Cameron Carpenter ...
is making an appearance here in Tucson on Saturday night. Wife and I are ushers at this performance venue (Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona Campus) and will also be attending this program.
Ticket sales have not been as spirited as the promoters had hoped, but this is also Super Bowl weekend as well as Mardi Gras celebrations before Lent begins on Wednesday Feb 10th.
As ushers we were able to "comp" friends of ours so that they could attend because of low ticket sales. Our friends are elated to get freebee tickets that would normally cost upwards of $85 (USD) for the main orchestra section.
Cameron tours with his own custom built organ, manufactured by Marshall & Ogletree. The modern day era Virgil Fox it seems, but with a much different twist.
We haven't the foggiest what is on his program for Saturday night, but will post it here that weekend, if one is made available.
Vice Admiral Virtuoso
I enjoy is youtube videos even if a little extreme at times it seems.. A Very Talented organist,individualist and showman. IMHO. I know I like the Marshall & Ogletree installations I have heard.
....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
- Jean Langlais
I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.
Agree with you Bill. The first M&O organ I heard was Trinity Wall Street (NYC). Amazing sound for sure. Certainly gives the other 'digital' organ manufacturers more competition.
I would love to have the opportunity to put various manufacturers instruments side by side and hear the differences. The Johannes organs I've heard (recordings) all have a very long reverb tail - yet to hear one in a dead acoustic, like my church is. Yeesh, the sound stops before I life my fingers off the keyboard ... ... but the sound of my Moller is superb despite its relatively small size of 9 ranks and 7 registers.
Well ... overall, I was not that impressed with the sound of the Marshall & Ogletree full ensemble. Yes it was full sounding and the bass was solid, but it sounded rather 'heavy' and not with the clarity that we have with a fully winded organ at full plenum. But that could also be the way the Cameron has it voiced, too.
Surely loads of independent stops and every possibly pipe organ sound imaginable was heard, but the quieter stops were much more enjoyable as were the theatrical Tibia's when he played in that style. I was far more impressed with the Trinity Wall Street instrument as far as total plenum sound goes.
Cameron elected not to use any artificial reverb in the setup as the hall has a little bounce to it anyway.
Afterwards a small select group of us were invited up on stage to view the console up closed and personal. Cameron came out and met with us ... very approachable person, btw ... and fully explained all of the various controls and the history behind each and every stop and from which organ it was sampled from. Interesting to note that the pedaboard has 42 notes - 5 extra on the top and bottom so the compass is G to C. The console has 5 manuals, 10 generals and 6 divisionals per manual and pedal. The Crescendo shoe is at the far left (his preference) and has the normal compliment of 4 expressions, Choir, Swell, Solo and Bombarde. The Great division acts as an exposed set of pipes without expression.
Each division of stops (orchestral, reeds, foundations, etc) can be floating in that they can be assigned to any manual at will. There are three supercomputers that operate the organ, two of which are operational all the time and the third is a backup in case one of the other two goes down. The umbilical between the console and the computers is merely one single cable not much bigger than a normal coax cable.
The console is broken down into 5 cases for moving/travel. The right and left cheek blocks detach from the keyboard section. The whole organ can be setup or torn down in about 2 hours. It travels by truck with a full time engineer and four assistants. The entire organ (in 20 cases) can be easily shipped via air to any place in the world, but for ease of travel arrangements there are two complete sets of speakers cases, one normally stored in Boston, the other stored in Bonn.
Carpenter takes on the aura of a modern day Virgil Fox - lots of the same showmanship with fancy pedalwork as well. Cameron uses both thumbs for playing solo lines while the other fingers are on other manuals playing runs and such. Almost like having one extra hand in the mix. His organ shoes sport 3" heels as well.
His main goal is to bring classical music to the people and presents it in a way that someone who would never listen to Vierne on their own will come away with great appreciation for that composers. He did play Carillon de Westminster as part of the program. Also the Bach Passacaglia and Fuge in D minor with expert precision.
He was called back for an encore which was the Stars and Stripes of Sousa featuring the middle part done entirely on the pedals, and the ending piccolo descant played on the pedals as well.
M & O is building a similar version for a permanent installation (yet to be announced) that costs about $1.3 million (USD).
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