All Saints' Anglican Church, Rome
A growing Christian community in the heart of Rome finding and following Jesus in worship,
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Listen to some organ music, played by Titular Organist, Gabriele Catalucci Listen to some organ music, played by Titular Organist, Gabriele Catalucci

Walk Round Tour

The Organ

Like the church itself, the organ is unique in Rome in its Englishness, and deserves jealous care. Its value in the main acts of worship is manifest, but too easily taken for granted, specially perhaps by visitors from Anglo - Saxon backgrounds in various parts of the world. Nowadays, an organ of this size and complexity, subject to a rather unkind climate, and needing to be properly insured, is a major item in the calculations of a church council and those whom they represent.

The original instrument of 1894, standing north of the chancel (from which today's fine organ has been developed) was presented by the Revd. Wilfrid Stanton in these terms.

"In trust for the time being for the use of the
church and the benefit of the congregation."

It is still insured on a separate policy from that of the building in general, which belongs, together with the adjacent house, to the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

The donor's generous intention can best be discharged by the care with which each generation looks after the organ.

We still have the ornate document of specification drawn up by the makers, Peter Conacher of Huddersfield, Yorkshire - a firm still in business today. The price was about £1000 Stirling, a large sum at that time; and the plans had been supervised and countersigned by Professor Sir Herbert Oakley (1830 - 1903) who gave the opening recital on it in January 1894. (Three tunes composed by him survive in Hymns Ancient and Modern, Revised).

In 1913, the worshippers took on the great task of moving the organ to the gallery, and installing an electric blower. The recent arrival of electricity made that possible, and as a result of all this they were able to create the new side chapel.

In 1959, again at great expense, the original instrument had to be completely dismantled, and by August 1960 was rebuilt to new and finer specifications. Details of these are given at the foot of the page.

This time, the firm employed was Mascioni of Cuvio, a long established family concern with its works in the remote northwest of Italy. This company is known throughout Italy, and in Rome looks after both Anglican churches in addition to an instrument as distinguished as that of Santa Maria Maggiore.

The cost was some 12 million Lire, then equivalent to about £5,700 at the prevailing level of values.

In 1979, a major overhaul was strongly advised, and the Church Council set about raising from various sources, including their own efforts, a sum of 8.5 million lire, roughly £5,200 by this time. All the delicate valves were taken to Cuvio to be re-leathered. At All Saints' the remainder of the organ was totally dismantled and cleaned, the array of spotted tin pipes was polished, and after re-assembly the long job of re-tuning was accomplished.

For over forty years, a distinguished Titular Organist has graced the console, starting very young, and displaying the instrument's qualities before, during, and after the main Sunday service at 10.30 am.

Regular Organ Vespers are celebrated before evening prayer on the first Sunday of the month and recitals are given from time to time. Famous guest organists who have played include Fernando Germani, then of St. Peter's, Rome; Andre Marchal from Paris, who used this organ to give master classes; and Francis Jackson, organist of York Minster, who re-inaugurated the instrument after its most recent overhaul.

As rebuilt 1959/60, it has -

3 manuals of 61 keys,
1 pedal- board of 32 keys,
40 stops,
42 ranks,
2,392 pipes.

It is understandably not available for casual practice.


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