A Day at Montserrat

October 3, 2012

An unmethodical selection of photos from another great day at a unique place. Thanks to the hospitality of Dom Jordi Piqué, I also got to play the magnificent new organ.

Check out the things he is willing (and, credibly, capable) to do.

And, lest you think he’s kidding, check out his organ improvisation (though the Elgar at the end is not, of course, an improvisation):

UPDATE: As I posted to the Piporg-L list:

All of this video is fine, but especially watching this guy as he manages the beginning of the Elgar reminds me how many skillful reflexes a decent organist acquires. My own career has made me sometimes think of myself as other musical things more than “organist,” but being one is truly at the basis of who I am musically.

This consciousness popped out unexpectedly during a lesson last week when I was demonstrating something to a pupil. She asked “How did you know to do that?”

“Because I’m an organist and I’m smart” came out unthinkingly. But there’s something to it.

… in summer on a pipe organ without air conditioning. It’s the end of Communion this morning, and I’m doing one of those intentionally uneventful, merely atmospheric moments, when I find that coupling two Stopped Diapasons together and playing up high makes a very appealing glass-harmonica-like sound. But, all of a sudden, I hit a B-natural for which one of the pipes was way out of tune. It sounds exactly as though the pipe is gargling. Mortified as I was, I just had to play that note one more time to make sure I’d heard aright. It’s kind of like the way you can’t resist touching your tongue to that loose tooth. You can hear this novel effect by clicking here.

And so does a sense of fun.

I have often heard Olivier Latry improvise and have heard two of the others as well. But I’ve never heard them all together until this remarkable event:

Tip of the hat to Stephen Best

UPDATE: And now comes a newly-posted video of an organist improvising in a Greenwich Village club, and on the piano:


(Tip of the hat to Mark Nelson)