Iain Harvey is the founder/director of Charles James Organs. In this capacity he has been known to me for over 10 years.
During this period, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the transformation he has made to several organs in my charge both on the technical and tonal sides.
Recently, he has made tonal adjustments to a fine Walker Organ of 1929 enhancing its already outstanding qualities by revoicing a Trumpet stop (added in 2000) to sound as an effective solo Trumpet and as a chorus reed. Swell mutations have been revoiced to give clarity and definition to ranks which for 85 years were not utilised to their environment.
In 2005, a 4 manual organ which had been unattended for nearly 15 years, was painstakingly restored to equal its original condition and tonally upgraded in a number of departments, and is now one the organ glories of its area.
Iain Harvey’s work is a tribute to a younger generation of organ craftsmen, and I can commend his work without reservation.
Tim Lees FRCO, ARSCM
Organist of St Mary Humberstone (Formerly Organist to His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman)
I am delighted to be asked to commend to you the re-build of the Bedford organ, which it was my privilege to open, in 2011. Charles James Organs had made a most thorough job of the restoration and expansion of this fine historic instrument, extending both its capabilities, its playing aids and thus enabling it to tackle music of all periods and styles.
The console was most comfortable and ergonomically correct (something which is crucial to the organist, at this most personal of interfaces with the instrument, but not something which many organ builders consider to be crucial!..).
I found the tonal finishing of the organ to be first class with excellent fusion of the recent registers with the existing pipework; most noticeably with the solo reed. The Tutti was a thrilling 'cathedral-like' sound and there was plenty of individuality in the colours and solo registers.
Altogether a most successful re-build and something for all in St. Pauls and in Charles James Organs to be proud of for years to come.
Prof. Ian Tracey
Organist to the City of Liverpool. Organist Titulaire - Liverpool Cathedral.
Charles James Organs have been most reliable at tuning and maintaining our organ here at Brasenose College, Oxford. They have transformed the instrument since taking over the maintenance to be a more stable and musical experience for both players and listeners, and I am very pleased that the instrument is in such good hands. CJO's fees are reasonable, and they are always reliable and helpful with advice.
Director of College Music and Tutor, Brasenose College, Oxford
Playing a recital at St Paul's Bedford was a real thrill for me, as I found that all registers were ideally matched and beautifully finished. This organ seems to me to be warm, clear and immensely satisfying to player and listener. There are classical tonalities in the Choir Organ, but they have been well integrated with the original Norman and Beard tonal scheme, which has been preserved and respected. Moreover, the console is very convenient and comfortable to play. The whole thing is an artistic triumph of which Iain Harvey can very rightly be proud, and it is also outstanding value for money.
Organist Emeritus - Chester Cathedral & Concert Organist
We recently changed organ tuners and Charles James Organs came highly recommended. The first time they tuned the organ, we all noticed a huge improvement in the sound we could now get from the instrument. CJO has been totally reliable and able to fit in around the school's rather busy schedule. They have also been extremely helpful in advising us of ways we can improve the instrument further. I cannot recommend Charles James Organs highly enough.
Mr Jon Cullen
Head of Music at Magdalen College School - Oxford
Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.