An improvisation in Paris

Frederik Magle

Staff member

I was in Paris two weeks ago. Taking a walk in the late afternoon, relaxing and enjoying the city after a meeting, I passed by L'èglise Saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts. They have a magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ, and so I decided to walk in and ask if I could play it, and I could! The church was very kind to allow me to do so. A random stroll down the streets of Paris turned in to an encounter with this beautiful pipe organ from 1894.

I played a few free improvisations, and decided to record it with my iPhone placed on the organ console. So this is a real "home video", recorded just for myself and not meant to be released, but then today I thought... why not? And so you'll hear me sing along (out of tune! ;-) and you'll see me struggle to find the right registrations and couplers by trial and error (I had only been at the organ for about 10 minutes when I recorded this). It's just me, trying out and enjoying the wonderful Cavaillé-Coll without a care in the world.

The music is of course 100% improvised (inspired by the French school), and the free improvisation can probably best be described as a slowly evolving "meditative" toccata. Don't expect anything complex in any way, it's just a walk in Paris...

PS: the tracker keyboard action and the registration changes are very audible, especially the registers closest to the phone (some of them just a couple of cm away).



Active member
Enjoyed hearing the organ and your performance.. left comments on your youtube channel. Thanks again.


Staff member
Such an energetic improvisation ... I am filled with awe at your continued talent, Frederik. :)