The Merton Organ


In a golden age of organ-building, the College’s new Dobson instrument stands out as exceptional. It is only the third American-built organ sent to the UK since the Second World War, a bold commissioning choice which Benjamin Nicholas, Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music in Merton’s recently established choral foundation, and his colleagues made after considering three factors. The College required an instrument that could sympathetically accompany its daily choral services – with sufficient flexibility to accommodate the works of many eras – and that honoured the Chapel’s ancient architecture. The instrument also had to be equipped to perform a large part of the solo repertoire, and it is the success of this third aim that Benjamin Nicholas sought to demonstrate when putting together the programme for the instrument’s first outing on disc.

From the pre-pedalboard sophistication of native Stanley, to the mesmerising hues of Messiaen – and encompassing snapshots from the instrument’s vast literature in between – no inquisitive listener will feel short-changed by the gluttony of textures and colours on display here. In his debut appearance on disc as a soloist, Benjamin Nicholas combines flair and intelligence as he presents the stunning instrument he helped mastermind.


This full-bodied recording captures an instrument of real musical worth.

Gramophone, July 2014

Nicholas judges expertly the variety of colours in his performance… The new Dobson organ is a splendid addition to Merton College Chapel.

MusicWeb International, June 2014

★★★★ An entertaining recital on a splendid new organ... lithe, supple and pleasingly nuanced performance of a varied programme ... finely delineated playing

Choir & Organ magazine, May 2014

Nicholas performs the repertoire with absolute mastery... an absolute must for lovers of organ music.

Blackwell's Music CD of the Week, April 2014

Track listing

JS Bach, arr. Dupré – Sinfonia 'Wir danken dir, Gott' (from Cantata No 29)

JS Bach, arr. Duruflé – Mortifie-nous par ta bonté (Ertödt uns durch dein' Güte, from Cantata No 22)

César Franck – Pièce héroïque

John Stanley – Voluntary in A minor, Op. 6 No. 2

Olivier Messiaen – Prière après la Communion

JS Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565

Felix Mendelssohn – Andante with Variations in D, Op. 82

Jean Langlais – Dialogue sur les mixtures

Marcel Dupré – Cortège et Litanie, Op. 19 No. 2

Louis Vierne – Clair de lune

Louis Vierne – Carillon de Westminster

The Merton Organ - CD cover