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As an ex concert organiser for Ally Pally I am well aware of the problems of the Willis organ being situated in the Great Hall, the glass roof creating a sauna in the summer and the antiquated heating providing a refrigerated experience in the winter months.

In fact, the heating system is very noisy and needs to be switched off when the organ is playing causing members of the audience to complain about the cold.

Temperatures in the hall can vary by the hour meaning that often the organ is out of tune, and this caused me great embarrassment for the audience who had paid good money to hear the organ.

Often, in the past the tannoy has been heard during a concert, because no-one has bothered to turn the thing off.

I can only apologise for the fact that members of the Organ Appeal, were seen to be wandering around the hall, and even on the gallery. They know better than this, and I always made it clear that I found that behaviour unsatisfactory. To make it worse , of course they were seen on the close circuit screens, which in my opinion are any eyesore and and a total waste of £9,000.better spent on the organ.

I hope that Dr Jackson was not offended, and I have some sympathy that he would have to climb those terrible concrete steps to reach the gallery !

Having previously talked about attracting people to concerts, it would be interesting to know how many turned up, and whether they were attracted by the venue, organ or the recitalist ! When a silent film show is arranged are people attracted by the films rather than the organ playing ?

It is to my eternal regret that I never invited Dr Jackson to play in my time at the Palace, especially as he first heard the organ in 1936 !

My publicity reached thousands of people and yet some concerts only attracted a handful of people.

I do wonder though why so many recitalists fail to offer their services to venues, while of course many do. I was inundated with requests from organists to play the organ, many of which I accepted.

I would not blame anyone for not realising that it was 73 years since Dr Jackson was involved with Ally Pally, because there is so much to do when you are an organiser(often 6 months work in advance)

and attracting TV crews to concerts is a thing of the past.

Finally I regret to report the death of a previous chair of the Organ Appeal, Arthur Phillips, who was involved with the project for 25 years. How sad he could not see the restoration of his beloved organ.

Colin Richell.

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Having not attended an Ally Pally event before my wife and I weren't sure what to expect. The audience was certainly most appreciative. I should guess that there were 150+ in attendance. The PA system worked quite well though it would help if those using the mic held it to their mouths and not by their chests! Francis (introduced simply as 'the player') included his beautiful and serenely autumnal Sixth Sonata, commissioned by Graham Barber for performance at St Bart's, Armley and dedicated to the memory of the sorely-missed Geoffrey de Coup Crank. Another gem was Henry Smart's Andante in F, which out-Mendelssohned Mendelssohn rather well. The video screens were a boon and the camerawork nicely focused and pertinent.

 

Priscilla Jackson was in attendance (with grandson Sam, just graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge). She was concerned that the large number of recitals Francis was due to give this season (12 or 14, was it?) was preventing him from composing! However, he was about to give the premiere of a new piece, Reverie, based on an improvisational theme composed by Ravel for Dupre. As Nessa (of Gavin and Stacey fame) would say - "lush"!

 

The Doctor's artistry and stamina are simply staggering. He is 92 in October!

 

MKR

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The Doctor's artistry and stamina are simply staggering. He is 92 in October!

 

MKR

 

 

You are certainly right there malcolm, 92, and still performing well.

My friend who you kindly gave permission to record your Bridlington recital last year, has recorded FJ on many occasions, (and has some of his first ever recordings) and this years York Minster recital will certainly be done, now there's a "little bit" of history, put down on tape for years to come.

And to think that some people have long since stopped playing in the public eye, years before, long may he continue to give us moments like this

Peter ( who sadly missed the AP recital)

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Just to pick up on a couple of points here, one with my AP hat on and one without.

 

I don't believe Stephen Smith posts in this forum (or even reads it), but for one I'm glad to see that organrecitals.com is appreciated. I've been pleased to be able to provide some of the technology behind it as a way of "giving a little back" to the community which has given me much interest and pleasure over the years. Stephen puts in a tremendous amount of time keeping the site up-to-date and it's important to me that the technology allows him to make the most efficient use of his time.

 

In common with I think everyone that was there, I very much enjoyed Francis Jackson's recital on Saturday and I personally found that the wanderings-around on the gallery could not distract from some truly memorable music-making. It is important to point out (and is no secret, having been in our newsletter and on our website) that the video equipment was funded solely by a grant from the Lottery "Awards for All" scheme for the specific purpose of increasing accessibility to recitals at the Ally Pally. There is no question of those funds being usable for organ restoration.

 

For those not fortunate enough to have been present, some photographs are available at http://www.allypallyorgan.org.uk/concerts.php

 

Stephen Walmsley

APOA

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Guest drd

This point has probably been raised before, here and/or elsewhere where organists gather.

 

In a series of concerts (mostly involving the organ) I have been promoting for the past few years we deliberately try to eschew the use of the term 'recital'. Largely because I fear it can (if it has any traction at all) encourage a few organ 'nerds' at the expense of the general public. The only evidential justificaiton for this which I have is circumstantial at best - these concerts have gained, in a small community, a gradually increasing attendance.

 

Perhaps the fact that they a free, promenade-style events has something to do with it, too. The avoidance of the term 'recital' exists in my writings about the series, and also in all our publicity. Though it is admittedly difficult to persuade the 'word of mouth' publicity medium also to avoid it - particularly the local clergy, who seem particularly wedded to the term, though purely in relation to the organ concerts!

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One of the obstacles to overcome may be the fact that perhaps ordinary music loving members of the public may be have been to one recital and been put off going ever again by finding themselves part of a very tiny audience made up largely by the elderly, the insane and those who, had fate or genetics dealt them a different lot, would have been collecting serial numbers of railway trains rather than worrying about the percentage of tin and the wind pressure of the choir dulciana. I jest not; some of the most boring people I have ever met have been organ enthusiasts and most of them don't even seem to be reasonable players.

 

We do need to appeal to a wider public but I'm not sure how we can achieve this, especially as a large number of organs are in buildings which by architecture or lack of upkeep and care are likely to make people going inside them lose the will to live anyway. Obviously there are many exceptions.

 

Malcolm

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Guest Stanley Monkhouse

I DO enjoy your contributions! very amusing, and absolutely spot-on. If I had enough courage, I might add 'and too much meandering Howells' but I'd better not.

 

Ramble alert. I used to be a bit of an organ anorak until SWMBO and I went on an organ crawl in North Germany, and played instruments such as Norden, Schleswig, Neuenfelde and Stralsund. It cured me of organ crawling. Bach and Buxtehude and Bruhns and so on on those instruments are viscerally exciting in a way that they just aren't on organs that are themselves viscerally exciting for the accompanient of the cathedral choral repertoire. There are all sorts of reasons for this, no doubt including architecture of organ and building (vertical west end as opposed to triforium/aisle/dog kennel or whatever). I have no answers, just observations. The organ is just not regarded as a sexy instrument in our dumbed down culture. I admire those of you who are trying to do something about this.

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The other thing I meant to say was that potential audiences can be put off by recitalists of less than adequate standard. The organ seems to be the only instrument where it is not necessary for a player to be technically and musically at recital standard in order to give recitals.

 

Of course there are currently very many very fine players around, some of whom have astounding techniques and musicanship. Equally there are lots of "recitalists" around who are sadly lacking both in technique and musicianship.

 

If you have a choice of sitting in a cold, dirty church listening to the resident organist struggling technically and musically through the Reubke Sonata on an inadequate organ (this happens) or of sitting in your nice warm home listening to Graham Barber or Simon Preston playing it via your hi-fi stereo equipment I think I can tell which most people will prefer. Never underestimate the effect DVDs and CDs have had, rightly or wrongly, on the size of audiences at live concerts.

 

Malcolm

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One of the obstacles to overcome may be the fact that perhaps ordinary music loving members of the public may be have been to one recital and been put off going ever again by finding themselves part of a very tiny audience made up largely by the elderly, the insane and those who, had fate or genetics dealt them a different lot, would have been collecting serial numbers of railway trains rather than worrying about the percentage of tin and the wind pressure of the choir dulciana. I jest not; some of the most boring people I have ever met have been organ enthusiasts and most of them don't even seem to be reasonable players.

 

We do need to appeal to a wider public but I'm not sure how we can achieve this, especially as a large number of organs are in buildings which by architecture or lack of upkeep and care are likely to make people going inside them lose the will to live anyway. Obviously there are many exceptions.

 

Malcolm

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This point has probably been raised before, here and/or elsewhere where organists gather.

 

In a series of concerts (mostly involving the organ) I have been promoting for the past few years we deliberately try to eschew the use of the term 'recital'. Largely because I fear it can (if it has any traction at all) encourage a few organ 'nerds' at the expense of the general public. The only evidential justificaiton for this which I have is circumstantial at best - these concerts have gained, in a small community, a gradually increasing attendance.

 

Perhaps the fact that they a free, promenade-style events has something to do with it, too. The avoidance of the term 'recital' exists in my writings about the series, and also in all our publicity. Though it is admittedly difficult to persuade the 'word of mouth' publicity medium also to avoid it - particularly the local clergy, who seem particularly wedded to the term, though purely in relation to the organ concerts!

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When I engaged Nigel Ogden many years ago at Ally Pally he was most emphatic that any publicity should describe the event as a concert and NOT a recital..

Attendance wise that was one of our most succesful concerts, but was it because Nigel is so well known, and is an excellent recitalist, or could it have been that he was playing light classical, or venue, organ timing of concert etc?

Given the fact that the event attracted over 170 people, I suspect that Nigel was the draw.

What does anyone think ?

Colin Richell.

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Don't mean to be funny here Colin, but on all of your postings how do you manage to quote the entire previous message in one posting, and then your reply in another posting without quoting the original? Have I missed a trick here?

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Don't mean to be funny here Colin, but on all of your postings how do you manage to quote the entire previous message in one posting, and then your reply in another posting without quoting the original? Have I missed a trick here?

 

 

I dont think it is a trick you have missed, I think it can only be an error on Colin's part? Perhaps, he clicks on reply and then post, and then writes a reply, then posts that?? Mind you, it's a good way to increase the postings totals on a given subject!

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I dont think it is a trick you have missed, I think it can only be an error on Colin's part? Perhaps, he clicks on reply and then post, and then writes a reply, then posts that?? Mind you, it's a good way to increase the postings totals on a given subject!

LOL! I was thinking the same.... :D

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I fail to see how one person can give a concert, which the OED defines to be "a musical performance in which several performers take part".

 

Pianists and singers don't shy away from the word "recital" - why should organists?

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I fail to see how one person can give a concert, which the OED defines to be "a musical performance in which several performers take part".

 

Pianists and singers don't shy away from the word "recital" - why should organists?

 

Here! Here! sense at last.....having read through recent posts concerning attracting audiences, it all smacked a little of dumbing down. At the end of the day call it what you will, but someone playing the organ in a church or a concert hall is going to attract an audience of a size that is governed by so many factors, many of which are not alterable by either the performer or the publicist (weather, location, oposing attractions.....). I can't imagine Martha Argerich giving a piano concert at the Wigmore Hall; can you? If one agrees with that, then why should Simon Preston (for example) give an organ concert at Westminster Abbey?

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One could argue that by using the word 'concert' to describe an organ recital, the promoter or performer is demonstrating that s/he considers the organ to be an 'orchestra in a box'.

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Don't mean to be funny here Colin, but on all of your postings how do you manage to quote the entire previous message in one posting, and then your reply in another posting without quoting the original? Have I missed a trick here?

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Guest drd

I use the word "concert" to describe all the events in a programme of several.

 

One reason is that they are intended to be informal events, where people may come and go between items as their occasions demand, and so the events are in the nature of "promenade" concerts.

 

Another is that, though this year the majority of them are organ events, usually the majority are events with more than one instrumentalist or singer. Even this year, one of them is organ plus another instrument, and another was a visiting choir.

 

The third reason is that which I have already stated.

 

It will be for my successor to decide what to call them in future.

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Don't mean to be funny here Colin, but on all of your postings how do you manage to quote the entire previous message in one posting, and then your reply in another posting without quoting the original? Have I missed a trick here?

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I am not sure what is happening, and anything I have done is purely coincidental.

Strange things happen, often the web site will not allow me to log in, and when I try to post a message, without logging in a page comes up telling me that my internet page has expired.

Apologies for any confusion, and I promise that I will try and do better !

There is fast reply and reply and perhaps that is the problem.

I don't think we have decided whether the recitalist rather than the programme and venue is the essential factor in filling a venue.

Colin Richell.

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One could argue that by using the word 'concert' to describe an organ recital, the promoter or performer is demonstrating that s/he considers the organ to be an 'orchestra in a box'.

 

One could argue lots of things - e.g. that they don't know the difference between a recital and a concert; or that they are deliberately using the wrong word in order to disguise the nature of the event and bring punters in under false pretences; or that their use of the word "concert" is a form of self-aggrandisement.

 

The phrase "orchestra in a box" sounds like the slippery slope to playing arrangements of orchestral music instead of the organ's proper repertoire. Arrangements generally disappoint: one hears the original orchestration in ones mind's ear and wishes one's actual ear were hearing it, too. One might marvel at the skill of the performer and the transcriber - but I do feel that is something only other organists will appreciate. Sorry, I'm on my transcriptions hobby horse again - but I do feel passionately about it!

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I am not sure what is happening, and anything I have done is purely coincidental.

Strange things happen, often the web site will not allow me to log in, and when I try to post a message, without logging in a page comes up telling me that my internet page has expired.

If you'll pardon me being a net nanny for a moment, here are one or two points that might help you.

 

1. You have to log in before you are able to reply.

2. The "reply" button at the bottom of each post is the one to click when you want to quote a reply in your own post (as I have done above). Whichever post you want to reply to, you click the "reply" button for that post. A window will appear containing the quoted text. You then just add your own comments below it in the same window and post your reply.

3. The "Fast reply" button is for when you want to post something without quoting a previous post.

 

Hope this helps.

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One could argue that by using the word 'concert' to describe an organ recital, the promoter or performer is demonstrating that s/he considers the organ to be an 'orchestra in a box'.

I must confess to preferring the term 'concert'. I think the words 'organ' and 'recital' in one sentence can summon up the picture of a dusty old organist playing obscure, atonal music in the punters' minds.

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