Theatre Organ Studies
Kinoorgel (Thomas Klose 2001) An expedition to Eastern Germany in search of theatre organs. Four instruments, two surviving, two lost, are discussed. Specification of the Philipps 2/14 organ at the Babylon Theater, Berlin, is included.
Which was the First Unit Organ? (Ian McIver, 2001) - It would seem that Hope-Jones may not have been the first to build a unit pipe organ
Some Thoughts on Tibia Clausas (Al Sefl, 2002) Al kindly allowed me to reproduce his detailed article on Tibias and what makes them tick
The Second-Largest Wurlitzer (Ian McIver. 2003). Denver's Municipal Organ (4/40) was larger than the "Fox Specials", but smaller than Radio City Music Hall.
Centenary of the Electronic Organ (Ian McIver, 2006). 2006 marked the electronic organ's centenary: the first of its type was publicly unveiled at a concert in New York on 26 September 1906. The Telharmonium could not be regarded as a commercial success, but in its principles it laid the groundwork for organs that could be successful once amplifiers and loudspeakers had been developed.
The Man Who Played the Cinema Organ (1937) I've never encountered any songs specifically about cinema organists except this one
Historical articles reprinted
The Christie Book of Golden Notes (1933) A Sales brochure issued in approx. 1933 by Hill & Sons and Norman & Bearn Ltd, the makers of the Christie Unit Organs that were installed in many theatres in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
How the Organ is Built (A Campbell-Gifford - 1933) - a visit to the Compton organ factory
Wurlitzer Record - a magazine issued by Wurlitzer's UK agents - here is the complete Issue 2 of 1929
Music and the Photoplay (Fred. G Mumford - 1921) - The Musical Director of the Tivoli, Sydney, discusses the role of appropriate music in enhancing silent films and gives some pointers on how to achieve this.
Notes on the Diaphone (John Compton - 1923) - The organ-builder who developed Hope-Jones' invention to its ultimate refinement discuss several aspects of his work
The Organ of the Future (John Compton - 1927) The most progressive and innovative organ-builder in the world at the time describes his vision of what the future, as he saw it in 1927, held for classical and theatre organs
Marvels of the Cinema Organ (Christie -1935) - A British 1930s boys' science book contained a well-illustrated and remarkably informative article about cinema organs. The material was provided by Christie Unit Organs (Hill, Norman & Beard) and shows interesting console and component views. Voicing, pipe scales and chamber placement options are discussed.
New York and the Cinema (T Scott Buhrman - 1927) - The editor of The American Organist gives his views on copntemporary theatre organs and organists in New York for the benefit of British organists.
The Training of the Kinema Organist (Quentin Maclean - 1927) - Quentin Maclean, who needs no introduction, discusses the techniques necessary to become a cinema organist in the days of silent films
To be or not to be - A Cinema Organist (SW Chuckerbutty - 1938) Wilson Oliphant, who by then had some twenty years' experience as a cinema organist in Britain, describes what the job entailed and how to seek an appointment in the late 1930s
Church v, Cinema Organs (1931) A lively debate that occupied the correspondence pages of the prestigious UK "Musical Times" throughout most of 1931 is reprinted in chronological order, following the article by organist Frank Newman that ruffled the feathers of some church organists and started the debate.
The Adventures of an Organ ( A. PIERCE JONES)(1924) An interesting account of a South African church organ's eventful career
Organs and Their Successful Photography (Gilbert Benham - 1924) Eighty years ago, photographing organs was somewhat more complex than it is today. Here we read "how it was done", and gain an appreciation of those historical photographs that are our only record of some intsruments.
Jesse Crawford's Visit to England, 1933 - Contemporary reports Jesse Crawford visited the UK in 1933, playing at the Empire, Leicester Square in London and the Paramounts at Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. The publication of the short-lived magazine "Cinema Organ Herald", which folded after only three issues, coincided with the visit. Its pages contain some fascinating insights into the visit.
Not so Serious
Fox Special 4-manual Wurlitzer found crated in Sydney warehouse (Ian McIver, 2000) - A posting for 1st April 2000 on the SecondTouch theatre organ discussion list
Fox Special - 2001 Update (Ian McIver, 2001) - A posting for 1st April 2001 on the SecondTouch theatre organ discussion list. More details of the never-to-be-completed Fox-Regent Theatre, Darwin
Poet's Corner - The Legend of David Morgan
The legend of David "Organ" Morgan stems, like many Old English folk tales, from the Dark Ages (in this case the blackout years of the 1940s). There are two contrasting schools of mythological conceptual postulates as to the mysterious disappearance of Morgan.
On the one hand, there is the Yeatsian concept of Morgan rising upward "Turning and turning in the widening gyre"; on the other hand is found the Miltonian concept of "Him the almighty power / Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky / With hideous ruin and combustion down / To bottomless perdition".
Each school has its advocates and its ballad traditions. So it is only fair to represent each version of the legend so that readers can decide for themselves, even if the downward theory is marred by its elemental false premise - an outcome that cannot possibly be true, as it goes against the fundamental logic of a flat Earth, and is thus risibly preposterous (not, of course, that I would be in any way biased in the matter).
Ode to a Cinema Organist (Ian McIver 1965) The upward, Yeatsian, version
David Morgan Plays On (John Batts 2002) The downward, Miltonian, version
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