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DouglasCorr

P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

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Never mind the Turner Simms Collins - come to the Guildhall instead and experience one of the finest concert instruments in the land. I refer of course to the wonderful Compton dual purpose organ.

 

You could also consider purchasing the new CD, Grand Variety, of virtuoso organist Richard Hills playing this unique instrument. See http://www.ssfweb.co.uk/silverst/html/grand_variety.html

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Surely it isn't beyond the wit of man to link a float switch (located above the normal high level in the sump) to a loud alarm, powered independently of the automatic pump?

Cost less than £200 including installation?

If I were the insurance company I wouldn't be paying out twice!

 

(Incidentally, I remember once being shown the pump-out sump beneath the stage in Snape Maltings, by Bob Ling, wonderful bloke.)

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According to www.southampton.ac.uk/music/about/facilities/keyboard.page

"Our 1976 three-manual tracker-action pipe organ by Peter Collins is currently being rebuilt off-site with a view to starting an exciting new life in a church building. The move has freed valuable floor space in the Turner Sims, which can now accommodate a full symphony orchestra."

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On ‎08‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 19:23, Martin Cooke said:

Is the organ no longer in the Turner Sims Hall? It appears to be being considered for St Bartholomew's, Orford.

Orford Church in Suffolk?

It was a building I always wanted to visit and was totally amazed by it when I, eventually, did visit there. Totally magnificent - but so small! Where did Britten put the large children's orchestra (complete with slung mugs, wind machine, bugles and handbells etc.) for the first performance of Noyes Fludde in 1958? - and how many 'animals' did he manage to get into the ark on that occasion? - and then there are gossips, eight principal singers, the unseen God, a string quintet and piano duet. (I've conducted performances of Noyes Fludde, now, six times - the smallest performance employed an orchestra of about 50 with 60 animals - the largest had an orchestra of 150 and 360 animals!)

I've always thought that Britten was a consummate craftsman. I'd even go so far to say that there isn't any bad Britten! - and I've always thought that the, very quiet, double pedalling at the beginning of the 'storm' in Noyes Fludde is inspired - you don't hear it below the Passacaglia subject - but you feel it! How did Ralph Downes, who played the first performance, cope with the little two manual Lewis - with it's solitary 16' Bourdon!

Sorry to distract the thread - it's the the mention of Orford and it's associations with a work that can, and has, induced nightmares into the bravest conductor!

 

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I can't see where this instrument will sit in this lovely church, in its present form. I suppose it could be proud of the west doors, which do not seem to be used in a significant way.

In the Turner Sims, built with the acoustic assistance of the University's splendidly-named Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, it was very much in-your-face.

Perhaps, the case will need to be cut up (with the Pedal stops behind, as happened at Christ Church, Oxford), or a new one made. There are windows and 'inconvenient' screens which no faculty would allow to be blocked, I'm sure.

Does anyone know if the contract has been awarded, or are funds still being sought ?

Whichever, it will sound glorious in that building - and be a superb addition to the organs of Suffolk.

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5 hours ago, S_L said:

Orford Church in Suffolk?

It was a building I always wanted to visit and was totally amazed by it when I, eventually, did visit there. Totally magnificent - but so small! Where did Britten put the large children's orchestra (complete with slung mugs, wind machine, bugles and handbells etc.) for the first performance of Noyes Fludde in 1958? - and how many 'animals' did he manage to get into the ark on that occasion? - and then there are gossips, eight principal singers, the unseen God, a string quintet and piano duet. (I've conducted performances of Noyes Fludde, now, six times - the smallest performance employed an orchestra of about 50 with 60 animals - the largest had an orchestra of 150 and 360 animals!)

I've always thought that Britten was a consummate craftsman. I'd even go so far to say that there isn't any bad Britten! - and I've always thought that the, very quiet, double pedalling at the beginning of the 'storm' in Noyes Fludde is inspired - you don't hear it below the Passacaglia subject - but you feel it! How did Ralph Downes, who played the first performance, cope with the little two manual Lewis - with it's solitary 16' Bourdon!

Sorry to distract the thread - it's the the mention of Orford and it's associations with a work that can, and has, induced nightmares into the bravest conductor!

 

Bad Britten? Psalm 150!

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This was written both for and with the performers of Britten's prepper (South Lodge, Lowestoft) in mind. It wasn't meant to be as 'deep' as, say, the War Requiem.

I sang in it when young and have to say I enjoyed it immensely. I'm sure its first (private) performance was similarly appreciated. It was then given publicly as part of the Aldeburgh Festival, in Orford.

A place for everything . . . . . .

Whilst I'm about it, members may wish to know about a first performance of mine: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099x2h2. It's in the second half, sandwiched by Carter.

Next year, one of my organ works will be committed to CD. Further details to follow.

Edited by John Furse
mental aberration

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5 hours ago, innate said:

Bad Britten? Psalm 150!

 

Looks like we'll have to disagree on that!

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Lovely to read about this instrument in the Turner Sims concert hall, as it brought back memories of studying music there in the late 1970s. I went to Piet Kee's inaugural recital. The thing that sticks in my mind was that at some point in what I think was an improvisation, he half-stood and slammed the brustwerk doors shut.

Great to have others' recollections. As a student, I particularly liked to volunteer to "usher" at the concerts, which gave free access to some extraordinary music.

I did a few lunchtime recitals on the organ and although I'm no great organist (to save anyone else having to point that out!!) I thought you might be interested to hear a recording of the instrument. I was always passionate about recording and built my own stereo cassette machine and put the microphones on the front row of seats. I recently found the tape and here it is in its original and vintage, cassette-y glory. Making allowances for a very old stereo recording done on home-made equipment, I think it gives you a good feel for the different sounds the organ made, and also the dry acoustic.

Turner Sims organ - lunchtime organ recital Feb 3, 1978

Although I'm sad to read about what befell it, I do hope it lives again in its new home.

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Thank you Mark for letting us hear this instrument, and  I enjoyed your playing as well.  You had a very quiet and attentive audience so they must have felt the same!  I like hearing an organ close up and personal like that, and usually play my home instrument (digital) with the reverb decay time turned fairly low as I find an artificial ambience which does not approximate to the actual size of the room to be unsatisfactory.   However I also find it more difficult to play in a dry acoustic, though no doubt it's good for one's technique.

The stereo image was excellent and your tape has stood the test of time well.  Was the recorder you built designed by John Linsley Hood by any chance?  I made one of his designs from a kit marketed in the 70s and used it for years.  And I'm still using his 75 watt amplifier from that era!

CEP

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5 hours ago, Mark Harmer said:

Lovely to read about this instrument in the Turner Sims concert hall, as it brought back memories of studying music there in the late 1970s. 

I was there studying Music too from ‘75 to ‘78 so was most likely in your audience! We were extremely lucky to have this instrument to learn and play on and whatever one thinks about its decidedly ‘70s concept it was certainly a huge influence on my playing and a number of others also I would guess.

A

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Thank you, Colin! I was hesitant even to link to the recording, but it seemed such a shame not to have a recording of it available, because I’ve not found one anywhere else. I think the middle movement isn’t too bad. 

Electronics of that era could be very good, when they were good! My machine was a modified Phillips – one of those joystick things - very basic - but I took the batteries out and put a second board from another machine in the battery compartment, plus a stereo head. It was a bit of a job, but it did work very well, considering. I had some external batteries, of course, because the battery compartment was now full of electronics. The mics were just home-made electret capsules. 

And AJJ so extraordinary to read your post, and think that I might have met an audience member all these years later! Yes, we were lucky especially considering the alternatives available at that time.

For those who want to see the photos of its demise, I got this link I think from another post in the same forum. They are in reverse order.

Turner Sims organ being removed

 

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23 hours ago, Mark Harmer said:

 

I did a few lunchtime recitals on the organ .......

Turner Sims organ - lunchtime organ recital Feb 3, 1978

Although I'm sad to read about what befell it, I do hope it lives again in its new home.

2 hours ago, Mark Harmer said:

When I started this topic I never expected it to come to such a sad and undeserved end. And it was too upsetting to see the photographs of the organ being dismantled.

 

Thanks Mark for providing the short recording of your recital - what an exciting and interesting sound! I don't know of any recordings of the Turner Sims organ. (Although there is the Regent Records CD "from Chamber to Chantry" that features several other Peter Collins organs.)

When I was deciding to buy my own organ from Peter Collins I spent a few hour at the Turner Sims; and had the pleasure to meet Prof Evans, who I think was the driving force behind the acquisition of the instrument.

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Looking at the pictures it appears that what we are seeing is the floor being taken up due I seem to remember to water flooding the performing area from one of the streams that pass through the campus. It looks to me as if the organ had already gone when these were taken. I visited last year and was told that the instrument was dismantled and in storage awaitng a new home. I am not aware of which organ builing firm dismantled it nor details of the storage arrangements though possibly one or two on here might know more.

A

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Hi Alastair,

The photos are in reverse order but keep going and you see the organ being dismantled (or rather, ”mantled” as they are out of order)! I’d agree with DouglasCorr: a sad sight to see it being stripped and removed.

Douglas, Thank you so much for starting this topic. I’m glad you did, because it’s been a fascinating if slightly upsetting journey.

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Oh yes - those didn’t seem to want to arrive last time I looked!

A

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Hello all ...

My first post on this board which has provided much of interest over the years.

Orford is not so far from where I live so it will be interesting to see this organ in its new home. I found some interesting information in a recent Orford newsletter. Amongst other things, the organ is described as being "with our organ builders near Leicester" and is apparently scheduled for installation at Orford next Easter. The article also links to some archive BBC recordings of the organ - Orford's organist is BBC Radio 3 producer Graeme Kay.

You can read more here - http://www.orford.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/VV-November-2017-FINAL.pdf

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On 29/11/2017 at 23:48, Mark Harmer said:

Oh, this is fantastic - really enjoyed the recordings!

This is good news and if anyone wants to hear the slightly younger sibling of the TS organ then they can do so here now also in its second home. A nice touch also is that apparently Professor Peter Evans who was the driving force behind the TS organ and a biographer of Benjamin Britten listened to the premier of BB’s Curlew River from the porch at Orford beacause he was unable to get a seat!

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D06607

A

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Very nice - one does not hear the Hindemith Sonatas much these days. Incidentally, much of this on here is being passed on to Professor Peter Evans who is following the news of the organ with interest. He is not currently in the best of health but is apparently much enthused that it will have a new home albeit not the one that it was orignally designed for.

A

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Lovely that Professor Evans is taking an interest and I can imagine it’s a bittersweet thing that the organ is going but lovely that it’s going to live again.

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Sadly, Professor Peter Evans whose brainchild the TS organ was died early on January 1st.

A

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