The internet has certainly shrunk the world to the point where each day looking at e mails I have no idea what to expect. Hot on the heels of a request to hire an organ for the Papal Mass in Dubai, which we undertook in February, an email on March 23rd this year asked if we could hire a ‘positiv organ’. This was for a ‘Handel Goes Wild’ concert in Istanbul given by the concert group L’Arpeggiata. The concert was just 4 weeks off.
Organising delivery of the organ to Turkey
In my mind this request was for a very specific type of organ that would be difficult to source at short notice in the UK or Europe, let alone Turkey. So I exchanged pictures with the client just to confirm I had the right understanding and set them off to see if a local museum may be able to help. Our chamber organ was appropriate but not built in the very specific ‘positive’ style case.
A week or so passed and the client came back accepting that our chamber organ was the only possible contender for the evening of all Handel works played on period baroque instruments.
We now had the challenge of how to get this very delicate and precious instrument into the Istanbul İş Sanat Concert Hall, by April 15th . Allowing for all the possible customs delays that might frustrate a timely delivery.
It proved a real challenge for us and our freight partners Davies International. The paperwork alone took near 3 days to resolve. We initially progressed using a ‘Carnet’ which is a well-established route to get goods temporarily imported without customs duties to find later that the UK Chamber of Commerce will only issue a Carnet for goods not involved in a commercial enterprise. Two days lost and back to the starting grid.
Flights were booked to the new airport in Istanbul only to find that customs there are not yet fully functional. So we had to find a flight to the old airport instead. A special crate had to be constructed to ensure the chamber organ was not damaged in transit and could be easily unpacked and repacked for shipment home.
Our organs travel around the world
It went to the wire but on a Friday afternoon the crate arrived at or warehouse in Bicester, UK. On the Saturday morning the instrument was tested and packed. Saturday afternoon it shipped to Heathrow for customs clearance. Sunday morning it shipped to Stansted Airport to catch a cargo flight to Istanbul. On the Wednesday it was in the concert hall and working. And as you see in the picture later on in performance.
This year has seen two Regent Classic Organs travel a combined distance of over 13000 miles for performance duties that could not be met by any other instrument in either Dubai or Turkey. Excuse me if for a short moment I reflect on that as a rather remarkable achievement under great time pressure for a small group of dedicated people in a tiny business in Oxfordshire.
If you have an unusual or far away need for an organ of great quality and style in a hurry you need look no further than Regent Classic Organs. We will meet whatever extraordinary challenge you care to throw our way.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Regent Classic Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.