Back in the day, there were things called Cinema Organs. They were behemoths, monsters, with rows and rows of keys. They could make all manner of sounds besides a pipe note. You know the expression “all the bells and whistles”? That came from these organs: the biggest and most expensive models had extra pipes which, […]
But is it strong enough?
Ninety years ago, George Dorrington Cunningham, one of the most popular recital organists of his time, made a recording at Kingsway Hall, London. It was released as a 12-inch 78 rpm shellac record by His Master’s Voice. One copy, manufactured here in Australia, turned up in an op-shop in Geelong in 2016. I bought it, […]
The big book of favorite old songs
“This is an age of Do-It-Yourself,” proclaims the sleeve note on this battered old LP, “not only for novice carpenters, plumbers and Sunday painters”. No indeed. Our copywriter – as ferocious a fan of alliterative adornment as ever clanged the keys of a QWERTY keyboard – goes on: For millions of music-minded moderns, tired of […]
You take a stick of bamboo
“You take a stick of bamboo,” goes an old folk song, “You take a stick of bamboo and you throw it in the water.” Alternatively, you can bury the bamboo in sand for a year or two, so that it dries and hardens, and make a pipe organ. That is what an innovative Catholic Priest […]
I had vaguely heard of Albert Schweitzer, without knowing too much about him. A peace activist and humanitarian, a theologian, a man of good works. Built some sort of hospital in Africa? That, and a mental picture of a guy with a big white moustache was about it. He was all of those things – […]