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About steinway3

  • Birthday 13/06/1949

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  1. I have followed the debates on this forum for several years and apart from the rather ungracious negativity of some contributors have found the posts of others such as Colin Harvey and Nigel Allcoat both interesting and informative. However, as someone who sits on the lower rungs of the organ ladder ( if not the bottom one!) I see a growing problem with both parish church and chapel organs and would be interested to hear colleagues' comments. With declining congregations, changes in musical style and the increasingly straitened financial position of many churches and chapels, adequate maintenance of the organ is slipping well down the priority list for many parishes and congregations. Where I live you probably only need the fingers of one hand to count the number of instruments that are well maintained; many needing tens of thousands of pounds spent on them to restore them to good playing order. Recently i had occasion to play a 3 manual digital instrument which, although perhaps not my ideal sound, gave me serious pause for thought. First was the pleasure of sitting at a very comfortable console but secondly, and more importantly, everything did 'what it said on the tin' thus allowing me to concentrate on the music and my performance of it rather than remembering the current set of problems and how I could avoid them. If this situation continues, and I see no sign of it improving, then will pipe organs be confined to cathedrals, the larger parish churches and Oxbridge colleges? With the savage cuts in local authority spending, even well known civic instruments may have an uncertain future as in the big question mark hanging over the Cavaille Coll in the Parr Hall, Warrington ( an instrument I knew well in my youth). Am I being unnecessarily pessimistic?
  2. Stephen Just browsing on here as I often do in my lunchbreak, I came across your introduction. It brought all sorts of memories flooding back. As a student in London in the late 60s (although not a music student I hasten to add - I wasn't good enough!) and one addicted to the organ in all its guises, I knew John Stewart well and spent many happy hours in his company at the Gaumont State and at other consoles in the South East. I lost touch when I graduated and moverd North sadly. I see now you are near Blackpool - did you ever come across Raymond Wallbank? As a young mad teenager, my first introduction to the cinema organ was at the Ritz/ABC Warrington where Ray was in charge of the 3/6 Compton on a Saturday morning. He guided my first tentative efforts in attempting to master the beast. He and his wife were very good friends to me in those early days. I, too , came from a family with hardly any musical interest although my father sold electronic organs as part of his business. The family were totally mystified by my obsession! Since this is probably too public a forum for this sort of exchange ( and anyway I'm sure most people aren't interested!) please feel free to email me at tony_edwards13@tiscali.co.uk
  3. The Annunciation, Marble Arch also had a Rothwell with his idiosyncratic console - I know because I took my Grade 6 on it in the early 80s! It was difficult but not impossible to get used to with a little practice. When Bishops restored the organ in 1989, a traditional console replaced the Rothwell one although I think they preserved the sound of the Rothwell which I seem to remember was quite exciting
  4. I played this organ many times as a student in its original home in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a wondeful instrument then. I understood from the late Ralph Bartlett, who was Secretary of the Theatre Organ Club at the time, that it had been re-built by Wurlitzer to Torch's specification. I have only heard it once in Barry ( I moved to Cardiff some years ago) and it was not at its best in spite of all the efforts put in by the team. The hall itself was scruffy and rather run down to say the least. I tried on several occasions to play it in Barry but a number of obstacles were put in my way and I gave up in the end.
  5. I was a schoolboy in Manchester in the early 60s and although I never managed to play the instrument, I understood that Jardine's had already taken responsibility for looking after it. Incidentally, I practised on a 3 manual Jardine in a church adjacent to the school in Rusholme and that too had a most uncomfortable console. The balanced swell pedals were set so high you needed double jointed knees to get your feet on them without falling off the bench!
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