Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Reginald_dixon


MusingMuso
 Share

Recommended Posts

If you mention the name Reginald Dixon to the older generation of oganists, they usually think of the "Tower Ballroom" and the Wurlitzer organ therein.

 

However, this has nothing to do with Wurlitzer organs, ballrooms or popular entertainers, but real, classical organ-music and a cathedral organist.

 

Due to the fact that I have an extremely good photograph of myself conversing with a certain Dr.Reginald-Dixon (Both surnames I think) when I was all of 14, and when he was possibly about 90 years of age, I would be interested to know more about him.

 

Various searches have revealed nothing, other than the fact that he was the organist at Lancaster RC Cathedral, where he played the Ainscough organ.

 

Obviously very well educated, I do know that he was a personal friend of Percy Whiltock's and composed at least one major piece of organ-music, which I have never heard.

 

I recall him as both amusing and extremely pleasant, and I think it was Percy Whiltock who described him as "like the naughty boy at the party".

 

The fact that he wore flamenco-like shoes and very prominent, very large gold earrings (as well as magnificent suits), is fascinating enough, and yet, this colourful, witty and well-associated gentleman remains a complete mystery to me.

 

I would guess that he died in the late 60's or early 70's, but I don't even know that.

 

What does anyone know of him?

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you mention the name Reginald Dixon to the older generation of oganists, they usually think of the "Tower Ballroom" and the Wurlitzer organ therein.

 

However, this has nothing to do with Wurlitzer organs, ballrooms or popular entertainers, but real, classical organ-music and a cathedral organist.

 

Due to the fact that I have an extremely good photograph of myself conversing with a certain Dr.Reginald-Dixon (Both surnames I think) when I was all of 14, and when he was possibly about 90 years of age, I would be interested to know more about him.

 

Various searches have revealed nothing, other than the fact that he was the organist at Lancaster RC Cathedral, where he played the Ainscough organ.

 

Obviously very well educated, I do know that he was a personal friend of Percy Whiltock's and composed at least one major piece of organ-music, which I have never heard.

 

I recall him as both amusing and extremely pleasant, and I think it was Percy Whiltock who described him as "like the naughty boy at the party".

 

The fact that he wore flamenco-like shoes and very prominent, very large gold earrings (as well as magnificent suits), is fascinating enough, and yet, this colourful, witty and well-associated gentleman remains a complete mystery to me.

 

I would guess that he died in the late 60's or early 70's, but I don't even know that.

 

What does anyone know of him?

 

MM

 

Hi

 

There's an article in The Organ no.41 (July 1931). In summary, he was born Flaxton nr. York 1886.

 

Deputy organist at Stockton-on-Forest aged 11

Organist of St. Dennis, York age 14

Wesleyan Chapel, Selby

St. Helen's Dringhouses (also a school teacher)

1909 - organist of St. Peter RC, Lancaster (later the Cathedral)

1910 also Municipal Organist Lancaster Town Hall

1915 took B.Mus London Uni

military service - returned to Lancaster after war

Mus.D. Lond 1924

 

The only info I can find on the web is http://www.cathedral.plus.com/Organ.html

 

His name (according to the Organ) is Dr. J.H. Reginald Dixon.

 

I seem to remember reading article by him in The Organ, but could be mistaken.

 

Hope this helps

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

There's an article in The Organ no.41 (July 1931).  In summary, he was born Flaxton nr. York 1886.

 

Deputy organist at Stockton-on-Forest aged 11

Organist of St. Dennis, York age 14

Wesleyan Chapel, Selby

St. Helen's Dringhouses (also a school teacher)

1909 - organist of St. Peter RC, Lancaster (later the Cathedral)

1910 also Municipal Organist Lancaster Town Hall

1915 took B.Mus London Uni

military service - returned to Lancaster after war

Mus.D. Lond 1924

 

The only info I can find on the web is http://www.cathedral.plus.com/Organ.html

 

His name (according to the Organ) is Dr. J.H. Reginald Dixon.

 

I seem to remember reading article by him in The Organ, but could be mistaken.

 

Hope this helps

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

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

 

Thanks for that Tony.

 

I recall something that Dr James H Reginald-Dixon said to me.

 

In describing the Ainscough at Lancatser Cathedral, he said (and I quote) " There are many larger cathedrals, but there are none better!"

 

The only Ainscough organ I ever played, at Thornton-le-Dale PC (now sadly destroyed and replaced with an electronic), sounded absolutely superb, but needed much work.

 

I can't imagine that there are many more original examples of Ainscough's work left as they were built more or less, and the organ at Lancaster I have yet to hear.

 

One also wonders what the organ in the hall at Lancaster sounds like.

 

In fact, I've only ever been to Lancaster once on foot, and that was quite a brief encounter with the place. It may be a regional capital, but apart from the fact that the poor, unfortunate "Pendle Witches" were imprisoned there before being hung (purely eccentric, poor women), one never hears much about it.

 

Incidentally, one of the movements in Whitlock's Organ Symphony is dedicated to Dr Reginald-Dixon.

 

As for the name, what a fantastic co-incidence that there were two; one of whom could play the organ!

 

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

 

 

 

As for the name, what a fantastic co-incidence that there were two; one of whom could play the organ!

MM

 

Don't be bitchty! - listen to the early recordings of Reginald `Mr Blackpool' Dixon - he could play and possibly gave far more enjoyment to many more people that his namesake did.

 

 

FF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Roffensis

I recall something that Dr James H Reginald-Dixon said to me.

 

In describing the Ainscough at Lancatser Cathedral, he said (and I quote) " There are many larger cathedrals, but there are none better!"

 

Well that's right lot of old twaddle not to say a gross sweeping statement for a start, both in terms of the "cathedral" (actually a parish church building in all but name) and the organ. People must have made judgements about his credibility given such a comment, people must have been queing up to have him advise on their organs! :blink::lol:

R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recall something that Dr James H Reginald-Dixon said to me.

 

In describing the Ainscough at Lancatser Cathedral, he said (and I quote) " There are many larger cathedrals, but there are none better!"

 

Well that's right lot of old twaddle not to say a gross sweeping statement for a start, both in terms of the "cathedral" (actually a parish church building in all but name) and the  organ. People must have made judgements about his credibility given such a comment, people must have been queing up to have him advise on their organs!  :blink:  :lol:

R

 

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

 

I made all sorts of mistakes in that reply....sorry about that!

 

Dr J H Reginald-Dixon was, of course, referring to the organ rather than the cathedral.

 

I also responded by suggesting that I knew an Ainscough organ at "Thornton in Craven", which was nothing of the sort. The church was Thornton in the Yorkshire Dales, just north of Ingleton......possibly Thornton-le-Dale, but as there's another Thornton-le-Dale in North Yorkshire, and numerous other Thorntons around, it may be called something else.

 

In fact, digressing slightly, the Yorkshire Dales are almost an organ desert, with the exception of a rather fine Hill organ or two; one of which is currently silent.

 

However, back to Dr Reginald-Dixon, who composed a few pieces including a Festive piece which Malcolm Archer recorded in recent times. Interestingly, I also recall something else he said, when visiting a new Rushworth & Dreaper organ at an RC church in Speke, nr.Liverpool, which was in the new "neo-classic" tradition of the 1960's.

 

He listened for a while and said, "That's not the sort of organ Bach would have played. As for second-choruses, where does one need them when playing Bach?"

 

Then he almost roared, "Bach did all the work for us, by altering the texture."

 

Here we are, over forty-years later, with many people now saying much the same thing!!

 

The other thing which I recall with great affection, is the spark which seemed to ignite between us, in spite of a 70 year age gap!

 

He had an impish sense of humour much the same as mine, and I think we spent much of the congress week giggling at the daftest things and at the antics of the delegates. I can quite understand why Percy Whitlock regarded him as "the naughty boy at the party."

 

As regards the quality of Henry Ainscough's work, I seem to recall that he was an ex-Willis man, or somesuch, which may explain his abilities as a tonal artist. It may also explain Dr Reginald-Dixon's assertion that "there are many bigger organs, but none better."

 

Dr R-D was no fool, even if he liked to played the part of the clown!

 

MM

 

PS: The mystery of the large gold-earrings remains just that, and he was quite an unusual spectacle with his immaculate, heavy suits, his copious white-beard and compulsory Havanna cigar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Andrew Butler

Not having (knowingly) played an Ainscough I cannot give a personal opinion, but John Norman in "The Organs Of Britain" is somewhat dismissive of Ainscough, describing his organs as having "...a certain rough vigour" :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not having (knowingly) played an Ainscough I cannot give a personal opinion, but John Norman in "The Organs Of Britain" is somewhat dismissive of Ainscough, describing his organs as having "...a certain rough vigour"  :blink:

 

 

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

 

It was possibly a pre-amble to drawing up plans for an electronic replacement somewhere! (miaow)

 

I don't think I can comment, because I only ever knew one Ainscough organ, which was just wonderful....sadly no more.

 

If by "rough vigour" he meant bright, then I would go along with that. There was certainly nothing dull about the one instrument I knew.

 

I'm delighted to note however, that they obviously value the organ at Lancaster Cathedral enough to want to retore it, and it seems that the organ has not been changed tonally since it was built.

 

I've since discovered that Ainscough was trained by T H Harrison.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't be bitchty! - listen to the early recordings of Reginald `Mr Blackpool' Dixon - he could play and possibly gave far more enjoyment to many more people that his namesake did.

FF

 

 

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

 

I agree that "Mr Blackpool" was entertaining and enjoyable, but like so many musicians who played the old theatre organs, they were essentially pianistic in their approach to organ-playing.

 

I would include, in the same category, the great Sidney Torch.

 

So I wasn't really being bitchy at all.

 

Compare the pianistic approach to that of ORGANISTS such as Reg Foorte and especially Quentin Maclean, and it produced a VERY different style of playing.

 

I am always enthralled by Maclean's version of "Old man of the mountains", where he weaves in references to "Peer Gynt" ingeniously and almost contrapuntally.....very much the organist's theatre organist......but what else could we expect from one of Straube's pupils?

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
"Yorkshire Dales are almost an organ desert"

Goodness, almost as much as London?  :lol:

 

 

This would make a good new thread: which county gives you least organic satisfaction?

 

I would nominate Buckinghamshire. Something to do with the age at which I caught the organ bug, but I am still apologetic when people ask me where I'm from. You see, Bucks doesn't really count because it hasn't got any* decent organs. By contrast, Oxford (where I went to school) used to be carpeted with exciting and varied instruments. How would I describe it now - 80% of the organs now pretend very strongly to be what they're not (and where they're not!).

 

*I should re-phrase that, there might be one - and that's very difficult to find. There would be four or five, but Eton has been re-classified as in Berkshire - despite being very definitely north of the Thames. I suppose High Wycombe Parish Church might be a contender but there's no acoustic and I think the 32' reed is still 'prepared for'.

 

And the one good organ? East Clayton Church (not far from Buckingham) - a poor case (? by Atterton) contains the remains of a two manual Dallam/Harris mentioned by Pepys in his diary. I found it once and enjoyed it hugely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lee Blick
High Wycombe Parish Church might be a contender but there's no acoustic and I think the 32' reed is still 'prepared for'

 

There is no 'prepared for' 32ft reed on this organ. It has a full length 32ft Double Open Bass on this Willis III.

 

There is a nice Samuel Green at Lacey Green Parish Church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yorkshire Dales are almost an organ desert"

Goodness, almost as much as London?  :lol:

 

Maybe, though there aren't many churches per square mile in this part of God's Own County, and those there are tend to be small ones.

 

If you include the lower reaches of the Dales, then we have a lovely IIP/20 'mini-cathedral' H&H of 1923 at Masham PC and a slightly less sophisticated IIIP/26 H&H of 1909 at Pateley Bridge.

 

The real gems in the Ripon area are the two Lewis organs in the twin estate churches by Wm Burges - only 5 miles apart - at Studley Royal and Skelton-on-Ure. The former was beautifully restored about 15 years ago by H&H though the latter is sadly unplayable.

 

JS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...