Nigel Ogden: The Organist Entertains - 19/08/2010
Nigel Ogden turns the clock back with a programme of popular organ recordings from the 78rpm era which have been re-released, hiss free, on CD. The players include Sidney Torch, Reginald Dixon and Dudley Beavan on instruments that, with one notable exception, can't be heard today. For example the Compton organ installed in St George's Hall in London, the home of the BBC Variety Department, was known as BBC Theatre Organ No 1 but was destroyed during an air raid in 1940. It's played by Reginald Foort with Alfredo Campoli on violin. Dudley Beavan plays the small but extremely effective Wurlitzer that ended up in the Granada Clapham Junction and Harry Davidson, who became better known as a dance band leader, plays one of the few installations in the UK by the Dutch firm Standaart at The Commodore Theatre in Hammersmith. The Wurlitzer at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom has been active since 1935 and is the only organ in the programme which you can still hear live today. It's played, naturally, by Mr Blackpool himself Reginald Dixon who recorded hundreds of 78s at its famous console. Before about 1941 Sidney Torch regularly displayed his mastery of the theatre organ demonstrating a technical expertise that was second to none. After then, he hardly ever touched it as he embarked on a glittering career as an orchestral conductor, composer and arranger, but tonight's programme ends with his typically brilliant creation around the song There's Something About A Soldier played on the Christie Organ at the Regal Marble Arch.