In 1968 while a 14 year old pupil at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Darlington, Mel undertook a project to archive the sounds of a number of the organs in Darlington. This included interviews with the players, in most cases the then resident organist of the church involved.
The mono recordings were made on a Grundig TK14 machine running at its only speed of 3.75 ips. An LP record was created from the tape with around 50 copies finding homes in the Darlington area and in the Edward Pease Public Library in Crown Street. I wonder if any copies survive?
The tape was digisited as a linear WAV file some years ago but the passing of almost half a century means the tracks sound less than we would expect today. They are provided here as mono 128 kbit/s MP3 files. Nonetheless, they provide an historical archive of several organs that no longer exist and allow us to hear the voices of several organists now dead. Indeed the 14 year old interviewer approached the task and framed questions very much from the standpoint of one who was then caught up in the "back to baroque" ideas of the 1960s!
The full list of instruments and organists featured is:
Where possible, links are included to the instrument descriptions in the National Pipe Organ Register.
- Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Hall – Alan Coombes
- St Andrews, Haughton – Tony Beck
- House organ – Edwin Taylor
- St Mary’s Cockerton (Nelson organ) – Edwin Taylor
- Holy Trinity – Clifford Morton
- St Augustine’s – Cyril Hickey
- House organ – Henry Steele
- St John’s – William Nattress
- St Hilda’s – David Toes (Peter White being indisposed). Organ played by Herbert Dalkin
- St Cuthbert’s – Hector C Parr
Recorded in the Grammar School Main Hall with music from Allan Coombes
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School - JJ Binns
Allan Coombes speaks about the J J Binns organ, then recently remodeled by music master, Hector Parr. Details are at N04198.
Cornet Voluntary (Allegro) - W Walond
played by Allan Coombes on the Grammar School organ.
St Andrew's, Haughton
Tony Beck talks the Forster & Andrews organ, details at K00559.
Festal Postlude - Guy Eldridge
played by Tony Beck.
House organ of Edwin Taylor
Edwin taylor describes the organ he built in his Woodland Terrace home.
Serenade - C M Widor
Played by Edwin Taylor
St Mary's, Cockerton
The Nelson organ, details at N04186, had recently moved to a west gallery and is described by Edwin Taylor.
Water Music (Air) - F Handel
played by Edwin Taylor at St Mary Cockerton..
The originally Thomas Harrison organ is described by Clifford Morton. Further details at N04191.
Gavotte - S Wesley
played by Clifford Morton on Holy Trinity's organ..
St Augustine's RC Church
Cyril Hickey describes the Hammond organ.
2Gloria, 12th Mass - W A Mozart
Played by Cyril Hickey at St Augustine's.
House organ of My Henry Steele
Harry Steele describes the organ that by then was in the process of reassambly at The Friends Meeting House in Skinnergate.
From heaven above - J S Bach
from an earlier recording made by Herbert Kay.
St John's, Bank Top
The H S Vincent organ, for which details are at N12161, is described by William Nattress.
Choral Variation - G Jacob
played on St John's organ by William Nattress.
St Hilda's Church
described by David Toes as resident Peter White was indisposed. The T C Lewis specification is at N04196 though the organ has been relocated.
Prince of Denmark's March - J Clarke
played by Herbert Dalkin at St Hilda's.
St Cuthbert's Church
Hector C Parr gives an introduction to the Binns organ he had recently modified. That specification is found at N12044 though the organ has subsequent updates.
Toccata, Fugue and Hymne (Ave Maris Stella) - Flor Peeters
played by Hector Parr on St Cuthbert's organ.
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