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DouglasCorr

P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

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Incidentally, organs are voiced in empty rooms. Quite a lot of them don't sound very good when the hall is full...

Did I once read somewhere that Birmingham Uni was voiced with a sack of newspaper on every chair in the hall, for this very reason?

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Did I once read somewhere that Birmingham Uni was voiced with a sack of newspaper on every chair in the hall, for this very reason?

 

Indeed. There was an article in The Organ following the 1967 rebuild, which explained that, as the university 'like any institution which possesses a Computer, has a great deal of waste paper' ( :huh: )which was used to fill a sack on every seat in the VERY reverberant hall.

 

A very interesting organ, incidentally - very much of its time, and certainly an instrument of parts, as the Swell and Solo remained largely romantic, while the Great and Pedal became decidedly neo-Baroque. The Choir, a small Positive division made new in '67 and located at the front of the case in a box/tone cabinet, is very beautifully voiced. I played this instrument for two years until 2001, and enjoyed it very much.

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I don't know what's worse - the fact that you can look up forty year old copies of The Organ at the drop of a hat, or that I was apparently reading it 3 years before I was born... :huh:

 

As a matter of interest, is it your impression that the technique was successful - does the instrument work better with the hall full?

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I don't know what's worse - the fact that you can look up forty year old copies of The Organ at the drop of a hat, or that I was apparently reading it 3 years before I was born... ;)

 

As a matter of interest, is it your impression that the technique was successful - does the instrument work better with the hall full?

 

 

:rolleyes: I unearthed the article from the BOA in Birmingham while waiting for the instrument to be made available - during the first six months of my time at the university, the hall was being renovated and the organ was wrapped up against the dust. For me, that particular quote was rather memorable!

 

I never heard it when the hall was full, but the sound was spine-tingling and almost overwhelming in the empty building, and very fine when the hall was approximately one third full. My guess would be that the technique was successful, but I can't be sure. I do wish that this instrument was better known, as it has the potential to be a very good instrument indeed, especially with the acoustic provided. Here is a picture of the hall when full - you get a reasonable impression of the sheer scale of the building - the organ has a 32' front.

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I don't know what's worse - the fact that you can look up forty year old copies of The Organ at the drop of a hat, or that I was apparently reading it 3 years before I was born... :huh:

 

As a matter of interest, is it your impression that the technique was successful - does the instrument work better with the hall full?

 

Hi

 

Copies of "The Organ" aren't that rare! I have a fair number - complete from, IIRC< the late 1960's to date, and probably around 60% of the earlier ones, right back to issue 1 in 1923 (and I'm on the lookout for the ones I'm missing)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I do wish that this instrument was better known, as it has the potential to be a very good instrument indeed, especially with the acoustic provided.

 

You may be interested to hear that Henry Fairs is going to be performing the complete works of Messiaen on this instrument during 2008.

More details at: http://www.henryfairs.com/forthcoming

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You may be interested to hear that Henry Fairs is going to be performing the complete works of Messiaen on this instrument during 2008.

More details at: http://www.henryfairs.com/forthcoming

 

Help - for one moment I thought he was playing this in Southampton!! (Good job I checked where the original thread had gone - and Henry Fairs' website).

 

AJJ :huh:

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Help - for one moment I thought he was playing this in Southampton!! (Good job I checked where the original thread had gone - and Henry Fairs' website).

 

AJJ :huh:

 

Ahh Ooopps!

 

Let's state now, before total confusion sets in, Henry's Messiaen performances will be at the Great Hall, Birmingham University.

Which, incidentally has had some work done on it - some releathering, re-wiring, etc. but including moving the console further back and, consequently, higher up. I doublt whether the player will hear it as well as from its former position, but haven't actually tried it myself.

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I'm sure that message board readers will be delighted to know that last night's concert on the P D Collins organ at Southampton University by Stephen Cleobury was a great success - the organ having been silent for such a long time.

 

Prior to the concert there was a talk about the organ by Peter Collins, Professor Peter Evans and Peter Hurford.

 

There is a will for it to be heard more in the future...

 

Stephen Cleobury described the organ as magnificent. As has been attested to by other message boarders.

 

Don't forget the acoustics in the concert hall are so poor (for the organ) as to make the RFH seem like the RAH, these cicumstances have to be borne in mind by those that criticise the organ.

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I'm sure that message board readers will be delighted to know that last night's concert on the P D Collins organ at Southampton University by Stephen Cleobury was a great success - the organ having been silent for such a long time.

 

Prior to the concert there was a talk about the organ by Peter Collins, Professor Peter Evans and Peter Hurford.

 

There is a will for it to be heard more in the future...

 

Stephen Cleobury described the organ as magnificent. As has been attested to by other message boarders.

 

Don't forget the acoustics in the concert hall are so poor (for the organ) as to make the RFH seem like the RAH, these cicumstances have to be borne in mind by those that criticise the organ.

 

Good to hear! And good also that Prof. Peter Evans was there - he was an inspiration to a large number of us undergrads.

 

AJJ

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I'm sure that Message Boarders will be really pleased to know that there is, and what is now becoming, a rare opportunity to hear the Collins Organ at Turner Sims. On Tuesday 28th April Thomas Trotter will be playing all the Bach Trio Sonatas. What a fantastic combination of music, player and organ! Not many organs will cope with one sonata, let alone the whole lot! Hear for yourselves...

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I'm sure that Message Boarders will be really pleased to know that there is, and what is now becoming, a rare opportunity to hear the Collins Organ at Turner Sims. On Tuesday 28th April Thomas Trotter will be playing all the Bach Trio Sonatas. What a fantastic combination of music, player and organ! Not many organs will cope with one sonata, let alone the whole lot! Hear for yourselves...

 

 

What a shame I can't come due to an Israel in Egypt r/h that evening - I know know where I'd rather be - having played that organ for various events/concerts over the years since it went in. You wouldn't believe what some choirs/choral societies have got away with with that organ, mainly due to the complete lack of alternative venues around Southampton rather than any particular fondness for the venue, it has to be said! Accompaning Britten and a concert of victorian choral music without a Swell box is not my favourite cup of tea, especially when the conductor wants a shimmery Céleste sound and you have a Wood Gedackt, or an athsmatic Gambe!

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Oh, yes, playing romantic organ music at TSCH is a good challenge!!

 

I found that I had 2 options for a celeste:

 

1. Use the gambe with the tremulant. It was a good wheeze but you had to play very legato and carefully so the gambe's wheezes don't disrupt things...

2. In a concert, one could couple the Oberwerk Gedeckt to the Brustwerk Gedeckt. If there were enough people in the concert hall, there would be enough of a temperature difference (you only really need 3 degrees) for it to form a nice flute celestes...

 

********************************************

 

Rather interesting that Tommie Trotter is trotting out the 6 trio sonatas again in this neck of the woods. He did the same concert about 1 or 2 years ago at Winchester Cathedral and even more recently at Queen Elizabeth Hall (a very straightforward train journey away from Soton).

 

Some of you may be surprised to hear the Trio Sonatas work very well in Winchester Cathedral. However, the Cathedral organ works very well (the EP action here is responsive and accurate) and there are plenty of suitable sounds on the organ to choose from. The acoustic in the Quire (where everyone sat) is very clear and intimate so we could hear everything in very acceptable clarity. It proved to be a surprisingly good venue for what turned out to be a very good gig.

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I'm sure that Message Boarders will be really pleased to know that there is, and what is now becoming, a rare opportunity to hear the Collins Organ at Turner Sims. On Tuesday 28th April Thomas Trotter will be playing all the Bach Trio Sonatas. What a fantastic combination of music, player and organ! Not many organs will cope with one sonata, let alone the whole lot! Hear for yourselves...

If you weren't there then you missed a really great recital - plenty of different registrations to cope with all the movements! Lots of extra ornaments and superb musicianship.

 

And I'm sure certain message boarders will be pleased to note that there appears to be a new hook to keep the Brustwerk doors closed when required.

 

And for the miserable message boarders I can say that the organ worked perfectly and was really in tune, especially the reeds (including the Brustwerk reed!)

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Guest Cynic
If you weren't there then you missed a really great recital - plenty of different registrations to cope with all the movements! Lots of extra ornaments and superb musicianship.

 

And I'm sure certain message boarders will be pleased to note that there appears to be a new hook to keep the Brustwerk doors closed when required.

 

And for the miserable message boarders I can say that the organ worked perfectly and was really in tune, especially the reeds (including the Brustwerk reed!)

 

 

Did you find out who maintains the instrument?

I think the answer will explain why it all functioned properly.

 

Put it this way, I can guess who doesn't maintain it.

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Members might like to know that the organ from the TS concert hall has been removed in its entirety and is currently languishing in an industrial unit near Bournemouth Airport. Its return is by no means certain as there are a number of persons who use the building who are rather glad to see it gone.........It has certainly liberated some much needed space on the concert platform!

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Members might like to know that the organ from the TS concert hall has been removed in its entirety and is currently languishing in an industrial unit near Bournemouth Airport. Its return is by no means certain as there are a number of persons who use the building who are rather glad to see it gone.........It has certainly liberated some much needed space on the concert platform!

 

Indeed. You can actually get a full orchestra on there now.

 

For balance and background, just in case anyone thinks this is an act of wanton destruction - the TS is built over a stream. An electric pump continually empties the basement of water. Some electricians, several months ago, worked on the building and then left without putting the pump back on. The parquet floor was ruined - as indeed it was a few years ago in the same way.

 

In order to replace the parquet floor, the organ has been removed - as it was last time.

 

Whether or not it returns is not yet decided, but should they decide against, there are other venues in Southampton expressing keen interest in housing it in an unaltered condition. In my view it would in any case benefit from a more generous acoustic.

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Whether or not it returns is not yet decided, but should they decide against, there are other venues in Southampton expressing keen interest in housing it in an unaltered condition. In my view it would in any case benefit from a more generous acoustic.

Which venues are expressing an interest?

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Members might like to know that the organ from the TS concert hall has been removed in its entirety and is currently languishing in an industrial unit near Bournemouth Airport.

 

Now there's a challenge that can't be ignored - there are only about 500 such units... I wouldn't mind another practice organ!

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Now there's a challenge that can't be ignored - there are only about 500 such units... I wouldn't mind another practice organ!

 

Hmm!

 

Colin, I hope you'll understand that I posted what I did in order to avoid any speculation that the organ was to be destroyed or anything like that. It would seriously compromise any future project if I put any more here.

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With the massive insurance payout that the University will get for the disastrous situation, the organ may well go back into the hall. At the moment an electronic instrument will come to the rescue for the Graduations and various carol services etc.

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With the massive insurance payout that the University will get for the disastrous situation, the organ may well go back into the hall. At the moment an electronic instrument will come to the rescue for the Graduations and various carol services etc.

This seems to me not so much of a disaster, but a foreseeable eventuality, particularly in light of the previous flood. It's shocking that there were apparently no procedures in place to check that the pumping equipment was always operating correctly.

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Things now seem to be going from bad to worse. I recently enquired when the organ would be going back into the concert hall and I received the reply that they were not sure whether it would be going back! I think that this eventuality would be a serious musical loss - the recitals there were quite well attended - the organ made a respectable sound, appreciated by many fine players, despite the lack of reverberation. This would be a very sad end to Professor Evans notable achievement.

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Douglas - the pump system is automatic and normally works well. What it can't legislate for is if stupid electricians turn the elctrical supply off for days over an unattended bank holiday.

As far as the organ is concerned, there are discussions taking place about it. Without jeopadising the situation, there is more than a distinct possiblity that the organ will be re-homed. Its presence in the hall is considered 'difficult' and that the hall is now used for many other events which could not have even been perceived in Prof. Evans' time. Because of this, the organ's integrety and safety is often compromised. Secondly, there has always been a real difficulty regarding the use of the instrument. This is partly due to the hall being owned and administered by one branch of the university, and the organ being owned and managed by the music dept. The Tuner Sims Concert Hall organ is not owned by the hall itself. This has caused no end of 'difficulty' for students and other interested parties actually getting access to the insturment, and there is more than a distinct feeling that the access to the instrument would be enhanced if the instrument were placed in a more accessible situation.

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