longer suffice and a complete restoration is required to ensure that we and those in years ahead are able to enjoy this remarkable instrument for another 150 years.

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To mark the 150th birthday or the organ and to launch a restoration appeal, the parish invited a number or musicians who are or who have been connected with St Stephen’s to contribute performances for a CD, which was launched on 29 November 2015 and which is now available for purchase through the parish office.

CDs are on sale for $25 plus postage. Contact the parish office to order.

Tony Way
Tony Way

Track list

Alexander  Guillmant — Paraphrase on Judas Maccabeus: ‘See the conquering hero comes’ Op. 90

Christopher Trikilis, organ
George Frederic Handel — ‘Ombra mai fu’ from Xerxes

Liane Keegan, contralto, Dennis Webster, organ.
Louis Vierne — Communion Op.8.

Tony Way, organ
Edward Elgar — Imperial March

Edwin Kwong, organ
John Joubert — Prelude on ‘Picardy’

Rhys Arvidson, organ
Johann Sebastian Bach — Liebster Jesu, Wir sind hier BWV 731.

Garry Warne, organ
Charles Villiers Stanford — Prelude V from ‘Six short preludes and fugues’

Rhys Arvidson, organ
Johann Sebastian Bach — Prelude in G Major BWV 541.

Edwin Kwong, organ
Jean Langlois  — Prélude modale Op. 6

Tony Way, organ
Johann Sebastian Bach — O mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross BWV 622.

Garry Warne, organ
Henry Purcell — Dido’s lament from ‘Dido and Aeneas’

Liane Keegan, contralto, Dennis Webster, organ.
Jean Langlois — Prélude au Kyrie from Homage à Frescobaldi

Stephen Baldwin, organ
Ivor Novello — Pray for me

Liane Keegan, contralto, Dennis Webster, organ
George Thalben-Ball — Tune in E

Edwin Kwong, organ
Herbert Howells — Tranquillo

Rhys Arvidson, organ
Louis Vierne — Communion from Tryptique pour grand Orgue

Stephen Baldwin, organ
Camille Saint-Saens arr. A Guillmant — The Swan

Christopher Trikilis, organ
Johann Sebastian Bach — Fantasia in C Minor BWV 562

Tony Way, organ
Fela Sowande — Pastourelle for the organ

Christopher Trikilis, organ
Healey Willan — Chorale prelude on ‘Vulpius’

Stephen Baldwin, organ
Total playing time 74’25”

The musicians

RHYS ARVIDSON is the Organist at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill, an organist at St Francis’ Lonsdale Street and the director of the St Francis’ Youth Choir. Rhys spent four months as locum organist at St Stephen’s from late 2008 to early 2009.
STEPHEN BALDWIN studied organ with Ian Harrison (Melbourne Grammar) and Lance Hardy (St Paul’s Cathedral) and was appointed Organist of St Alban’s North Melbourne in December 1966, at age 15. Subsequent appointments include St Oswald’s Glen Iris (1970-1977), St John’s East Malvern (1977-1987) and St James’ Cathedral Townsville (1993-2008). He is currently Director of Music at Christ Church St Kilda.

keegan, liane
Liane Keegan

LIANE KEEGAN is one of Australia’s finest dramatic contraltos. Numerous Operatic roles sung with State Opera of South Australia and Opera Australia, English National Opera,  Edinburgh International Festival, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Deutsches Symphonie, Theater Hagen, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera North, Victorian Opera. Concert appearances with the SSO, WASO, QSO, Orchestra Victoria, the Auckland Philharmonia, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

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Edwin Kwong

EDWIN KWONG is the Organist and Director of Music of St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Burnley. In 2014, at the age of 18, he became the Inaugural Organ Scholar of Queen’s College, University of Melbourne. Edwin is currently a student of Thomas Heywood, present director of music at St Andrew’s Brighton.

CHRISTOPHER TRIKILIS is one of Australia’s leading young organists. In demand as solo performer and accompanist, he performs across Australia, Europe and North America. He is a former organist of St Stephen’s, and a co-founder of annual festival ‘Historic Organs on Richmond Hill’.

Christopher Trikilis
Christopher Trikilis

GARRY WARNE AM is the current parish organist at St Stephen’s. He has previously served as organist at Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne and in the parishes of Holy Advent Armadale and St Mary’s North Melbourne.

TONY WAY is director of music at Melbourne’s historic St Francis’ Church and leads an active life as church musician, organist, composer and reviewer. In 2001 he was commissioned by Fr Ian Brown to compose a setting of the Eucharist celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of St Stephen’s.

Fr Dennis Webster
Fr Dennis Webster

Fr DENNIS WEBSTER began his music studies in Penguin, Tasmania. Awarded a State Education Department studentship, he studied Music and Education at the University of Tasmania. Whilst at the Conservatorium, he studied organ at St David’s Cathedral, itself the possessor of another 3 manual Walker organ, although greatly modified now. Whilst studying Divinity at Trinity College, Dennis was privileged to work with Peter Godfrey and Christopher Dearnley. Currently Vicar of St Stephen’s, Dennis is a recognised composer, and very keen to foster a healthy music life in the community through the Church.