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Carlo Curley...theres a great organist...................................so great that people just get up and walk out!

 

 

 

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

 

 

This thread is degenerating dreadfully.................

 

Where's ma spinach? (Biff!) (Bam!) "Wallop!)

 

MM

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

 

 

This thread is degenerating dreadfully.................

 

Where's ma spinach? (Biff!) (Bam!) "Wallop!)

 

MM

 

Got to agree MM. The last time I heard the said person play was nearly 10 years ago at the Victoria Hall, Hanley. The recital became increasingly boring as it wore on. But returning to the theatre organist theme, the player I particularly remember as I was growing up during the war years was Sandy MacPherson. My mother always said Reginald Foort was the better player (the two of them were the only theatre organists to be generally heard broadcasting during the war years), but being of such tender years I had not yet developed a discerning ear. MacPherson was always to be heard at the BBC Compton theatre organ although I later discovered he was also resident organist at a London cinema.

 

I've never really been a fan of the theatre organ although they are very clever pieces of design. When he was once working in Hull during the rebuild of the City Hall organ, I accompanied Jimmy Taylor to the local Astoria where a fault had developed on the Compton. I remember being amazed at how such big sounds could be made from within such relatively small spaces.

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Does anyone remember a theatre organist by the name of Denis Coleman (the spelling of Denis is correct)

I understand he played on the Gaumont circuit years ago.

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Got to agree MM. The last time I heard the said person play was nearly 10 years ago at the Victoria Hall, Hanley. The recital became increasingly boring as it wore on. But returning to the theatre organist theme, the player I particularly remember as I was growing up during the war years was Sandy MacPherson. My mother always said Reginald Foort was the better player (the two of them were the only theatre organists to be generally heard broadcasting during the war years), but being of such tender years I had not yet developed a discerning ear. MacPherson was always to be heard at the BBC Compton theatre organ although I later discovered he was also resident organist at a London cinema.

 

I've never really been a fan of the theatre organ although they are very clever pieces of design. When he was once working in Hull during the rebuild of the City Hall organ, I accompanied Jimmy Taylor to the local Astoria where a fault had developed on the Compton. I remember being amazed at how such big sounds could be made from within such relatively small spaces.

 

 

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I suspect that Sandy MacPherson was the least talented of all the broadcast organists, but he fulfilled a purpose by providing popular music on the radio at a difficult time.

 

Reginald Foort was something quite different; a superb musician (FRCO) who specialised in big orchestral transcriptions and appealed to a "classier" market altogether. He was also quite an entrepreneur, and managed to buy the 5-manual BBC-Moller organ from America, which ended up as a touring organ which could be packed into five railway goods-carriages and transported here, there and everywhere. Indeed, there are some amusing accounts of Unit chamber A in Crewe and Unit B and the console being somewhere else entirely. It must have been a nightmare, but at least the instrument was spared and taken back to the US. He made quite a bit of dosh over the years, one must assume, but I don't know of too many extant recordings of the great man in action.

 

He is reputed to have been a very elegant and highly competent performer, unlike many of his fellow entertainers.

 

The other touring organ was that trailered around by George Patman, of whom I know little about. That was a Harrison & Harrison organ, I believe, and I'm not sure if it didn't form the basis of the organ of St Oswald's, Durham.

 

There is a curious connection between the two instruments, which both ended up in the same place, namely the King;s Hall, Harrogate, where they were stored for some time.

 

I'll see if I can find a sound-clip of Foort, and add it if I do.

 

http://theatreorgans.com/southerncross/Rad...e%20England.wma

 

MM

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

 

The other touring organ was that trailered around by George Patman, of whom I know little about. That was a Harrison & Harrison organ, I believe, and I'm not sure if it didn't form the basis of the organ of St Oswald's, Durham.

 

MM

 

The Chapel of Durham School actually.

 

DW

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Carlo Curley...theres a great organist...................................so great that people just get up and walk out!

 

 

 

 

Well that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

Colin Richell

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The Chapel of Durham School actually.

 

DW

 

 

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

 

Thank you David; I was hoping not have to dig out my copy of "The Harrison Story."

 

Isn't this the organ they were trying to flog on e-bay recently?

 

MM

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Well that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

Colin Richell

 

 

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

 

 

If Carlo reads the comment, I can't imagine he will lose any sleep. Opinions are just that; opinions. Unfortunately, without any further qualification or clout, they are soon forgotten, like ageing pop-stars.

 

MM

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

 

I suspect that Sandy MacPherson was the least talented of all the broadcast organists, but he fulfilled a purpose by providing popular music on the radio at a difficult time.

 

Reginald Foort was something quite different; a superb musician (FRCO) who specialised in big orchestral transcriptions and appealed to a "classier" market altogether. He was also quite an entrepreneur, and managed to buy the 5-manual BBC-Moller organ from America, which ended up as a touring organ which could be packed into five railway goods-carriages and transported here, there and everywhere. Indeed, there are some amusing accounts of Unit chamber A in Crewe and Unit B and the console being somewhere else entirely. It must have been a nightmare, but at least the instrument was spared and taken back to the US. He made quite a bit of dosh over the years, one must assume, but I don't know of too many extant recordings of the great man in action.

 

He is reputed to have been a very elegant and highly competent performer, unlike many of his fellow entertainers.

 

The other touring organ was that trailered around by George Patman, of whom I know little about. That was a Harrison & Harrison organ, I believe, and I'm not sure if it didn't form the basis of the organ of St Oswald's, Durham.

 

There is a curious connection between the two instruments, which both ended up in the same place, namely the King;s Hall, Harrogate, where they were stored for some time.

 

I'll see if I can find a sound-clip of Foort, and add it if I do.

 

http://theatreorgans.com/southerncross/Rad...e%20England.wma

 

MM

Allow me to add some historic accuracy:

The BBC-Moller organ was sold to the 'NRU' (dutch radio) in the early 1960's, placed in a small church in Hilversum. As Cor Steyn (who got it to Holland) died shortly after, the instrument didn't get played much (or good) and was sold off again.

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I think that possibly I was there too - didn't the same OC trip include Nigel Allcoat at St Augustine's just across the road? An interestingly different pair of venues!

 

A

 

 

We certainlywent to St. Augustine's that day. I didn't realise it was Nigel Allcoat who played - it must have been before he got famous!

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Carlo Curley...theres a great organist...................................so great that people just get up and walk out!

 

 

I can only speak from my own experience, but the first time I heard Carlo was at the Royal Albert Hall and the place looked pretty packed. Later on, he came to Belfast Cathedral and I joined him for a couple of duets - me on the Harrison, he on a big Allen. The church sets about 1500 and it was well-filled, and the concert was broadcast on BBC Radio 2. We later had him back for a solo concert which attracted a good crowd.

 

Beneath all the razzmattazz - which is fun - I consider he's as good as anyone else. Some might find his style not to their taste but I like it. He can do the classical stuff on a Flentrop too. I think that if more of us could play like George Thalben-Ball, the audiences at organ recitals would be bigger, and there's no harm in going over the top with publicity if you can handle it. On top of it all, he's a really nice guy, very down-to-earth (when he wanted a table for CDs at the back of Belfast Cathedral, he insisted on carrying it himself) and terrifically entertaining over a post-recital meal.

 

Each to his own, but when it comes to Carlo Curley, my personal opinion is that the organ world could do with a few more like him.

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

 

 

If Carlo reads the comment, I can't imagine he will lose any sleep. Opinions are just that; opinions. Unfortunately, without any further qualification or clout, they are soon forgotten, like ageing pop-stars.

 

MM

Its not opinion though, it was fact. A whole concert audience (80 people......) got up and walked out by the time Carlo got to the interval!

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Allow me to add some historic accuracy:

The BBC-Moller organ was sold to the 'NRU' (dutch radio) in the early 1960's, placed in a small church in Hilversum. As Cor Steyn (who got it to Holland) died shortly after, the instrument didn't get played much (or good) and was sold off again.

 

 

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

 

 

Thank you; I was being brief rather than accurate. You are quite right of course, and I have a recording of the organ when it was in Holland at the AVRO studio.

 

I was also inaccurate about something else: the means of transport used when it was a touring organ. I should have known better, because I have seen a photograph of the large furniture vans used for the journeys. However, the train information came from an extremely reliable source, and due to fuel shortages at the time, it may well be entirely accurate.

 

Anyway, it ended up first in a pizza restaurant in San Diego, with the opening concert being given by Reginald Foort himself, after the organ left Holland. The pizza joint went bust, and although a bit altered, the instrument now resides in the Civic Audotorium, Pasadena.

 

Here is an interesting Youtube clip of it as it now is, in a duet with a Walker digital theatre-organ.

 

So read 10-manuals and the better part of 1,000 stop-keys!!!

 

Of course, being American organists, they're probably not very good. ;)

 

 

MM

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Its not opinion though, it was fact. A whole concert audience (80 people......) got up and walked out by the time Carlo got to the interval!

 

 

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Partial fact to be correct, because you deliberately made an attention seeking statement, but then failed to qualify it with the evidence as to when and where, and whether it was an isolated incident.

 

Was the organ in tune?

Was it a pipe-organ?

Was it a bad night outside?

Were the buses on strike?

Had anyone thrown stink-bombs into the building?

 

Partial evidence is no evidence at all in my book.

 

 

I could equally state that 1,500 people will normally sit enthralled by Carlo Curley's virtuosic mastery of the instrument, and having been to quite a few, I could mention the venues and possibly the dates also.

 

MM

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Carlo mentions in his autobiography that at a concert in Denmark a local organ teacher made a rather pointed exit, motioning his students to do the same.

 

Students of my generation would probably have crept back in through the back door.... ;)

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

 

 

Partial fact to be correct, because you deliberately made an attention seeking statement, but then failed to qualify it with the evidence as to when and where, and whether it was an isolated incident.

 

Was the organ in tune?

Was it a pipe-organ?

Was it a bad night outside?

Were the buses on strike?

Had anyone thrown stink-bombs into the building?

 

Partial evidence is no evidence at all in my book.

 

 

I could equally state that 1,500 people will normally sit enthralled by Carlo Curley's virtuosic mastery of the instrument, and having been to quite a few, I could mention the venues and possibly the dates also.

 

MM

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Exactly, expecting us poor mortals to believe that an entire audience left at the interval. Probably a fire alert or a power failure, best to get the facts right before informing the world that you are not a Carlo Curley fan.

I booked Carlo for an AP theatre concert and he was great, the audience of over 100 people wanted more, but he was not well at the time, but he did not let me down.

I arranged for him to be interviewed on BBC RADIO ESSEX, and he gave the theatre some good publicity.

My only confession is that Carlo played the Allen Organ, because unfortunately the Father Willis Organ was removed from the theatre in 1890, its present whereabouts unknown.

So, carry on Carlo.

Colin Richell.

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It was on an Allen(new), it was in tune, the weather was fine, there were no busses on strike, no power failures, no stink bombs. Even the organist at the church was as disapointed as the concert audience were.

 

As far as i can see with this forum, its full of people who will see the organ world out, because of their attitudes. CARRY on letting it down and being in the stuck up little bubble your in. Its a shame really, because there ARE people out there who do work VERY hard at bringing the organ to the public, and are succesful at it. But the image of the organ is ruined by the snobbery which i see ALOT of in this group.

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It was on an Allen(new), it was in tune, the weather was fine, there were no busses on strike, no power failures, no stink bombs. Even the organist at the church was as disapointed as the concert audience were.

 

As far as i can see with this forum, its full of people who will see the organ world out, because of their attitudes. CARRY on letting it down and being in the stuck up little bubble your in. Its a shame really, because there ARE people out there who do work VERY hard at bringing the organ to the public, and are succesful at it. But the image of the organ is ruined by the snobbery which i see ALOT of in this group.

 

 

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So on the basis of one disappointing performance, you judge a person for all time?

 

You mention bubbles, but what particular bubble do you inhabit? More importantly, has it now burst?

 

You state that you have worked VERY hard to promote the organ, but fail to say where, when and how. Again, we have no real evidence.

 

You criticise some of the finest theatre organists in the world, but offer no living alternatives.

 

You pick on me, for some strange reason, which doesn't worry me at all, but I am probably the most "multi bubbled" person you could ever wish to meet.....organ yes, and theatre organ yes, but also brass, percussion (a long time ago), jazz (but no Jools Holland, as you are not), big-band, quite a lot of light-music and even a considerable liking for selected pop music. I have promoted international recital series, performed fairly frequently over the years, worked VERY hard to promote things and organise things and somehow found time to work very hard in the financial/legal world. I've also had organ-building experience and engineering experience, I am a pretty competent car-mechanic and I have been involved in motor-sport. Choose you next bubble.....

 

I am a great believer in free speech and candid exchanges, as are most people on this excellent discussion board, and it's not often that our hosts have to get the eraser and the red-pen out.

 

As I've stated previous, snobbery is that which infects people who want others to believe their own jaundiced opinions, but inverse snobbery is exactly the same, except that it tries to drag people down to the same level as the inverted snob.

 

What disappoints me "Carrick," is the fact that if you are who I think you are, you have thus far led and interesting and successful life: one way beyond the experience of those who frequent this board, but not one to which many of us would wish to aspire.

 

Unfortunately, the organ is now something of a specialised niche instrument, whereas it once enjoyed a certain popularity.

 

If playing and talking about the music written for the instrument is a kind of "snobbery," then that is an inescapable fact of life, and attempting to popularise and even prostitute the instrument, will do nothing other than attract the sort of people who are as fickle as they are ill-informed.

 

By all means blast away with your replies, but I can tell you that when they are directed at me, it will be nothing more than water off a duck's back......I've heard and seen it all before and I'm immune.

 

For the moment I am simply bemused, because "pop" is something which only exists in the right place at the right time.

 

Incidentally, I used to frequently chat and drink with Andy Bell of "Erasure" as well as Jimmy Somerville of "The Communards".......they were OK, but we didn't talk organs of course.

 

MM

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

 

 

 

You state that you have worked VERY hard to promote the organ, but fail to say where, when and how. Again, we have no real evidence.

 

 

MM

Where?

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Each to his own, but when it comes to Carlo Curley, my personal opinion is that the organ world could do with a few more like him.

 

Hear, hear.

 

Carlo is one of the most effective evangelists of the organ and, God knows, we need all we can get!

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Hear, hear.

 

Carlo is one of the most effective evangelists of the organ and, God knows, we need all we can get!

 

 

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

 

 

I absolutely agree, and of course, we shouldn't underestimate the brilliance of the Scott Brothers, who are just a delight.

 

However, I stumbled across something so remarkable, in similar vein, I just had to post the link to it. This is a performance so good, it should convince even the most sceptical and rewvive even those who think they've heard it all.

 

This is just stunning:-

 

 

After the acrimony, this should remind us what music-making is all about.

 

MM

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And there was proof tonight with Jean Martyn on Britains got talent, it is ENTERTAINMENT that matters. There has been a knock on effect with an increase in vewings on organ videos on youtube and website veiwings since Jeans first audition. She has got the public paying attention to the organ. The first person to do so on a mainstream level for YEARS.

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But with all due respect - it does depend on taste - Britain's Got Talent is my personal idea of hell!

 

A

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Well I admit to being dreadfully confused by all this. Is our erstwhile contributor saying that the organ needs a more popular style of approach and in the same breath criticises one of the most prominent people to do so for being rubbish. So is he saying that we should strive for more classical orientation, then criticising the responses for being snobbish. Forgive me but I'm struggling. Perhaps he would enlighten me by clarifying just what he does mean in simple terms as I clearly need that type of approach.

 

Clearly my own experience of the joy and interest that young people have in the workings of the organ, which often leads them to the music is defunct. However, to suggest that organs should perform the same function as 'here today gone tomorrow' pop acts is to miss the point by such a wide margin as to be almost beyond view. The same criticisms could be levelled at choirs, orchestras, chamber groups and the like. Society does not consist entirely of populist culture, and I think it would be interesting to argue a case that says barriers can be easily overcome by some foray into it. Sure, it'll be a short term positive blip, but what then? This type of culture is transitory by its nature, the mistake that many who become involved with it seem to make. That is not to say exclusivity is right by any means either - bridges need to be built, and in capable hands they can be and have been - we all have a responsibility to do that to whatever extent we can manage.

 

AJS

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