Inaugural pipes concert

The new trumpet pipes in Portsmouth Cathedral  Credit: Jonty Bloom
The new trumpet pipes in Portsmouth Cathedral Credit: Jonty Bloom

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THE next time you visit Portsmouth Cathedral, take a look above the west door – our big main entrance.

Close to the ceiling, you’ll see two sets of brand new organ pipes.

Stay for one of our special services and you’ll hear the amazing difference they make to our worship.

These pipes are designed to sound like a fanfare of trumpets, and we intend to use them at very special moments in the Christian calendar – Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

They give extra variety for those playing the organ for worship or as part of concerts.

They can be incredibly loud, and can give us exactly the right kind of rousing climax at the end of a hymn or a piece of classical music.

We’re calling this set of pipes the Trompete de Maris or Trumpet of the Sea, and they were completed earlier this month.

There’s an inaugural concert at 6.30pm on Saturday, September 30 featuring celebrated organist Gordon Stewart, resident organist at Huddersfield Town Hall.

The new trumpets will be dedicated during worship on Sunday.

And there will be a series of other organ concerts over the next few months to showcase this new addition to our cathedral’s excellent musical tradition.

The details are on our website.

Although these trumpets are brand new, they fit right in with the cathedral’s existing organ.

It was designed by Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley and built by John Nicholson for Manchester Cathedral in 1861, who originally wanted to include Spanish-style trumpets – powerful trumpet-style pipes projecting horizontally into the church.

When Manchester Cathedral commissioned a new instrument, this organ went initially to a church in Bolton.

And when that church closed, the Nicholson organ was bought by our cathedral.

Despite various enhancements over the years, these kind of trumpet pipes had never been installed in our cathedral before.

But with a bequest from David Ritchie and donations from others, work began in January and was recently completed.  

We believe the Trumpet de Maris provides a contemporary addition to the cathedral whilst enabling a stimulating expansion of our cathedral’s music.