willy Posted October 10, 2007 Share Posted October 10, 2007 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 considerably too, with the removal of the old balcony. I am sure there will be lots of controversy aboput that - but we could so easily have lost the lot had the City fathers and others decided not to fund the Hall's restoration project, which was imperative as the building was unsafe. In the Parry, i was a bit disappointed, as the organ never really emerged above the orchestra (CBSO) and the CBS Chorus (in fine voice I must say). The pedal came through right enough but that was about it. In The Music Makers, I thought we were going to have the same experience, and began to wonder whether the organ was actually all there. However, gradually as the work progressed, from "therefore today is thrilling..." onwards it projected more and more. Snarling swell reeds here, the great diapasons there, a sustained note on the 32 open metal which absolutely filled the hall, was magical. When we got to "we are afar with the dawning..." and those lofty maestoso chords, we received the full organ full on. The effect was amazing and I noted faces around beaming at the sound. As a brummie exiled in London I was so thrilled to hear "my old organ" doing its stuff again, with the CBSO and CBSC back in their old home performing with it. The Town Hall has an exciting programme for forthcoming months, with pretty well weekly recitals by Thomas or guests on the TH organ, and of course on the Symphony Hall Kleiss. The first organ recital by Thomas is next Wednesday 17th, afternoon and repeated in the evening and I will be heading North for that too. The programme says that there is a new bourdon on the bombarde, harmonic flute on the great, and a new violoncello on the pedal (replacements?), and i wondered why (can Mr Mander tell us?). Also the Bombarde division and attendant 32 reed unit on the pedals has been hushed up a bit apparently, and again I wondered why? I understand that the organ won't be playing with a big orchestra/chorus as much as it used to, but the TH may prove a better sized venue for organ related concerts on occasion in the future and i predict that the full orchestral resources will play along, plus jobs like accompanying a packed audience from time to time. The bit of extra "oomph" may well be missed. The 1982 rebuild allegedly reduced the organ's power somewhat as it returned to the Victorian Hill spirit, rather than Willis' 1933 style, and i understood the Wills reeds which sit on the bombarde and the new pedal 2/16 unit were there to compensate. Anyway - a great night and congratulations to everyone involved in bringing the TH and organ back to life. PS - new CD available now from the hall (recorded in July by TT), and on general sale in November. regards to all Will Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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