The Brighton Dome organ returns to the Concert Hall Sunday 28th September, 2.45pm.
Dome Concert Hall
Pavilion TheatreThe Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra opens its 79th concert season with a spectacular concert, which includes the chance to hear Brighton Dome’s famous pipe organ for the first time since its reconstruction. Michael Maine will performSaint-Saëns‘ fabulous Organ Symphony, which provides a fantastic showcase for the instrument, with the BPO conducted by Principal Conductor Barry Wordsworth. Coincidentally the last organ performance by the Brighton Philharmonic was the same Saint-Saëns work performed by Stephen Hicks on 27th March 1994.
The Brighton Dome are also programming several dedicated organ concerts for the Spring/Summer season (2004) with such luminaries as Thomas Trotter, Carlos Curley and Wayne Marshall. Whilst next year’s Brighton Festival programme will feature one or two orchestral pieces which make full use of the organ’s fantastic versatility.Brighton Dome was built in l803 as the stables adjoining the Prince Regent’s (George IV) oriental extravaganza, The Royal Pavilion. In 1850 the Dome was converted into a Concert Hall which included a 4 manual Father Willis organ, which when the building was re-designed in l935 was taken out. When the l930s art deco interior was introduced the present Norman, Hill & Beard dual-purpose concert organ was installed in l936, it was tailor-made to suit the many uses of the Concert Hall during that period and therefore built to be played as either a cinema or classical organ. It was designed by Dr Stanley Roper (Organist of HM Chapel Royal, London), Quentin MacLean (famous cinema organist of the Trocadero, Elephant and Castle), and Brighton Borough Organist at the time, Dr Alfred Abdey.
The instrument became famous through the many broadcasts of Douglas Reeve in the heyday of the BBC Light Programme’s 10am theatre organ programmes. His twice-weekly summer series of Pack up Your Troubles organ concerts attracted capacity audiences. He also inaugurated, just after the 2nd World War, the weekly Tuesday Night at the Dome variety shows, which made the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running seaside variety show in the world (1600)!
Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall re-opened in March 2002 after three years of extensive restoration and re-building after years of neglect. The job of restoring the organ was given to David Wells (Organ Builders) of Liverpool, who are one of the best of only 10 organ builders in the country. Although the Concert Hall re-opened over a year ago, it has taken far longer to install the organ, largely due to the fact that it is now a working venue and the organ needs to be installed in a dust-free environment. Although the chambers were installed some time ago, the final components will finally be put in place in August when the venue closes for routine maintenance.
The wonderful acoustics of the Concert Hall’s new Carmen system means that the organ will be heard in prime condition.