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DouglasCorr

P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

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I've been in the church today and - wait for it - played it! To be fair, I played my one hymn tune very badly but it does sound absolutely fabulous. Ian and co are busy putting in the final touches and it will be used for the first service on Sunday, with the installation on Easter Day. All very exciting!

Peter

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Brilliant to hear! I remember it going into it’s first home with similar anticipation for it’s opening celebrations. We were very fortunate to have it and it still seems odd for the university to have got rid of it.

A

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I have just come back from the Orford Organ Festival. This included recitals by Paul Hale and Bernard Haas (almost completely from memory!) and organ with choir and orchestra with Catherine Ennis. When the organ was in the Turner Sims Concert Hall, where the reverberation was negligible when an audience was present, the organ allowed much music from the Barock era to be played satisfactorily with appropriate tone colours and balance; it was most satisfying sound yet one could not describe it as beautiful. St Bartholomew's church Orford's interior is both wide and lofty and provides a few seconds reverberation, even when there are over a hundred people in the church. This transforms the sound of the organ into one which is memorably beautiful! Perhaps one might argue that Peter Collins would have voiced the organ differently if this church had been its original home; however Cousans  have done an excellent job in restoring the organ to life once more! 

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As ever the most important stop on any organ is the acoustic of its building. I seem to recall reading that the Armley Schulze never achieved its much-deserved recognition as long as it remained in a wooden shed at the bottom of its first owner's garden. What transformed it was the transplant to St Bartholomew's.

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Accurate but a trifle harsh..

the Organ House was designed by Pugin the younger.

in Allbutt’s words “ it was a pleasant building in chalet style,large enough to seat some eight hundred people...built of mainly wooden framing,protected by slates and panelled within with fine white woods its acoustic properties proved to be sympathetic with the music”

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Last week I spent a happy hour playing the Collins at Orford and was mightily impressed. The sound is much more refined than it was when it was in Southampton and indeed the revoicing for the new acoustic has been most successful with former rough edges now lovingly smoothed so to speak. The new action is also all that one could wish for and the new balanced expression pedal and shutters enclosing the Brustwerk an added bonus. 

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It is one of the most successful transplants I know of. All credit to Graeme Kay and the Orford organ project team who doggedly hung onto the idea despite DAC 'involvement'..

The Collins sounds wonderful in that room - I'm sure the Peter Collins would be really happy that it sings. Total credit to Ian Carter and his team at Cousans, who have made this lovely instrument work well and sound stunning.

 

Peter

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11 hours ago, P DeVile said:

It is one of the most successful transplants I know of. All credit to Graeme Kay and the Orford organ project team who doggedly hung onto the idea despite DAC 'involvement'..

The Collins sounds wonderful in that room - I'm sure the Peter Collins would be really happy that it sings. Total credit to Ian Carter and his team at Cousans, who have made this lovely instrument work well and sound stunning.

 

Peter

Totally in agreement! The organ is still the same one I first encountered 40 plus years ago but mechanically and tonally polished so to speak. It proves a point now that a decent action with decent voicing can make music sound good. OK it can not cope with too much high Romanticism but much of the classical and early repertoire works well and anything later requiring clear lines, warm foundations and characterful voices likewise. 

A

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This news is very heartening, and prompts a strong desire to hear the organ again in its new home!  I attended very many recitals over the years with friends at the Turner Sims Concert Hall.  Peter Collins was always there, as was Professor Evans usually.  Sadly, the organ was somewhat unloved in its last years.  There was visible damage to pipework which went unrepaired for a long time, the organ was less used and then, of course, disappeared completely.  This was partly due to the flooding of the hall, but the reasons for not keeping the organ after the hall was restored did not seem entirely convincing.

Some players skilfully performed Romantic music with some measure of success, but as AJJ says, the organ shone in the classical and earlier repertoire.  Out of many performances that was highlighted in a recital by John Scott Whiteley including the “Sei gegrüsset” variations - perfection!  The hall had a difficult acoustic, and opinions varied about the best position to hear the organ.  In common with the RFH organ the acoustic didn’t allow any inaccurate playing.  In fact, the standards were invariably very high and there were many memorable performances while the organ was at Southampton.  We must be thankful that it has found such a good new home.

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