News Archive: April 2005
This is an archive of news articles from April 2005. Current news articles can be found here and an archive index can be found here. Information in this archive may no longer be valid.
- Lewisham Town Hall Compton to be restored
The 1932 Compton theatre/concert organ in Lewisham Town Hall (now the Catford Broadway Theatre) is to be restored by HWS Associates following 15 years of silence. The organ has fourteen ranks of pipes (Tibia, Diapason 1 & 2, Geigen, Gedekct, Viole and Celeste, Harmonic Flute, Salicional, Clarinet, Tuba, Oboe, Vox Humana and Trumpet) along with tuned percussions and a complete "toy counter" (sound effects, including birds, train whistles and a siren). This mix of cinema and concert organ, with its unique carved walnut console, is even more rare for surviving unaltered in its original home. While the organ needs cleaning and maintenance, the restoration will be relatively non-invasive, retaining the original relays and action. The organ will be presented in a series of concerts later this year. Click on any picture for a larger version. All pictures © HWS Associates
- Austin Organs
Austin Organs Inc, one of America's largest organbuilding firms, announced in early March that it would be ceasing operation. Various options are currently being explored to keep the company as a going concern, and jobs in hand are proceeding with as little disruption as possible. The firm's problems have been caused by a church failing to pay its debts and a lack of new work largely due to rumours of the firm's demise, which although untrue when started have now become self-fulfilling - a sad day indeed for American organbuilding.
- Bach-Lehman - a new temperament
Yes, another temperament name to impress your friends with! The Taylor and Boody instrument recently installed in Goshen College, Indiana (Opus 41) has been tuned to Bach-Lehman, a temperament developed by former Goshen student Bradley Lehman. Following positive feedback, Taylor and Boody say they may use the temperament again. More details can be found in Lehman's articles in February and May's editions of Early Music. The organ will be inaugurated by Craig Cramer on the 1st of May.
- Organ saved by email
English organ expert Stephen Bicknell recently posted to pipe organ mailing list piporg-l about the 1898 Norman & Beard once installed in St Saviour's, Knightsbridge, London, possibly to the design of Edwin Lemare. In 1998 the organ was destined for destruction and Bicknell posted details on piporg-l that year. This was read by Fr. Peter Williams, of Parramatta, Australia after St Patrick's Cathedral had been destroyed by fire in 1996. The organ has since been dismantled, shipped to Australia, restored by Peter Jewkes Pty, and now sits in a new case in the stunning new cathedral, being dedicated in March. The original posting can be found here and a picture of the new organ case here.
News from the RCO
The Royal College of Organists held their AGM in March, and elected Peter Wright (previously Chief Examiner) as their first president to hold a two-year fixed term of office. Kim Gilbert, whose previous jobs include Technical Director of the Barbican and work with Scottish Opera and the BBC, has been appointed as General Manager. Her job includes overseeing the conversion of Curzon Street Station, Birmingham into the RCO's new HQ. The hotly contested RCO Council elections saw David Saint, Sarah Baldock, Carleton Etherington, David Woodcock and Sarah MacDonald join the 35 member body. Pictured right are, from left to right, Peter Wright, Kim Gilbert, executive committee member Patrick Maddams, and David Saint.
- Cork 2005 International Pipe Organ Festival
Cork is the 2005 European Capital of Culture, and from the 21st of May will hold a pipe organ festival with opportunities to hear and play the city's historic organs. Sophie-Vronique Cauchefer-Choplin will give a masterclass on improvisation, and there will be concerts, organ concerti and a chance to hear Ireland's largest carillon. Contact details and brief information at irishpipeorgans.com.
- OrganAssist - simple organ recording software.
OrganAssist, a simple program for PCs that allows you to record, edit and playback organ music via MIDI, has recently been released as freeware. Developed by David Glover, it has been designed to work with many common models of electronic organs and should also work with MIDI-equipped pipe organs, as well as Hauptwerk. Features include the ability to build up a library of playlists and adapt files from one organ to work well on another. It's even available in French! More information and a free download from www.organassist.com.
- ORGANLive funding drive
ORGANLive, the free Internet-based radio station playing 100% classical organ music, needs the support of wealthy listeners to continue broadcasting. With a library of over 2400 tracks, the station is an ideal way for people to get to know a wide range of organ music. Listen and sponsor at the ORGANLive website.