Caribbean Lord's Prayer - Chris Lawton at St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Rye, East Sussex

Christopher Lawton
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Me playing the organ at St Anthony of Padua Church in Rye, East Sussex.

The organ here is the extremely rare Compton 'Sonatina' model which was originally built by the John Compton Organ Company Ltd around the early 1960s. The 'Sonatina' was Compton's smallest electrone model designed for pianists. It consists of a single manual split into sections to give the effect of a 2 manual and pedal instrument. The following paragraph is taken from an original Compton brochure which explains all:

Ingenious Compton technical design enables the player to produce from his single-manual Sonatina the effect of a two-manual and pedal organ. The combination of solo and accompaniment (great) sections in one keyboard, together with an 'automatic bass' facility, make this the ideal 'graduating' instrument for the pianist. Of instant appeal to the expert musician is the characteristic Compton tonal quality of the Sonatina.

Compton Sonatina models are now extremely rare but what makes this particular one even more unusual is that it also has a Vibraphone stop. The specification reads:

Bass MF
Bass P

Geigen 16'
Diapason 8'
Gedackt 8'
Dulciana 8'
Octave 4'
Flute 4'
Dulcet 4'
Twelfth 2.2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture III
Tromba 8'

Bass Flute 16'
Concert Flute 8'
Clarinet 8'
Oboe 8'
Trumpet 8'
Flute 4'
Vibraphone 4'

Light Vibrato
Heavy Vibrato

The Sonatina could perhaps be best summed up as Compton's electronic version of a harmonium.

In this video I am playing the 'Caribbean Lord's Prayer' which gives the basic idea of what the Compton Sonatina sounds like. Unfortunately the organ is not in the best condition and as well as some missing notes, the 'D' and 'G' generators were giving problems so I had to play something set in 4 sharps so as to avoid the troublesome notes so I decided on this tune.

Many thanks to the officials here for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to play a Compton Sonatina model of electrone - the 'baby' of Compton organs!

NOTE: this is purely my interest in order to make sure that these fine organs are archived forever and I do not make any monetary profit by this video being on dailymotion.

For more information on the John Compton Organ Company Ltd and to see me play other Compton organs, please click on the following link for my site dedicated to the John Compton Organ Company Ltd: