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willy

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Everything posted by willy

  1. Apologies for this very tardy note: You are spot on! It was the FTH organ which I am afraid I vandalised. In fact I did try to sell it for a modest sum, to raise some funds for a new organ in my house. Unfortunately there was not one taker - so in the end, I took the decision to rebuild the console - changing it from IIIP and 97 speaking stops, to IVP and 87 speaking stops (and used the extra tabs for more couplers). As far as possible the tabs have the original engraving, but inevitably some have been re-engraved. The ranks are drawn from a Skinner organ, plus a about 20 additional ranks
  2. [Hi Give David Houlgate a try. He pit in the 32' at the Brighton Dome. he also built my IVP 87 stop job at home. A good chap. Will
  3. Whilst not strictly about tuning......my story goes back to school days in Smethwick, when our very talented and enthusiastic music teach, the sadly late John Sidebottom, had a vision of enlarging the School's rescued Compton (ex Empire Smethwick) by melding it with a 3 manual from St Chad's Smethwick, which was redundant. John, with us boys, did the dismantling. The organ was located above the vestry, and spoke into the chancel and down the nave, with a piperack masking both arches. Removing the Great and Choir pipes was a doddle. Getting the soundboards out was terrifying!! We too
  4. Is a point of view i suppose. Oddly enough hundreds of organs have been build in the last 120 years to play exactly "that crap" and very few really suitable for the repertoire that serious lovers of orgn music also fail to turn up in droves to hear. More curious still that millions of pounds have been spent in the last decade on restoring these monsters!! There is room for all types of music to be played on the organ, and I venture to think that if people were a bit less snooty about organs and organ music, then it may be viewed a bit more fairly. As for organists (of every calibr
  5. ...if that was dull - Hungarian Rock was excruciating (I loathed it with a passion). That said - a very worthwhile trip into town.
  6. Did anyone go to the Thomas Trotter recital at the RAH last wednesday? It was poorly attended (may have been 700-800 in the audience), which is a shame, because it was an unusual recital for the RAH, but fairly typical of what Thomas does every week in Birmingham. I thought the organ was better presented than in any of the recitals I have attended since the organ was re-opened, in that there was plenty of scope to show of the softer stops, in pieces by Whitlock etc, through the full range of the organ's resources, to full organ (and Thomas is noted for keeping something in reserve, rat
  7. Yes I was there - sitting a couple of rows back from Mr Mander himself. It was great to see people queuing for returns - not a seat left in the house. The organ certainly sounded different - more like it used to pre-1984 I thought (ears play tricks of course), but it was certainly very enjoyable. Thomas seemed to like the bells, but I thought they were a bit loud and clangy. Was that Stephen Disley turning the pages (and nearly falling down the stairs)? I feel better now that I know the weekly organ recitals are now back on in Brum - even though I now live in London - it is
  8. Hauptwerk is a very interesting and extremely clever invention. When I first heard of it, I thought that its application would be limited, requiring touch screens and all that stuff. I also believed that you wouod have to have a specification as it was and lump it. I was very wrong. My elderly but rather magnificent 3 manual, 101 stop Compton Electrone was becoming a nightmare to keep going, and I needed to do something about it. I found a very good 4 dekker (toaster-oonie) with about 45 stops over 4 manuals, internal speakers for about £17k. It was good, had plenty of flexibili
  9. I went to one of the concerts at the newly re-opened Birmingham Town Hall on Monday (Programme was "I Was Glad", Colridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto, and Elarg's The Music Makers), and very fine it was too. I had not heard the organ for about 17 years - after many, many years of attending GTB's and Thomas Trotter's weekly recitals. The Hall itself has been beautifully restored in the sense that a very modern and functional interior now sits within its elegant Victorian shell, with the organ presiding as dramatically as ever over the whole piece. The acoustics seems to have improved consid
  10. As ever a nice mixed bag of opinions I like organ transcriptions, and as one or two people have said, Thomas Trotter does them exceedingly well For me this wil be a bit of s sentimental journey. I remember as if it were yesterday being taken to the Town Hall for the first time, in our music teacher's (John Sidebottom - sadly no longer with us - but well known amongst the Town Hall crowd on Wednesday lunchtimes) old caravanette, and seeing for the first time the towering cliff face of green and gold organ pipes. GTB's recitals were electrifying! Part of the magic was watching h
  11. In case you have missed the news, tickets have now gone on sale for the re-opening festival for Birmingham Town Hall. There are two organ concerts by Thomas Trotter (in October - check on the website for the dates - but i think one is already full). The organ hasn't been heard (at least by the general public) for 10 years or so, so this will be a real treat for anyone who used to attend GTB's weekly recitals from the 1950's onwards (like me). Thomas trotter's playing is usually worth hearing, and I am sure the organ will be too.
  12. I know a lot of people can be a bit sniffy about octave couplers, but they can be extremely useful for creating"effects" of one sort or another, in organs large and small. If they exist in an organ, then i think it is downto the organist to use good taste and discretion to get the most out of his instrument through their occasional use. In my own instrument I have specified Swell Octave/Sub and un/Off on Swell, Choir and Solo, and their is Sw Oct and Solo Oct to great (no room on the jambs for any more). Just a thought, I note various serious organist/composers who advocate the use of
  13. It seems to have gone a bit quiet on the Birmingham Town Hall front, although bits and pieces I have managed to glean from trawling through the web suggest that the hall will re-open in October, with a series of concerts and events to mark the occasion. Does anyone know how the organ is at this moment and will it feature prominently in the celebrations? is it still planned to reduce it to 4 manuals (floating Bombarde?)? Any thing else been done to the organ, and how does the old girl sound in the re-ordered hall? kind regards Will
  14. Nice one Lee! I was there in Box 83 (sound like the Phantom of the Opera), and really enjoyed it. Better than last year's although the music was much the same. I think Stephen Disley's playing was superb, and unlike some organists, wasn't out to drown out everyone else on stage. It was restrained, fitted into the ensemble well (and we were VERY close to the organ), and came out of its pen at just the right moments to roar. The tubas were kept under lock and key until the entire hall was singing their heads off in Land of hope & Glory, when the whole lot came on like a thunderclap. Gr
  15. .............or Sullivan's "In Memorium"
  16. Mr Mander may be able to help with this one. There's one on Birmingham Town Hall organ, which i think started life in 1834 as an open diapason, and was converted in 1890 into a Keraulophon, and then converted back in 1933 to the Swell Open Diapason II, then reversed again in 1982 when the organ was rebuilt by Manders. I can't say I have knowlingly heard it myself.
  17. Arnold Bax - Christmas Eve - rarely played, i've never heard a live performance. I also like the Walton and Elgar marches - but too often the organ is virtually eclipsed in recordings - even though the organist is uniquely named on the label (you know........Crown Imperial, with Noel Rawsthorn (organ)), but you can't hear a thing. I heard this one, incidentally at a Prom in Birmingham years ago, not long after the Town Hall organ was rebuilt, and I think the conductor (might've been the young Rattler himslef) must have told the organist to "fill yer boots" because it really blazed away an
  18. I was at the Glory of Christmas Concert last night and my other half booked the tickets. Believing that i wanted to be close to the organ (pretty right), we were in the first box at 2nd Tier level next to the organ. Far too close to hear the organ and the rest of the performers in any kind of balance - but very good for viewing the action at the console. I was surprised to see John Birch assisting Malcolm Hicks all through the concert. As well as page turning - he seemed to be doing all the stop changes on the Great/Pedal side of the console. Registration for everything except a few las
  19. [ I have yet to attend a live recital at which the player delivered a 100% faultless performance and I have heard live not a few players who enjoy(ed) international reputations ! Ha-ha!!! I couldn't agree more - I one heard Naji Haki playing Widor's Toccata at the RAH during a prom season years ago, and he practically had to stop 'cos he got into such a muddle. It was just a shame that it was Nimrod where the main finger trouble occured on Wednesday and was so much more obvious for it. I still think the main problem was the DGW was trying too hard to demonstrate the organ rathe
  20. [i am right with p andy and P de vile..........the"irregularities" in the performance were just that, and didn't spoil the overall enjoyment of a fine evening. I love the RAH organ, but I know there are those who don't. That's fine - whatever the reasons for likes and dislikes it is perfectly healthy - but let's not dismiss it out of hand. It is not a heap. I am sure DGW is not in her eighties - but would not dream of guessing the age of a lady anyway. She may be better on small baroque tinklers but I wish i had 1/10th of her ability to master the Monster of South Ken. I just thoug
  21. I was in the Circle - front row door X. Frankly I was a bit disappointed. The playing was definitely less hot than i have heard from DGW on previous occasions - the fluffs in Nimrod had me getting all sweaty and anxious for the rest of the evening! The cypher in America was odd - at first I thought it was something to do with the air conditioning (maybe it was), but it quite upset the softer bits of that piece (which i don't like anyway). Dame Gillian did show off the organ though. I doubt it has ever been heard in quite the same exhibitorial (if there is such a word) way before.
  22. Does anyone know what has happened to the organ at the Methodist Central Hall in Birmingham? I believe the building has been convereted to flats and a nightclub....and there were plans to preserve the organ, but can't find anything to saqy what actually happened.
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