No, Cameron. What do you really think?

Boy, you don’t go away from a conversation with him wondering what he thought, do you?

  1. Chapter 1: Dancing the Organ
  2. Chapter 2: Changing the Image of the Organ
  3. Chapter 3: Expanding the Repertoire
  4. Chapter 4.1: Advocate of the Digital Organ Part I
  5. Chapter 4.2: Advocate of the Digital Organ Part II
  6. Chapter 5: The Artist as Creator
  7. Chapter 6: Dangerous Obsession: Klaus Kinski
  8. Chapter 7: At Home in Berlin
  9. Chapter 8: Composing “Der Skandal”

He’s right about a device being soulless. The musician is meant to empty their soul into it.

And I wish people had the same realistic acceptance of the issues of a piano, and other instruments. And I completely agree with him about having one relationship with one instrument. As a pianist, I’m sick to death of not knowing what the hell is waiting for me. That’s probably the best part of having a viola. As I play it, I come to know it. The unportability of keyboard instruments is a constant source of stress and annoyance to keyboard players, as is the unfamiliarity of whatever instrument that may be waiting for you. The instrument ceases to be a barrier between the musician and what they want to communicate. Besides … think about that article about Horowitz and the others jerry-rigging their pianos.

Although I do think he’s oversimplifying; Joshua Bell has not played the same violin since he was eight for pete’s sake (an earlier comment he made elsewhere). I’m thinking of that RBP podcast where she rattled off a litany of the various fiddles she’s played. Few modern string players own their instruments outright, which introduces a significant uncertainty to their lives. No one organist is expected to own the Wanamaker.

I also agree with him about the value taking music out of its typical context. I would go further in that one can sense new things in pieces once they are played in new settings, which organs haven’t thus far been free to do. Making an organ mobile reveals new facets to even the standard literature by simply playing them in new places, facets that would never have been revealed otherwise.

I would disagree about there being nothing negative about people not being able to make music anymore. There’s nothing negative about making music on amplified instruments by any means. But yes, it’s a problem that people don’t make their own music anymore. The communication is so much more profound when it goes both ways, and when performer and listener have each been in the other’s shoes.

BTW, don’t invoke quantum mechanics unless you have studied it. Thanks. 🙂

Also … how fortunate that he’s male. With his attitude, he’d be burnt alive if he weren’t. America doesn’t love or forgive mud-covered women nearly so much, does it?

I recall hearing that he once remarked that organists can burn out, “live-fast-die-young,” etc. I don’t know if anyone can sustain that level of manic brilliance for a very long time. It will be interesting to see how he evolves as he ages.


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