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I'm not an habitual listener, but this week's programme showcases town hall and concert hall instruments. It's on Radio 2, which I recall is to be found a little way to the left of R3 :lol:

 

Oops, the time in the sub-heading is incorrect. The programme starts at 22.00

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I'm not an habitual listener, but this week's programme showcases town hall and concert hall instruments. It's on Radio 2, which I recall is to be found a little way to the left of R3 :lol:

 

Oops, the time in the sub-heading is incorrect. The programme starts at 22.00

 

 

=====================

 

I'm a regular listener; being organically active/interested on both sides of the divide

 

However, I haven't looked at any programme listing, but I thught it would be amusing to speculate on the contents of the programme, thus:-

 

Albert Hall - Christopher Herrick - Fantasy on Sea Songs by W T Best

 

Liverpool - Ian Tracey quite probably...playing Handel or a big Toccata

 

Southampton Guildhall - probably the late George Blackmore playing something or other

 

Percy Whitlock will probably get a mention

 

Kelvingrove - probably someone playing a Tchaikovsky transcription

 

To redress the balance, we'll probably hear the theatre organ at Worthing played by Ian Flitcroft, or Simon Gledhill playing at Ossett TH or the Victoria Hall, Saltaire.

 

You can forget the RFH and Germani, as well as the Fairfield Hall and anything which sounds remotely Neo-Broke.

 

That was fun, but I may be completely wrong.

 

MM

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I'll put in Birmingham Town Hall as an outsider as Nigel Ogden appears there most years to improvise to an otherwise silent movie...

 

I do very much like theatre organs; the technique of some of the players is stunning; but I sometimes find the programme on R2 a tad disappointing. Too much time is often taken by the BBC for trails. The last one to which I listened had probably little more than 20 minutes musical content. Mind you - that's 20 minutes per week more than organ music from the other side of the divide.

 

Still, my tape deck/timer will be set tomorrow.

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I'll put in Birmingham Town Hall as an outsider as Nigel Ogden appears there most years to improvise to an otherwise silent movie...

 

I do very much like theatre organs; the technique of some of the players is stunning; but I sometimes find the programme on R2 a tad disappointing. Too much time is often taken by the BBC for trails. The last one to which I listened had probably little more than 20 minutes musical content. Mind you - that's 20 minutes per week more than organ music from the other side of the divide.

 

Still, my tape deck/timer will be set tomorrow.

 

=====================

 

Dance Macabre - Saint-Saens, it is then! :lol:

 

I find many OE programmes dull, and then we have awful request shows where they dig up Reggie Dixon. Thank heavens that OE sometimes covers the American Organists, who really know how to light up a Wurlitzer.

 

Try this for perfection in transcription-playing, with music by Leroy Anderson: possibly the wealthiest organist ever, with such hits as "Blue Tango" and "Sleigh Ride."

 

 

Quite a large house organ don't you think?

 

 

 

MM

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OK....I was a little wide of the mark!

 

Altogether now......"Numpty!"

 

Anyway, the programme came as a pleasant surprise from the usual fayre of predictable transcriptions.

 

Sorry Mr Ogden!

 

MM

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I've only just got around to listening to my tape of the programme and what a breath of fresh air it was. For anyone interested, the instruments featured were;

 

1) Oxford Town Hall

 

2) Sheffield City Hall

 

3) Birmingham Town Hall (not Danse Macabre :( , I think TT recorded that one at Symphony Hall!)

 

4) Hull City Hall

 

5) Leeds Town Hall

 

6) Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and

 

7) Dunedin Town Hall, N.Z.

 

It's probably available on the i-player for a few days.

 

Try this for perfection in transcription-playing, with music by Leroy Anderson: possibly the wealthiest organist ever, with such hits as "Blue Tango" and "Sleigh Ride."

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btyebm5XUvI...feature=related

 

Quite a large house organ don't you think?

Complete with fairground horses :o

 

I've recently taken delivery of the new "Organ Fireworks" disc recorded in Melbourne Town. For anyone liking high pressure party horns and associated goodies it's a good listen. A superb performance of Guilmant's 1ere Sonata rounds it off (and how!).

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=====================

 

Dance Macabre - Saint-Saens, it is then! :(

 

I find many OE programmes dull, and then we have awful request shows where they dig up Reggie Dixon. Thank heavens that OE sometimes covers the American Organists, who really know how to light up a Wurlitzer.

 

Try this for perfection in transcription-playing, with music by Leroy Anderson: possibly the wealthiest organist ever, with such hits as "Blue Tango" and "Sleigh Ride."

 

 

Quite a large house organ don't you think?

 

 

 

MM

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Obviously contributors have forgotten that some time ago I started a thread re The Organist Entertains where I complained that the BBC continally changed the broadcasting day, reduced the length of the programme to a supposedly 30 minutes, when in fact this was 27 minutes because of news items and stopped Nigel advertising forthcoming concerts.

I doubt whether the BBC will ever change its attitude even though I and probably thousands of other enthusiasts wrote in protest to BBC 2 at the time.

I always enjoy the programme which I listen to on "play again" except when Nigel is featuring the Hammond organ which I find repulsive.

Colin Richell

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Obviously contributors have forgotten that some time ago I started a thread re The Organist Entertains where I complained that the BBC continally changed the broadcasting day, reduced the length of the programme to a supposedly 30 minutes, when in fact this was 27 minutes because of news items and stopped Nigel advertising forthcoming concerts.

I doubt whether the BBC will ever change its attitude even though I and probably thousands of other enthusiasts wrote in protest to BBC 2 at the time.

I always enjoy the programme which I listen to on "play again" except when Nigel is featuring the Hammond organ which I find repulsive.

Colin Richell

 

But surely Colin, in the right hands (and feet) a Hammond can be quite impressive. Try Barbara Dennerlein (if I spell her name correctly!).

 

Peter

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But surely Colin, in the right hands (and feet) a Hammond can be quite impressive. Try Barbara Dennerlein (if I spell her name correctly!).

 

Peter

 

=================

 

The Hammond Organ was always a good combo instrument, and still is, but that early sound was never terribly nice in solo. Nevertheless, a whole generation grew up with it, and there were stars of the Hammond both sides of the pond, such as Brian Rodwell and Ena Baga in the UK.

 

It was also used to great effect by Harry Stoneham (BBC) as a part of his jazz quintet, in this well known piece:-

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3l3OLfOT3o...feature=related

 

The later digital Hammonds are very different, but they are able to replicate the "original" Hammond sound when required, On this type of instrument, Barbara Dennerlein is supreme. There are numerous examples on YouTube.

 

 

MM

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=================

 

The Hammond Organ was always a good combo instrument, and still is, but that early sound was never terribly nice in solo. Nevertheless, a whole generation grew up with it, and there were stars of the Hammond both sides of the pond, such as Brian Rodwell and Ena Baga in the UK.

 

It was also used to great effect by Harry Stoneham (BBC) as a part of his jazz quintet, in this well known piece:-

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3l3OLfOT3o...feature=related

 

The later digital Hammonds are very different, but they are able to replicate the "original" Hammond sound when required, On this type of instrument, Barbara Dennerlein is supreme. There are numerous examples on YouTube.

 

 

MM

 

Didn't Procol Harum use a Hammond when Matthew Fisher was the band's organist? Now that is the defining Hammond sound!

 

Peter

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Didn't Procol Harum use a Hammond when Matthew Fisher was the band's organist? Now that is the defining Hammond sound!

 

Peter

 

Yes.

 

The Hammond has a distinctive sound that's just right for some musical styles and not too good for others. I'd like one - but definitely NOT as my only instrument.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Obviously contributors have forgotten that some time ago I started a thread re The Organist Entertains where I complained that the BBC continally changed the broadcasting day, reduced the length of the programme to a supposedly 30 minutes, when in fact this was 27 minutes because of news items and stopped Nigel advertising forthcoming concerts.

I doubt whether the BBC will ever change its attitude even though I and probably thousands of other enthusiasts wrote in protest to BBC 2 at the time.

I always enjoy the programme which I listen to on "play again" except when Nigel is featuring the Hammond organ which I find repulsive.

Colin Richell

 

I used to play a hammond organ in a church. As with the pipe organs I play it was rather older than me. It had a special starting arrangement for the tone generator motor. On one occassion I managed to accidently have it running at half speed so everything sounded extremly dull and I didn't know why until later. Obviously it was an octave down in pitch.

 

John

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=====================

 

Try this for perfection in transcription-playing, with music by Leroy Anderson: possibly the wealthiest organist ever, with such hits as "Blue Tango" and "Sleigh Ride."

 

 

MM

 

Just spotted this - I didn't know that Leroy Anderson was an organist - presumambly a theatre organist?

 

Peter

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Just spotted this - I didn't know that Leroy Anderson was an organist - presumambly a theatre organist?

 

Peter

 

=================

 

 

No, I believe he was trained as a classical organist initially, but his music, (of very high quality), was exclusively (I think), in the light category.....nothing wrong with that. I know someone who knew him, so I may be able to find out second-hand rather than third-hand. I also seem to recall that Anderson was very much the intellectual.....languages at Harvard?

 

Another is Rick Wakeman of "Tubular Bells" fame, but how "classsical" he is, I am not sure.

 

MM

 

Additional information discovered in about ten seconds:

 

http://www.leroyanderson.com/biography.php

 

His mother was also an organist apparently.

 

I notice he only spoke half-a-dozen languages. A former partner of mine was fluent in fourteen.

 

Bloody Harvard graduates! B)

 

MM

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=================

 

 

No, I believe he was trained as a classical organist initially, but his music, (of very high quality), was exclusively (I think), in the light category.....nothing wrong with that. I know someone who knew him, so I may be able to find out second-hand rather than third-hand. I also seem to recall that Anderson was very much the intellectual.....languages at Harvard?

 

Another is Rick Wakeman of "Tubular Bells" fame, but how "classsical" he is, I am not sure.

 

MM

 

Additional information discovered in about ten seconds:

 

http://www.leroyanderson.com/biography.php

 

His mother was also an organist apparently.

 

I notice he only spoke half-a-dozen languages. A former partner of mine was fluent in fourteen.

 

Bloody Harvard graduates! B)

 

MM

 

Thanks MM for the Anderson info.

 

Wasn't Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield? Not sure about his musical background though.

 

P

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Thanks MM for the Anderson info.

 

Wasn't Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield? Not sure about his musical background though.

 

P

 

=============================

 

You can tell how much I enjoyed it first time around! B)

 

What did Rick Wakemen do then?

 

MM

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=============================

 

You can tell how much I enjoyed it first time around! B)

 

What did Rick Wakemen do then?

 

MM

 

Rick was a classicly trained piano player at the RAM, he then went on to play for the Straws, Yes and as a session musician on many hit records (eg. cat stevens, morning has broken), and this year did a live recording at Hampton Court Palace, of "The six wives of henry the 8th", were he played a piece that he originaly played on the organ in St. Giles, Cripplegate (1972) And recorded a solo album of his own organ music recorded at Lincoln (see you tube)

 

peter

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=====================

 

Dance Macabre - Saint-Saens, it is then! :wub:

 

I find many OE programmes dull, and then we have awful request shows where they dig up Reggie Dixon. Thank heavens that OE sometimes covers the American Organists, who really know how to light up a Wurlitzer.

 

Try this for perfection in transcription-playing, with music by Leroy Anderson: possibly the wealthiest organist ever, with such hits as "Blue Tango" and "Sleigh Ride."

 

 

Quite a large house organ don't you think?

 

 

 

MM

 

Would it not occur to you that people request Reginald Dixon because that is what they want to hear?! The organ will NOT get anywhere unless you give the public what they want, hence why Dixon was so popular, he gave people EXACTLY what they wanted.

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Would it not occur to you that people request Reginald Dixon because that is what they want to hear?! The organ will NOT get anywhere unless you give the public what they want, hence why Dixon was so popular, he gave people EXACTLY what they wanted.

 

 

=====================

 

Perhaps you work in market research, I don’t know, but they tell me that Lady Ga-Ga and MC Rap is what people want these days. The trouble is, I still have a soft-spot for Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Meyerl, George Gershwin and watching Fred Astaire movies; all largely before my time as entertainment I listen and watch because they were class-acts which transcend time. I could shuffle along to hear 75 year-old Ethyl play the honky-tonk piano in town, but not too often without ear-plugs.

 

What occurs to me, is the fact that there are two broad ways of playing a theatre organ; either in an artistic way, or in a mass market way. Reginald Dixon very successfully exploited a highly stylised version of the latter, which drew people in their droves; especially those of the war-time generation. I can personally tolerate a bit of it, but as a genre of playing, it is very much the music of a generation which has now largely passed away. After all, the theatre organ was very good substitute for dance bands, and of course, it was dance and big-band music which was the pop music of the day. Tens of thousands of people probably made their way to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool in its heyday.

 

 

As someone who adores a good theatre organ well played, my interest is aroused by the ability of an organist to arrange music in such a way that it can work musically and convincingly, and apart from a very few British organists such as Simon Gledhill, the late Brian Rodwell, Sidney Torch, (the outstanding BBC arranger of his time)and Quentin Maclkean, and the very much alive Richard Hills, (among others), it is the American organists who now largely demonstrate how it should be done.

 

Reginald Dixon was inaccurate, sloppy, largely devoid of artistic ability and arranging skills....BUT....he knew how to make the rhythm bounce along, just as MC Rappers do to-day. Sadly, the process of dumbing-down is not a new phenomenon, and we are where we are because others thought it vulgar to be better or best.

 

I don't deny that there is a problem, because so many of the enthusiasts who rescued some of the best theatre organs were war-time generation people, and they liked their Blackpool "bounce." Out of respect to them and what they did, I have always enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves, but times have changed and things move on.

 

I would love to see the situation which exists to a certain extent in America, where serious classical organists are quite happy to slide onto a theatre organ and delight a crowd with seriously well-played, well arranged music. It is an art which has a serious following and many admirers in the world of music, and light music in particular. That's the BIG difference between us and them. In the UK, I’ve even heard the inverted snobbery of, “Another classical organist trying to be a theatre organist.”

 

I'm sorry to go on a bit, but I'm quite passionate about this. When I was in America, I was impressed by the quality of light-music; even on the streets As I now watch from a distance, I see a talent like John Williams as a film-composer, and recall people like the late Leroy Anderson......even the superb arrangements of the great Motown generation of black musicians such as Quincy Jones. (Think, among other things, of Michael Jackson's greatest hits and ballads......quite extraordinary). In America, here is a willingness to embrace and recognise ALL the talents, and not just some of them, but at the same time, they strive for quality right across the board, and not just small bits of it.

 

I work on the optimistic assumption, that if someone like John Williams can be associated with the Julliard School and the classical tradition, yet write something as hauntingly moving as the theme from "Schindler's List" or as creepily appropriate as the music for "Harry Potter," the same can be done anywhere, and failing to recognise talent by putting up social and musical boundaries, is actually counter-productive: possibly even destructive.

 

The great obstacle will always be snobbery, and that exists in America just as it does here. It can have serious implications for funding and broadcasting opportunities. I think, personally, that it was a scandal that some of the “organ establishment" turned against the Argentinian organist, Hector Olivera, simply because he played theatre organ. He is considered a little more acceptable now that he only plays classical organ and electronic instruments, yet as a musician, he can probably outplay most organists in the world in almost any genre or style.

 

I’m not quite sure snobbery is all about, unless it is people wanting to inflict their jaundiced and ill-informed opinions on others.

 

I recall a wrinkly old prune at a big-business charity garden party, who expected me to take her seriously, when she asked, “Did anything good ever come from outside London and the Home Counties?”

 

“Well,” I replied nonchalantly, “there’s Elgar and Shakespeare for a start.”

 

That got rid of her!

 

Anyway, let American organist Lyn Larsen have a word in our ears, followed by Richard Hills here in the UK, where you see him in action close-up. If anyone thinks that what they do is easy or lacking in quality, I challenge them to try it for themselves. Theatre organs are very complex machines to control.

 

 

 

Others are capable of grooming their hair after letting it down, as American organist Lew Williams demonstrates:-

 

 

When did you last hear that in an English restaurant?

 

Some English theatre organists did other things too:-

 

 

I believe that people will always respond to quality, irrespective of the genre or even the era, and quality entertainment is what the BBC should be about, rarther than pandering to superficial ratings.

 

MM

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=====================

 

Perhaps you work in market research, I don’t know, but they tell me that Lady Ga-Ga and MC Rap is what people want these days. The trouble is, I still have a soft-spot for Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Meyerl, George Gershwin and watching Fred Astaire movies; all largely before my time as entertainment I listen and watch because they were class-acts which transcend time. I could shuffle along to hear 75 year-old Ethyl play the honky-tonk piano in town, but not too often without ear-plugs.

 

What occurs to me, is the fact that there are two broad ways of playing a theatre organ; either in an artistic way, or in a mass market way. Reginald Dixon very successfully exploited a highly stylised version of the latter, which drew people in their droves; especially those of the war-time generation. I can personally tolerate a bit of it, but as a genre of playing, it is very much the music of a generation which has now largely passed away. After all, the theatre organ was very good substitute for dance bands, and of course, it was dance and big-band music which was the pop music of the day. Tens of thousands of people probably made their way to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool in its heyday.

 

 

As someone who adores a good theatre organ well played, my interest is aroused by the ability of an organist to arrange music in such a way that it can work musically and convincingly, and apart from a very few British organists such as Simon Gledhill, the late Brian Rodwell, Sidney Torch, (the outstanding BBC arranger of his time)and Quentin Maclkean, and the very much alive Richard Hills, (among others), it is the American organists who now largely demonstrate how it should be done.

 

Reginald Dixon was inaccurate, sloppy, largely devoid of artistic ability and arranging skills....BUT....he knew how to make the rhythm bounce along, just as MC Rappers do to-day. Sadly, the process of dumbing-down is not a new phenomenon, and we are where we are because others thought it vulgar to be better or best.

 

I don't deny that there is a problem, because so many of the enthusiasts who rescued some of the best theatre organs were war-time generation people, and they liked their Blackpool "bounce." Out of respect to them and what they did, I have always enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves, but times have changed and things move on.

 

I would love to see the situation which exists to a certain extent in America, where serious classical organists are quite happy to slide onto a theatre organ and delight a crowd with seriously well-played, well arranged music. It is an art which has a serious following and many admirers in the world of music, and light music in particular. That's the BIG difference between us and them. In the UK, I’ve even heard the inverted snobbery of, “Another classical organist trying to be a theatre organist.”

 

I'm sorry to go on a bit, but I'm quite passionate about this. When I was in America, I was impressed by the quality of light-music; even on the streets As I now watch from a distance, I see a talent like John Williams as a film-composer, and recall people like the late Leroy Anderson......even the superb arrangements of the great Motown generation of black musicians such as Quincy Jones. (Think, among other things, of Michael Jackson's greatest hits and ballads......quite extraordinary). In America, here is a willingness to embrace and recognise ALL the talents, and not just some of them, but at the same time, they strive for quality right across the board, and not just small bits of it.

 

I work on the optimistic assumption, that if someone like John Williams can be associated with the Julliard School and the classical tradition, yet write something as hauntingly moving as the theme from "Schindler's List" or as creepily appropriate as the music for "Harry Potter," the same can be done anywhere, and failing to recognise talent by putting up social and musical boundaries, is actually counter-productive: possibly even destructive.

 

The great obstacle will always be snobbery, and that exists in America just as it does here. It can have serious implications for funding and broadcasting opportunities. I think, personally, that it was a scandal that some of the “organ establishment" turned against the Argentinian organist, Hector Olivera, simply because he played theatre organ. He is considered a little more acceptable now that he only plays classical organ and electronic instruments, yet as a musician, he can probably outplay most organists in the world in almost any genre or style.

 

I’m not quite sure snobbery is all about, unless it is people wanting to inflict their jaundiced and ill-informed opinions on others.

 

I recall a wrinkly old prune at a big-business charity garden party, who expected me to take her seriously, when she asked, “Did anything good ever come from outside London and the Home Counties?”

 

“Well,” I replied nonchalantly, “there’s Elgar and Shakespeare for a start.”

 

That got rid of her!

 

Anyway, let American organist Lyn Larsen have a word in our ears, followed by Richard Hills here in the UK, where you see him in action close-up. If anyone thinks that what they do is easy or lacking in quality, I challenge them to try it for themselves. Theatre organs are very complex machines to control.

 

 

 

Others are capable of grooming their hair after letting it down, as American organist Lew Williams demonstrates:-

 

 

When did you last hear that in an English restaurant?

 

Some English theatre organists did other things too:-

 

 

I believe that people will always respond to quality, irrespective of the genre or even the era, and quality entertainment is what the BBC should be about, rarther than pandering to superficial ratings.

 

MM

 

Dixon was sloppy?! Maybe in his latter years, yes, as is Kelsall now, when you`ve been playing for 6 hours a day, day in day out for almost 40 years, you do start to get tired. It`ll die out with this "elitist" attitude. The organ will fall off the shelf completely if you dont appeal to the majority. What is the use in booking an organist who may only get 50 -100 people in attendance, when you could have another organist play who will get an attendance of 3-500?!

Superficial ratings?! Ratings show you what people want to hear/see, as do the numbers of bums on seats at concert venues.

Richard Hills, Simon Gledhill, Jelanni Eddington, Lyn Larsen. I use to LOVE them all, I HATED the Blackpool style. I eventually got tired of the "american (rather george wright)" style organists, same arrangements note for note, same registrations every time, nothing spontanious, same music.

I was introduced to the ORIGINAL Blackpool style and Ive never looked back, theres more variety, its more entertaining, its clean, "simple" (you dont have to sit and go through dragged out introductions then over-arranged peices of music which become almost unrecognisable apart from the title).

People dont want to have to listen to everything in detail and pick things out, they want to be entertained, they want to be involved in the music.

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How insulting and snobbish to suggest that Reginald Dixon was sloppy, largely devoid of artistic ability and arranging skills, well, sorry I enjoyed his playing and style and so did the majority of the population, sttending his concerts in their thousands. I have most of his recordings and he made the Wurlitzer sound different.

He is not even here to defend himself against such outrageous accusations.

Even now when you mention Blackpool Tower the name of Reginald Dixon will come up after all these years after his death.

He knew what people wanted and that is why he will still be remembered in a hundred years from now.

If you wish to attend a concert where the artist is all the things that Reginald was not, you will be lucky to attract 100 people rather than thousands.

As they say one man's meat is another man's poison.

Colin Richell.

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How insulting and snobbish to suggest that Reginald Dixon was sloppy, largely devoid of artistic ability and arranging skills, well, sorry I enjoyed his playing and style and so did the majority of the population, sttending his concerts in their thousands. I have most of his recordings and he made the Wurlitzer sound different.

He is not even here to defend himself against such outrageous accusations.

Even now when you mention Blackpool Tower the name of Reginald Dixon will come up after all these years after his death.

He knew what people wanted and that is why he will still be remembered in a hundred years from now.

If you wish to attend a concert where the artist is all the things that Reginald was not, you will be lucky to attract 100 people rather than thousands.

As they say one man's meat is another man's poison.

Colin Richell.

 

 

======================

 

 

i didn't expect to stir up such a hornet's nest, but I still stand by what I said. The only thing I would say, is that Dixon was "on the money" when it came down to what people wanted to hear, and there is no denying his popularity and star status; his name being a household one.

 

I hope my response was not snobbish, but I think I would lack any sort of musical integrity if I stated anything different to what I did. Dixon was a great entertainer, but not a great artist or arranger by any stretch of the imagination, unless you happen to believe that wrong notes and a sloppy accompaniment are a form of re-arrangement.

 

I can empathise with the "bums on seats argument" to a point, but only to a point. The statistics may well be real, but then take a look at the average age of theatre organ audiences........65? 70?

 

There comes a point statistically, when that particular age-group "fall off the shelf," and the same argument can be applied to many organist's associations by the way.

 

It's not a new problem or even a unique one, and it has already happened to local choirs, brass bands and even churches and chapels.

 

As for the American slur, that is exactly what it is, because the American organ-scene was and is far more varied than the blanket descriptiopn of "George Wright clones."

 

Was "Buddy" Cole a George Wright clone, or Dan Bellamy, or Jim Riggs or Walt Strony? Of course they were not and are not, and of to-day's crop of younger organists in America, there are some extremely fine transcription performers such as Jelani Eddington and Lyn Larsen, while Charlie Balogh is taking the technology to new heights, and really stretching the musical possibilities of the instrument.

 

Knowing Simon Gledhill's dedication, the last thing I would describe him as is a "George Wright clone." Not only does he play a lot of English music such as Billy Meyerl and Candian born (?) Robert Farnham, he tends to avoid some of the American cliches of performing practice. I concede that he does "arrange," but then, so did Sydney Torch for a living, and one couldn't accuse "Friday night is music night" as being lacking in popular appeal.

 

I don't want to sound churlish, but to suggest that Reggie Dixon made the Wurlitzer organ at Blackpool "sound different," is actually quite amusing. Of course an organ sounds different with Tierce Couplers, and it also sounds permanently out of tune when they are used.

 

Anyway, each to their own, but I just wonder why both replies failed to include the genius of the late Brian Rodwell (known by theatre oirgan enthusiasts as "the Governer"), the terrific technique of relative youngster Richard Hills and, of course, the greatness of Quentin Maclean during his lifetime, who generated queues of people all around the cinema, just to hear him play.

 

It wasn't Reggie Dixon who enjoyed pop-star adulation at the cinemas, but the above named gentlemen. Reggie Dixon was fortunate that he found a stable outlet for his somewhat tedious, strict rhythm style....that being a personal opinion, of course.

 

MM

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=====================

 

I recall a wrinkly old prune at a big-business charity garden party, who expected me to take her seriously, when she asked, “Did anything good ever come from outside London and the Home Counties?”

 

“Well,” I replied nonchalantly, “there’s Elgar and Shakespeare for a start.”

 

Quel bon mot.

 

Still, I suppose you and I shall one day be 'wrinkly old prunes' too!

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i didn't expect to stir up such a hornet's nest, but I still stand by what I said. The only thing I would say, is that Dixon was "on the money" when it came down to what people wanted to hear, and there is no denying his popularity and star status; his name being a household one.

 

I hope my response was not snobbish, but I think I would lack any sort of musical integrity if I stated anything different to what I did. Dixon was a great entertainer, but not a great artist or arranger by any stretch of the imagination, unless you happen to believe that wrong notes and a sloppy accompaniment are a form of re-arrangement.

 

I can empathise with the "bums on seats argument" to a point, but only to a point. The statistics may well be real, but then take a look at the average age of theatre organ audiences........65? 70?

 

There comes a point statistically, when that particular age-group "fall off the shelf," and the same argument can be applied to many organist's associations by the way.

 

It's not a new problem or even a unique one, and it has already happened to local choirs, brass bands and even churches and chapels.

 

As for the American slur, that is exactly what it is, because the American organ-scene was and is far more varied than the blanket descriptiopn of "George Wright clones."

 

Was "Buddy" Cole a George Wright clone, or Dan Bellamy, or Jim Riggs or Walt Strony? Of course they were not and are not, and of to-day's crop of younger organists in America, there are some extremely fine transcription performers such as Jelani Eddington and Lyn Larsen, while Charlie Balogh is taking the technology to new heights, and really stretching the musical possibilities of the instrument.

 

Knowing Simon Gledhill's dedication, the last thing I would describe him as is a "George Wright clone." Not only does he play a lot of English music such as Billy Meyerl and Candian born (?) Robert Farnham, he tends to avoid some of the American cliches of performing practice. I concede that he does "arrange," but then, so did Sydney Torch for a living, and one couldn't accuse "Friday night is music night" as being lacking in popular appeal.

 

I don't want to sound churlish, but to suggest that Reggie Dixon made the Wurlitzer organ at Blackpool "sound different," is actually quite amusing. Of course an organ sounds different with Tierce Couplers, and it also sounds permanently out of tune when they are used.

 

Anyway, each to their own, but I just wonder why both replies failed to include the genius of the late Brian Rodwell (known by theatre oirgan enthusiasts as "the Governer"), the terrific technique of relative youngster Richard Hills and, of course, the greatness of Quentin Maclean during his lifetime, who generated queues of people all around the cinema, just to hear him play.

 

It wasn't Reggie Dixon who enjoyed pop-star adulation at the cinemas, but the above named gentlemen. Reggie Dixon was fortunate that he found a stable outlet for his somewhat tedious, strict rhythm style....that being a personal opinion, of course.

 

MM

"I don't want to sound churlish, but to suggest that Reggie Dixon made the Wurlitzer organ at Blackpool "sound different," is actually quite amusing. Of course an organ sounds different with Tierce Couplers, and it also sounds permanently out of tune when they are used" "I hope my response was not snobbish, but I think I would lack any sort of musical integrity if I stated anything different to what I did. Dixon was a great entertainer, but not a great artist or arranger by any stretch of the imagination, unless you happen to believe that wrong notes and a sloppy accompaniment are a form of re-arrangement."

WHAT RUBBISH. You have obviously havent listened to Dixon in his prime. He didnt use quint n teirce (which was used to cut through the noise from the dancers, it was there to do a job, and it did it) that much, not compared to the amount it is used today, he played "simple", clean arrangements with ALOT of off the cuff improvisation. There is more variety of sounds from the Blackpool style than any of the others. You also had the other Blackpool organists, Watson Holmes, Horace Finch, Earnest Broadbent and Ena Baga. His 10 year tour after he left the tower in 1970 was sold out everywhere he went (George Wright also came over, but he didnt manage to fill the theatres, as much of a good organist he was, he couldnt have been so much in the publics taste)

While Dixon was at the Tower, it has been calculated that he would have been heard by at least 1,200,000 people each year (He was at the tower from 1930-1970), put on top of that, world wide broadcasts, T.V appearances, recordings.

I know of one organist who plays in the Blackpool style, and he has had over 300 bookings this year alone (does that not say what people want to hear?!). Alot of societies avoid booking "certain" organists because of attitudes, and the lack of people attending certain organists concerts would cause them to run at a loss.

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