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In 1987 (nearly 20 years ago!) Maurice Forsyth-Grant's book '21 Years of Organ-Building' was published by Positif Press. In the chapter on 'Ones That Got Away' he mentioned the discussions held in the late seventies about the installation of an organ in the Barbican Hall and bemoaned the continued lack of action. In 2005 this appears to be a non-topic.

 

Is there no need for an organ here? Do the Hall management not want the responsibility and expense of a concert organ? Or has the whole idea just been forgotten?

 

If the rumours about the Ally Pally instrument's future are true, could the Barbican be it's new home? A 98 stop Willis is clearly going to take up more space than a 35 stop GD&B and would need a new (non-Victorian!) case, but if removed from the Palace at least the instrument would stay in London and probably be much better used and appreciated.

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If the rumours about the Ally Pally instrument's future are true, could the Barbican be it's new home?  A 98 stop Willis is clearly going to take up more space than a 35 stop GD&B and would need a new (non-Victorian!) case, but if removed from the Palace at least the instrument would stay in London and probably be much better used and appreciated.

Are the Ally Pally dispensing of their Willis in favour of GD&B? Or is that a misinterpretation? I have not personally heard any rumours regarding that Willis so if anyone can clarify then I would be glad for it.

 

Ta.

 

Dave

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Unfortunately, an organ was never considered at the Barbican, at least not with any seriousness and there is not really any space for one unless it were to take up part of the stage, which is clearly not desirable as it is small enough as it is. A lot of us would consider the original planning to have been short sighted in that respect.

 

John Pike Mander

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I have to agree with JPMs comments. For a couple of years I was a member of the London Symphony Chorus and became intimately accustomed with the backstage area of the Barbican Hall. There really is no vacant organ-friendly space behind the rear of the platform. Any organ would have to take up room on a platform, which, when a choir is performing, is already a bit of a tight squeeze.

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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Thanks for clarifying that, John - the stage always did seem a bit small. The drawing of the casework that Forsythe-Grant published suggested that it would run all the way along the back of the stage, presumably like the RFH but much shallower. If there isn't really room for even this, then getting something worthwhile in would presumably be pretty well impossible.

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In my opinion there is only one building in which the Alexandra Palace Willis organ should be installed and that is in the Great Hall of the Palace, which is its rightful home.

The constitution of the Organ Appeal does allow for the organ to be moved to another building, but this is irrelevant as the organ is owned by the Palace Trustees, and the Appeal has no rights or control over the instrument.

Personally I am not a fan of the concrete jungle called The Barbican, and I would be very unhappy to see the Willis organ installed in such a lifeless building.

I hope that when a new Appeal organisation(with no connections to the existing one) is set up, that the Palace Trustees can be convinced that they own a gem which must not be discarded,

Colin Richell

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Not only was an organ not envisaged at the Barbican, but I don't think music was given much consideration. To my mind, the only satisfacgtory solution to the Barbican Hall is several thousand pounds of high explosives and start all over again. Use the opportunity to build a world class concert hall with accoustics to match and with all the modern staging and lighting facilities that a modern concert hall demands, crowned with an outstanding pipe organ by a British builder.

 

If we can get orchestral and organ playing accepted as an Olympic sport, then maybe London could have just such a concert hall by 2012.

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Guest Roffensis
In 1987 (nearly 20 years ago!) Maurice Forsyth-Grant's book '21 Years of Organ-Building' was published by Positif Press.  In the chapter on 'Ones That Got Away' he mentioned the discussions held in the late seventies about the installation of an organ in the Barbican Hall and bemoaned the continued lack of action.  In 2005 this appears to be a non-topic.

 

Is there no need for an organ here?  Do the Hall management not want the responsibility and expense of a concert organ?  Or has the whole idea just been forgotten?

 

If the rumours about the Ally Pally instrument's future are true, could the Barbican be it's new home?  A 98 stop Willis is clearly going to take up more space than a 35 stop GD&B and would need a new (non-Victorian!) case, but if removed from the Palace at least the instrument would stay in London and probably be much better used and appreciated.

 

Yes there are a lot of rumours floating about concerning the organ at the Alexandra palace, but there is no truth in them in that it is being removed, or that it isn't wanted. It's still used regularly for recitals, and is still being restored as planned, even if at a slow pace and without some of the backing it rightfully deserves. Most of the controversy stems from people assuming that it was put back in with a permanent frame, and that it is terrible that the lot ultimately will need to come down again. Willis has always made it perfectly clear it was a temporary frame, so people could actually hear the job after such a long silence. He was never happy doing it, and there has been much political controversy since, all of it due to half truths and rumours flying about in all directions. Recent rumours concerning the RFH make an interesting comparison. There were also rumours concerning Birmingham that I heard. As to the Barbican, AP would anyway sound ridiculous in there, the organ is far too huge, and the acoustic is very dry and unfavourable. As Willis always said, the only other place would be Kings Cross station, and that wont be happening either. There is a recital this month at Alexandra palace on the 10th I think, its well worth going to hear, the organ sounds magnificent and is actually a little over half complete. To my ears it is finer the RAH and sound immensely majestic, as it always did.

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Guest Roffensis
In my opinion there is only one building in which the Alexandra Palace Willis organ should be installed and that is in the Great Hall of the Palace, which is its rightful home.

The constitution of the Organ Appeal does allow for the organ to be moved to another building, but this is irrelevant as the organ is owned by the Palace Trustees, and the Appeal has no rights or control over the instrument.

Personally I am not a fan of the concrete jungle called The Barbican, and I would be very unhappy to see the Willis organ installed in such a lifeless building.

I hope that when a new Appeal organisation(with no connections to the existing one) is set up, that the Palace Trustees can be convinced that they own a gem which must not be discarded,

Colin Richell

 

Excuse me, but the constitution ("of the organ appeal"...?.... which?.....) allows no such thing. As you rightfully say, they don't own it. The building was put up as a peoples palace way back in 1873, and the basic functions and requirements of it, including the organ, remain the same. The organ cannot be removed, and such rumours are just plain unhelpful. [Edited by moderator.]

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Excuse me, but the constitution ("of the organ appeal"...?.... which?.....) allows no such thing. As you rightfully say, they don't own it. The building was put up as a peoples palace way back in 1873, and the basic functions and requirements of it, including the organ, remain the same. The organ cannot be removed, and such rumours are just plain unhelpful.  [Edited by moderator.]

 

Of course the Ally Pally organ can be removed, it is not listed by English Heritage for that very reason.

 

I understand that a question about the future of the organ has been raised by a councillor and the answer will be provided at a full Council meeting later this month.

I am not tired of the subject and I and my colleagues fight on,

Watch this space !

Colin Richell.

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Guest Roffensis
Of course the Ally Pally organ can be removed, it is not listed by English Heritage for that very reason.

I understand that a question about the future of the organ has been raised by a councillor and the answer will be provided at a full Council meeting later this month.

I am not tired of the subject and I and my colleagues fight on,

Watch this space !

Colin Richell.

 

 

I am not aware that English Heritage actually list organs unless of very old historical interest such as Adlington Hall or Rotherhithe. [unparliamentary language removed by moderator.] The building itself is listed. [Edited by moderator.]Personally, I feel very positive about the organ and its future [remainder of sentence deleted by moderator].

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I am not aware that English Heritage actually list organs unless of very old historical interest such as Adlington Hall or Rotherhithe. [unparliamentary language removed by moderator.] The building itself is listed. [Edited by moderator.]Personally, I feel very positive about the organ and its future [remainder of sentence deleted by moderator].

 

 

[Edited by moderator] you may care to ask the person on the Appeal who you represent about my involvement in the Ally Pally organ ,you might be surprised [edited by moderator]. Better still read Alan Taylor's previous messages, read both web sites, and let us worry about the future of the organ. [Edited by moderator.]

Colin Richell.

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This and a couple of other comments on this thread have been edited to remove bad-tempered language.

 

Moderator, Mander Organs

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