Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Birmingham Town Hall


Recommended Posts

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish TT's programme had been a tad more interesting. I like a transcription in a recital but I would have welcomed a large scale serious piece written for organ rather than the Carmen suite.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I wish TT's programme had been a tad more interesting. I like a transcription in a recital but I would have welcomed a large scale serious piece written for organ rather than the Carmen suite.

 

I wish I could find the programme, do you have a link?

 

I disagree with your Carmen comment. Its a regular of mine (twice in the last week!) and it always goes down a treat, particularly when you know there will be a number of organ 'virgins' there. I know some recital organisers have taken to vetting programmes to make sure they aren't filled with esoteric organ music that will only appeal to buffs. I think it is very relevant to places like our Town Halls up and down the country, because transcriptions were a staple part of the organists and attendees diet when they were first put in. Lemare, Best etc, do we honestly think they would have had the huge crowds they did had they played non-stop Reger and Messiaen (if they had been written), regardless of how good the music actually is? Recitals need a good balance, appropriate for the audience.

 

I'm sure TT will give a great recital, he always does, and he's particularly adept with transcriptions. I haven't heard him do Carmen, but Meistersinger and Tannhauser are regulars, as was William Tell a while ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree with you. A good organist should be able to make his concerts programs according to the audience expected at the concert. Not the same program during an organ festival and an organ (re)opening.

I heard re-opening concerts properly unbearble, even for an organist. I imagine for non organists...

It would be equally inapropriate to play Bach's Wachet auf, Haendel's trumpet tune and Widor's toccata in an organ festival, where concerts are attended by organists or organ-lovers, waiting for something a bit more musicologic.

Alas, lots of french organists do not yet realise this, and I heard a re-opening concert consisting in the art of the fugue... I let you imagine how many persons will come back to organ recitals there...

Transcriptions are far more easy for people not used to organ, than most written "serious" pieces... And are generaly good music too !

I'm waiting eagerly for a concert on the 23rd of june in Mirepoix, Louis Robilliard wil play there. The organ is a fabulous german romantic instrument, saved from any modifications since his building. (http://orguemirepoix.yellis.net/)

He will play several transcriptions from Liszt, included one he never played before ("surprise").

Robilliard may be one of the best french organists at the moment for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynic
I totally agree with you. A good organist should be able to make his concerts programs according to the audience expected at the concert. Not the same program during an organ festival and an organ (re)opening.

I heard re-opening concerts properly unbearble, even for an organist. I imagine for non organists...

It would be equally inapropriate to play Bach's Wachet auf, Haendel's trumpet tune and Widor's toccata in an organ festival, where concerts are attended by organists or organ-lovers, waiting for something a bit more musicologic.

Alas, lots of french organists do not yet realise this, and I heard a re-opening concert consisting in the art of the fugue... I let you imagine how many persons will come back to organ recitals there...

Transcriptions are far more easy for people not used to organ, than most written "serious" pieces... And are generaly good music too !

I'm waiting eagerly for a concert on the 23rd of june in Mirepoix, Louis Robilliard wil play there. The organ is a fabulous german romantic instrument, saved from any modifications since his building. (http://orguemirepoix.yellis.net/)

He will play several transcriptions from Liszt, included one he never played before ("surprise").

Robilliard may be one of the best french organists at the moment for me.

 

 

Dear French Amateur,

welcome to this forum and thankyou for a most intelligent and sensible contribution. Would that all organists had the benefit of such advice! I haven't heard an opening recital quite as ill-judged as your Art of Fugue example, but I have been to similar events where there is nothing that the general public can recognise, which I think is poor (if not selfish) planning.

 

I recently attended a duet recital and got practically nothing out of it, except for being able to meet up with and support one of the players, a friend from years ago. A feature of the programme was that there didn't seem to be a single piece of recogniseable music on offer. The finest playing in the world and the finest instrument would not have turned this into a memorable evening - except for the wrong reason.

 

Paul D./Cynic

Link to post
Share on other sites

The programme: Wednesday 17 October 2007 3pm & 7.30pm

Handel - Organ Concerto no 16 in F

Widor - Allegro Vivace from Symphonie V

Morandi (arr. Best) - Bell Rondo

Paul Patterson - New work (specially commissioned)

Elgar - First movement of Sonata in G

Thalben-Ball - Paganini variations for pedal

Saint-Saens (arr. Lemare) - Danse Macabre

Bizet (arr. Lemare) - Carmen suite

 

By the way, I'd much rather hear Thomas Trotter give a recital like this than many other organists in a more supposedly "highbrow" programme...

Link to post
Share on other sites
The programme: Wednesday 17 October 2007 3pm & 7.30pm

Handel - Organ Concerto no 16 in F

Widor - Allegro Vivace from Symphonie V

Morandi (arr. Best) - Bell Rondo

Paul Patterson - New work (specially commissioned)

Elgar - First movement of Sonata in G

Thalben-Ball - Paganini variations for pedal

Saint-Saens (arr. Lemare) - Danse Macabre

Bizet (arr. Lemare) - Carmen suite

 

By the way, I'd much rather hear Thomas Trotter give a recital like this than many other organists in a more supposedly "highbrow" programme...

 

In which case I hope that you enjoy the recital!

 

However, I would prefer something quite different (absolutely no transcriptions, a whole symphony - Widor or Vierne, a decent slice of Bach - perhaps the B minor - and then a good improvisation).

 

I recognise that we all have different tastes and that we should do whatever we can to encourage people from all walks of life to give the organ a try (not necessarily literally). Notwithstanding, please do not forget that some of us do like a slightly more 'highbrow' programme. Wild horses would not drag me in to listen to the one quoted above....

 

Having said that, I quite understand the point made by french amateur - and I agree that programming The Art of Fugue is not the best way of inculcating a love of the organ to the uninitiated. This said, I do believe that there is a more acceptable middle ground, which would still be pleasing to many - both lovers of music and the cognoscenti.

 

:rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
In which case I hope that you enjoy the recital!

 

However, I would prefer something quite different (absolutely no transcriptions, a whole symphony - Widor or Vierne, a decent slice of Bach - perhaps the B minor - and then a good improvisation).

 

I recognise that we all have different tastes and that we should do whatever we can to encourage people from all walks of life to give the organ a try (not necessarily literally). Notwithstanding, please do not forget that some of us do like a slightly more 'highbrow' programme. Wild horses would not drag me in to listen to the one quoted above....

 

Having said that, I quite understand the point made by french amateur - and I agree that programming The Art of Fugue is not the best way of inculcating a love of the organ to the uninitiated. This said, I do believe that there is a more acceptable middle ground, which would still be pleasing to many - both lovers of music and the cognoscenti.

 

:)

 

I realise that in my last post I must have sounded like one of those "I don't know much about art but I know what I like" people. Of course I love a more "serious" recital: what could be better than Daniel Roth playing Franck or Widor, or Gillian Weir doing all of the Livre du Saint-Sacrement? (OK, some of you might have suggestions!) I suppose it's just that Trotter plays those transcriptions so well, and as musically as he would play any Vierne or Alain. At first I didn't think that I liked them, and would groan inwardly when I saw one on a programme. But, wouldn't you know it, Trotter began to work his evil magic (a bit of stunning technique here, some judicious registration there, some genuinely good bursts of music) that my soul was eventually sold lock, stock and bon gout to the devil!

 

 

 

Still can't stand that bloody Bell Rondo, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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 him sitting at the old Willis III console, playing something quite ferocious, and his body would hardly move. It was as though he was just sitting there and the music was happening all by itself. And what a gentleman!!

 

I recall David Briggs playing when he was just a boy, and being very jealous of what was even then a wonderful talent.

 

Of course everyone thought Thomas Trotter's appointment to be a terribe mistake - how could such a youngster have sufficient repertoire to satisfy the Birmingham audience's taste and sophistication? (!). Well, everyone was, of course wrong, and Thomas has brought great credit to a great city and we all love him to bits!!

 

The organ then sounded differently to how it did after the Mander re-build. Somehow it seemed more sonorous, had a growl about it which I haven't heard since then. Of course now it sounds wonderful (hopefully even better with the re-ordering of the hall).

 

We moved to Surrey in 1990 and I lost touch with what was going on for a while, and when I heard that the Town Hall was closed and some of the rumours......well it was all very sad.

 

However - Happy Endings in sight . Thomas Trotter and our grand old organ back together as they should be. I dare say GTB, Cunningham and all the other shades of organists past will be there applauding too. I can not imagine any of them pulling a face at a transcription or two. But then again...there is Bel Rondo i suppose!

 

Enjoy the concert if you go. I'll be the chap with the biggest smile in the hall.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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 him sitting at the old Willis III console, playing something quite ferocious, and his body would hardly move. It was as though he was just sitting there and the music was happening all by itself. And what a gentleman!!

 

I recall David Briggs playing when he was just a boy, and being very jealous of what was even then a wonderful talent.

 

Of course everyone thought Thomas Trotter's appointment to be a terribe mistake - how could such a youngster have sufficient repertoire to satisfy the Birmingham audience's taste and sophistication? (!). Well, everyone was, of course wrong, and Thomas has brought great credit to a great city and we all love him to bits!!

 

The organ then sounded differently to how it did after the Mander re-build. Somehow it seemed more sonorous, had a growl about it which I haven't heard since then. Of course now it sounds wonderful (hopefully even better with the re-ordering of the hall).

 

We moved to Surrey in 1990 and I lost touch with what was going on for a while, and when I heard that the Town Hall was closed and some of the rumours......well it was all very sad.

 

However - Happy Endings in sight . Thomas Trotter and our grand old organ back together as they should be. I dare say GTB, Cunningham and all the other shades of organists past will be there applauding too. I can not imagine any of them pulling a face at a transcription or two. But then again...there is Bel Rondo i suppose!

 

Enjoy the concert if you go. I'll be the chap with the biggest smile in the hall.

 

TT's programme is very much what I would have expected, a real crowd-pleaser, and just what the punters have been waiting for. This is NOT the opening recital on a new organ but rather a musical reunion.

There will be plenty of opportunities in the future (for those of us who have not heard this fine instrument in the flesh) to enjoy a choice of music more likely to tempt listeners from Dorset or Dumfriesshire!

 

Have a great time Willy.

 

A

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...