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jazzboy

New CD - Richard Hills at Southampton Guildhall

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Dear All

 

It gives me great pleasure to announce a forthcoming new CD of Richard Hills at the wonderful Southampton Guildhall Compton. Release date February 2012 on the Silver Street Music label, thus marking the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Guildhall.

 

I am also particularly

delighted to announce that Nigel Ogden has very kindly dedicated an entire

programme of The Organist Entertains to the Guildhall Compton with a programme that will feature some of

the tracks from the new CD plus an interview with Richard Hills and

I believe one or two archive tracks of the organ. The programme will air on 10th

January.

 

The new CD (as yet untitled) of maestro Richard playing both consoles of this superb dual-purpose instrument, with a

selection of theatre organ favourites, orchestral transcriptions and classical

masterpieces, is taking shape very well. It will hopefully be the finest

recording made to date on this unique and wonderful instrument.

 

 

UK sales will be via the Silver Street Films website (www.silverst.co.uk) as

standard CDs for delivery and probably also as HD audio download (not mp3 though).

 

The tracks on offer will highlight the vast musical range possible on this organ, being a very large theatre organ and a fully-featured classical concert organ in one, and will probably include:

 

Concert overture (Hollins)

Elegy (Thalben-Ball)

Down the Mall

Dancing years selection

Cheeky Chappie (Porter-Brown)

In Malaga Suite (Curzon)

The Girl from Corsica (Duncan)

Parade of the Sunbeams (McLean)

 

There will likely be 16 or 17 tracks in total on the CD.

 

See the following websites for more info about the organ and recording session, with photos:

 

www.hws.org.uk

www.silverst.co.uk

 

www.guildhall-compton.org.uk

 

Regards

 

Peter

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This is delightful news. Richard Hills is a fine organist who crosses boundaries, but what intrigues me by the music played on this CD, is the fact that it is all British, from the best years of the repertoire. American music is, of course, quite marvellous, but everyone covers it all around the globe, and it would be difficult to find a truly original new performance.

 

The Guildhall organ is magnificent....Compton at his very best, and now splendidly restored to top condition.

 

So with a superb choice of music and organ, this should be a real treat.

 

Going off track a little, we made mention of 'Lady Gaga' recently, when she appeared sat at the organ console of Sydney Town Hall.

 

In the event that we have members who like some of the great songs of "The great American song-book,' check out her version of "The lady is a tramp" in duet with Tony Bennett, now 85 or so years of age. It deserves to go down as an absolute classic performance.

 

 

The lady impresses me with this.

 

MM

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Thanks for the positive and kind comments.

 

Yes the entire CD tracks have been chosen from British composers, perhaps appropriately for this very British instrument.

 

The organ is indeed on good form, although I ought to point out that it was not fully restored and really the entire thing ought to be releathered. No chance of that though. It does however sound pretty damn good on the CD.

 

Cheers, Peter

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I don't know of anyone listened to "The organist entertained" this week (Tuesday), but what a marvellous treat to hear Richard Hills put the restored organ of the Guildhall, Southampton through its paces; all taken from the new CD of that instrument.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr9w

 

If ever a performer "came of age" with a recording, Richard Hills has reached new heights of artistry with this release; all of which comes from the pens of British composers. The music in the programme ranges from Herbert Brewer's excellent and very tricky "Marche Heroique" and Edward Curzon's suite "Malaga," to music by Reginald Porter-Brown, (known as the organist with three hands), entitled "Cheeky Chappy."

 

There is also a tribute to George Thalben-Ball in the form of his "Elegy", who was one of the organists who opened the big Compton organ at Southampton.

 

However, never one to believe that the electrostatic Melotone ever made the slightest contribution to art, how marvellous to be proved completely wrong!

 

In a delightful piece entitled "Girl from Corsica" by Trevor Duncan, the Melotone makes the most extraordinary, ethereal sound over and above the normal pipe sounds

 

That Richard Hills can swap from classical organ-music to light-music with impunity, demonstrates a remarkable talent, and for me at least, this is a must buy recording; especially since this organ is one of the finest examples of John Compton's organ-building craft.

 

MM

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This is an appropriate thread for me. I love the Guilhall Southhampton Compton and Lady Gaga. Taking of the lady, the first few notes of 'Poker Face' sound quite effective when belted out on the pedal of a decent pipe organ.

 

On the subject of Compton organs I'm pleased to tell the board that the BBC Maida Vale Compton is in fine form having had the poorly performing original mechanical relays controlling the coupling, luminous stop toggling and pistons swapped for new technology. Although rather smaller than the Southampton organ it is hard to believe it only has 11 ranks of pipes.

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This is an appropriate thread for me. I love the Guilhall Southhampton Compton and Lady Gaga. Taking of the lady, the first few notes of 'Poker Face' sound quite effective when belted out on the pedal of a decent pipe organ.

 

On the subject of Compton organs I'm pleased to tell the board that the BBC Maida Vale Compton is in fine form having had the poorly performing original mechanical relays controlling the coupling, luminous stop toggling and pistons swapped for new technology. Although rather smaller than the Southampton organ it is hard to believe it only has 11 ranks of pipes.

 

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

 

 

That should keep it jogging along for the next 25 years I expect!

 

The original stuff is still functioning at Southampton, while in Bournemouth, it's still working after 80 years.

 

MM

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

 

 

That should keep it jogging along for the next 25 years I expect!

 

The original stuff is still functioning at Southampton, while in Bournemouth, it's still working after 80 years.

 

MM

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That rather depends whether the solid state gets hit by lightening either directly or through metal heating pipes etc.; something which is rather more common than we are led to believe.

PJW

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It's clear that there are some diehard 'electromechanical' enthusiats here! Please however bear in mind that the exisitng equipment at Maida Vale was not performing as needed because it was more badly worn than on most Comptons of similar age and needed replacing with something. Also, there was a desire for general pistons and more than one memory level which the existing action couldn't provide. The organ has been very frequently used for many years, not just by the BBC orchestras but also by enthusiastic members of the BBC club organ society who have sometimes played it for a few hours at a time over may years. The relays had been given much loving care and attention but had got to the point where no amount of work got around the problem of frequent missing notes.

 

People who play the organ regularly commented on how clean and fast the attack was since the electronic control went in. In fact it became evident just how fast Compton's chest action is. Although the Compton relays are a clever design they have a disadvantage when compared to convetional switchstack relays. This being that they rely on parts having to move every time a note is played. If the armatures for different notes don't move at the same speed then there is differential delay among the different notes of a chord.

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It's clear that there are some diehard 'electromechanical' enthusiats here! Please however bear in mind that the exisitng equipment at Maida Vale was not performing as needed because it was more badly worn than on most Comptons of similar age and needed replacing with something. Also, there was a desire for general pistons and more than one memory level which the existing action couldn't provide. The organ has been very frequently used for many years, not just by the BBC orchestras but also by enthusiastic members of the BBC club organ society who have sometimes played it for a few hours at a time over may years. The relays had been given much loving care and attention but had got to the point where no amount of work got around the problem of frequent missing notes.

 

People who play the organ regularly commented on how clean and fast the attack was since the electronic control went in. In fact it became evident just how fast Compton's chest action is. Although the Compton relays are a clever design they have a disadvantage when compared to convetional switchstack relays. This being that they rely on parts having to move every time a note is played. If the armatures for different notes don't move at the same speed then there is differential delay among the different notes of a chord.

 

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

 

 

I wasn't being hyper-critical, and I'm sure, (having read the reply), that there are perfectly sensible reasons for the update of the electro-mechanical relays and other components. I suppose, in an ideal world with unlimited budgets, exact copies or total re-engineering/re-winding of components would be possible and even desirable. This is why the amateur clubs and societies have such an advantage, because extra time doesn't mean money lost, and there are people who will painstakingly restore things just for the fun and challenge of it all. That is simply not possible at a commercial and professional level.

 

Fortunately, there are quite a number of extant, working examples of Compton's electrical genius to satisfy the curiosity of future generations, but it's a pity that things have to change when there is no viable means of restoration.

 

I'm sure that JohnR will appreciate that the art of John Comtpon was as much about electrical-engineering as it was about pipes and wind.

 

At the very least, the Maida Vale Compton survives and will sound good for the forseeable future, which is the most important thing.

 

It IS amazing to think that 11 ranks of pipes can be made to do so much, so well. That was the other side of the company's extraordinary genius.

 

MM

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

 

 

It IS amazing to think that 11 ranks of pipes can be made to do so much, so well. That was the other side of the company's extraordinary genius.

 

MM

 

And in the case of the Southampton organ (albeit 30 + years ago now) even manage provide a very lively and acceptable authentic sounding continuo and 'padding out' for performances of Messiah etc. by the Southampton University Choral Soc.

 

A

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

 

 

I wasn't being hyper-critical, and I'm sure, (having read the reply), that there are perfectly sensible reasons for the update of the electro-mechanical relays and other components. I suppose, in an ideal world with unlimited budgets, exact copies or total re-engineering/re-winding of components would be possible and even desirable. This is why the amateur clubs and societies have such an advantage, because extra time doesn't mean money lost, and there are people who will painstakingly restore things just for the fun and challenge of it all. That is simply not possible at a commercial and professional level.

 

Fortunately, there are quite a number of extant, working examples of Compton's electrical genius to satisfy the curiosity of future generations, but it's a pity that things have to change when there is no viable means of restoration.

 

I'm sure that JohnR will appreciate that the art of John Comtpon was as much about electrical-engineering as it was about pipes and wind.

 

At the very least, the Maida Vale Compton survives and will sound good for the forseeable future, which is the most important thing.

 

It IS amazing to think that 11 ranks of pipes can be made to do so much, so well. That was the other side of the company's extraordinary genius.

 

MM

 

That all seems perfectly reasonable to me MM. I do agree with what you say. I'm pleased to say that the BBC decided to leave the original equpment in the Maida Vale instrument for people to see even though it's obviously disconnected.

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And in the case of the Southampton organ (albeit 30 + years ago now) even manage provide a very lively and acceptable authentic sounding continuo and 'padding out' for performances of Messiah etc. by the Southampton University Choral Soc.

 

A

 

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

 

 

Yes, but there are FIFTY ranks of pipes to choose from at Southampton!

 

Unfortunately, I've never heard or played it, but I do know the organ at Hull City Hall rather well.

 

MM

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And in the case of the Southampton organ (albeit 30 + years ago now) even manage provide a very lively and acceptable authentic sounding continuo and 'padding out' for performances of Messiah etc. by the Southampton University Choral Soc.

 

A

 

Many years ago, probably in the late 50's or early 60's when I lived in Southampton I remember going to a performance of Messiah at the Guildhall when my teacher, Cecil Williams had to use the theatre organ console as there had been a fire in the concert one. The sight of him sat at the monstrous horseshoe console is still etched in my mind some 50+ years later!

 

M

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

 

 

That should keep it jogging along for the next 25 years I expect!

 

The original stuff is still functioning at Southampton, while in Bournemouth, it's still working after 80 years.

 

MM

 

Where in Bournemouth? If you mean the former Saint Osmond's Church *, Parkstone - no, it is not. It is in a fairly bad state. The last time I played it was a few years ago, and whole chunks of it were either not working correctly - or not functioning at all. As far as I am aware, it is now not used; nor do I believe that it receives any kind of regular maintenance.

 

 

 

* This is now used by the Greek Orthodox Church - which has changed the dedication at least twice.

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