You can't talk about playing the organ without unintentional innuendo. Ah, well. I'll count on you guys to act like grownups for the space of a single post, 'kay?
Friday: I went to see my friend Helen play the recital requirement for her Bachelor's of Music in Organ Performance. This was at Legacy Hall in the River Center. You can see a picture of that here, and I highly recommend you look at it, because it gives a clear view of the organ in the back wall.
A note: I love organ music, ever since I sang in the Georgia Tech Chorale and our accompanist was the accomplished organist Sue Goddard. It was because we had her that we were able to take the Durufle Requiem on tour with nothing but organ accompaniment across various churches, some of whom had organs that filled entire rooms.
Helen's concert fliers were very cute: "2 hands, 2 feet, 3,600 pipes". Because, yeah. The Legacy Hall organ is THAT awesome, and beautiful. I have a darling place in my heart for Legacy Hall anyway because of its gorgeous acoustics and comfortable size (not too large, quite intimate with the audience).
So elvinborn and I were treated to free organ music, by Clerambault and Bach and Alain and Gigout. Brief reviews: the Clerembault was nice because each piece in the Suite du deuxieme ton gave you a taste of the different flavors of organ sound. I preferred the lighter, dancing pieces to the heavier ones (I liked Flutes better than Plein Jeu).
All I can say of the Bach is that there is a reason why the most well-known organ pieces on earth are Bach. He uses ALL of the instrument; it looked unbelievably athletic, all the foot pedals and keys going at the same time. Helen did Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, which is one of my favorite Bach pieces ever and which was originally conceived for chamber orchestra... it was completely beautiful on the organ, but clearly a lot of hard work as well.
The Alain (Choral dorien) was muted and introspective in the way that only an instrument whose every note already sounds like a "hmm" can be. That piece may have been my favorite.
Then Helen capped the performance with the Toccata in B Minor by Gigout. Toccata being for organ what fanfare is for trumpet, it was a great glorious splendid mess of overlaid notes and heavy chords. The Gigout was big and showy and dramatic, but I still preferred the Alain and some of the Bach. A heavy organ piece makes you feel like you're being ironed flat under this mass of music. There's something really special about a composer who can make the organ whisper.
There's almost always something going on at the River Center, and I need to attend more of the student concerts and recitals there. They're cheap, uncrowded, high quality, and you get to see some really rare talent. As Helen said after the concert, you haven't really heard organ music until you've seen it live, in a venue with a really superb instrument.