Friday 24 July 2015

Somewhere for the weekend: Hear the organ Handel played at Adlington Hall

The Organ at Adlington Hall
The organ at Adlington Hall
Adlington Hall in Cheshire has been in the Legh family since the 13th century. (The current owner is the 25th generation). The organ at Adlington Hall from the late 17th century where it seems to have been built in the 1690's to celebrate the wedding of John Legh (1668-1739) to Lady Isabella Robartes. Little changed since then, it was restored in 1958/9 by Noel Mander.

Tradition has it that Handel himself once played the Adlington organ, and even composed his famous harpsichord suite, The Harmonious Blacksmith, whilst staying at Adlington Hall. We know that Charles Legh was a firm friend of Handel’s, and it is almost certain that the composer stayed at the Hall in 1741-2, if not at other times. So it seems safe to assume he did play on the organ – the family would have asked him to, and he would certainly have been keen to do so. A few years later in 1747, the Gentleman’s Magazine published Charles Legh’s Hunting Song, and four years later, Handel set the song to music and presented it to Charles as a gift. The original manuscript can still be found in the Hall, complete with Handel’s signature too.

There is a chance to hear the organ on Saturday 1 August 2015 when it will be played by Gordon Stewart for an afternoon recital. Tickets are £20 and include cream tea! Just phone 01625 827595. Further information from Adlington Hall website.

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