Giving some love to organists
Remember my earlier blog post about "genre" classical, the types of classical music that thrive outside the mainstream but only occasionally earn the attention of the big classical world? Well, of all the planets of "genre" classical solar system, probably none has more colorful characters, richer flora and fauna and a prouder history than that of (allow me to clear my throat) "The King of Instruments". Yes, the organ.
I mean, it takes a special kind of person to sit at an organ console and have at it with four limbs a-flying, while pulling knobs, flipping switches, and generally comporting oneself like a musical mad scientist -- all in the service of some of the most awesome and glorious music ever composed. But I think the fact that organists are often heard but not seen, either hidden away in a loft or stuck in some corner, can make them a little tetchy about their perceived neglect. One local maître d'orgue , who shall remain nameless (at least he will if he knocks it off) has pitched many a hissy fit over the years when WFCR has played organ masterworks in transcription, i.e., re-written for other instruments. Clearly, WFCR is part of the great international anti-organ conspiracy! Either that, or my organist friend just needs a little love from us.
So, we're going to spread some organ love today with two excellent performances. One features Christa Rakich (above left), a serious and dedicated musician who heads the organ department at the New England Conservatory. She's doing an all-Bach concert this Sunday in Pittsfield, which we'll preview with one of the works on the program.
The other features an organist who's a little...different. How different? Well, Christoph Bull (above right) grew up in Mannheim, Germany, practicing on the organ in the local church, then practicing with his rock band in the basement of the same church. Oh, and he also won a championship with his youth baseball team in Mannheim. Now living in Los Angeles, he concertizes, improvises, collaborates with musicians in many genres, explores multimedia, runs marathons, and seems somehow destined not to spend his life sequestered in an organ loft. In other words, he's our kind of organist! Is he yours? Tune in during the noon hour for his rendition of a Beatles classic. With his arrangement. With his organ playing. And with his singing. I told you he was different!