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Guest Roffensis

Kingsway Hall

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Guest Roffensis

According to the NPOR there is a photo extant of Kingsway Hall showing the organ removed. Does anyone know where photo is? I would be most interested indeed to see this. The organ has always remained a mystery as to what ever became of it. Of course the powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, had what was a excellent recording venue demolished (both Decca and EMI used it a vast amount of times) with a very fine organ apparently scrapped as well. I can think of many an organ I would scrap before that one. It was magnificent.

 

R

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According to the NPOR there is a photo extant of Kingsway Hall showing the organ removed. Does anyone know where photo is? I would be most interested indeed to see this. The organ has always remained a mystery as to what ever became of it. Of course the powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, had what was a excellent recording venue demolished (both Decca and EMI used it a vast amount of times) with a very fine organ apparently scrapped as well. I can think of many an organ I would scrap before that one. It was magnificent.

Are there many recordings that feature the Kingsway Hall organ? An Also Sprach Zarathustra would be cool. In about 1980 I was working in an office around the corner and popped into KH as there was a clothes sale advertised; I'm slightly ashamed to admit I can't remember whether I saw an organ in there or not. The building felt very "tired" and unloved. I have a feeling the man that tried desperately to save KH as a classical music space was the same man who campaigned for a National Lottery to fund the arts.

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Guest Roffensis
Are there many recordings that feature the Kingsway Hall organ? An Also Sprach Zarathustra would be cool. In about 1980 I was working in an office around the corner and popped into KH as there was a clothes sale advertised; I'm slightly ashamed to admit I can't remember whether I saw an organ in there or not. The building felt very "tired" and unloved. I have a feeling the man that tried desperately to save KH as a classical music space was the same man who campaigned for a National Lottery to fund the arts.

 

 

The London Symphony Orchestra recorded mostly there, and there is a discography of them on the internet. Recordings that spring to mind are several of Holst's planet's versions, Boult, Steinberg among them. kempe conducting Janacek's Glagolithic Mass with one John Birch doing a truly stunning performance of the Postlude (Decca, reissued on CD). There is also a rather entertaining Eric Rogers LP of the organ alone "The Mighty Colossus of Sound", LOL!!! doing more Cinema style stuff than anything, recorded in Decca Phase 4 and pretty amusing to listen to, but the organ still shines out.

 

Yes the hall was "tired", I always wish could have become a museum of recording history, the amount of big names that passed through its doors is staggering, and it was recorded extensively by HMV by many 1930s organists as well. The "Kingsway rumble" from the underground of course can be heard and felt over wide range playback equipment. Despite this notorious drawback, the acoustic was excellent, and the hall was thus much in demand.

 

I'll check out the Strauss for you!

 

R

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According to the NPOR there is a photo extant of Kingsway Hall showing the organ removed. Does anyone know where photo is? I would be most interested indeed to see this. The organ has always remained a mystery as to what ever became of it. Of course the powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, had what was a excellent recording venue demolished (both Decca and EMI used it a vast amount of times) with a very fine organ apparently scrapped as well. I can think of many an organ I would scrap before that one. It was magnificent.

 

R

 

Hi

 

e-mail the NPOR office. I guess the info came as part of the last update - but I'm not at liberty to disclose surveyor's names & contact details).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thankyou so much for this. It is really kind of you to show these wonderful phots. What a shame......

 

Yes, my thoughts entirely. Does anybody have any idea what happened to this instrument at all?

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The Kingsway Hall organ is featured on an EMI Great Recordings of the Century CD produced in 1991 featuring performances by George Thalben-Ball on a number of instruments. The tracks recorded in KH are a Handel arr. Henry Wood organ concerto with a last movement cadenza by GTB that I presume gives a fair representaiton of the instrument and is almost as long as the movement itself. When I got the disk out I had forgotten it also included a remarkable one-in-a bar performance of Bach's Toccata in F from BBC Studios at Maida Vale – unidiomatic with reeds and swell box crescendos but exciting no the less.

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Thankyou so much for this. It is really kind of you to show these wonderful phots. What a shame......

 

R

 

Being only 16/17 when I went there, I don't remember too much about it, apart from the Echo box which had carpet pinned inside the shutters to make the 4 stops almost totally inaudible. Also the timpani drum was just that, mounted on top of one of the boxes with a christie-style attachment for the p and f rolls but no skin because it had perished, so the beaters waggled manically.

 

Peter

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Being only 16/17 when I went there, I don't remember too much about it, apart from the Echo box which had carpet pinned inside the shutters to make the 4 stops almost totally inaudible. Also the timpani drum was just that, mounted on top of one of the boxes with a christie-style attachment for the p and f rolls but no skin because it had perished, so the beaters waggled manically.

 

Peter

 

I have vague memories stirring that it was purchased by an entrepreneur who was talking about selling it in Australia. Other memories that it had to be removed in a great hurry at the end before any deals had been made and it was simply acrapped.

 

Can anyone help? There must be some documents about somewhere.

 

FF

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