Organ Knockout


I'm sure there are things more exciting than listening to J.S. Bach's organ music, but I can't think of any at the moment. On Cameron Live!, Cameron Carpenter's performances of the Toccata in F-sharp Major and five Prelude and Fugues is making my heart vibrate. The sheer outpouring of sound from the Aeolian-Skinner organ, enshrined in New York's Church of Stain Mary the Virgin, is so all-consuming that all I want to do is shout bravo.

And this is just the start of the adventure. After the CD ends with the world premiere recording of Carpenter's own Serenade and Fugue on B.A.C.H., the companion DVD, available in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, starts with Shostakovich's Festive Overture, Op. 96. I heard Carpenter practice this piece a year ago on his virtual organ, and it's a tour de force. But, throw in repertoire as unusual as Franz Schubert's Erlkönig (originally written for voice and piano) and add in Liszt, Moskowski, Vierne, Widor and Bach with Carpenter's Three Intermezzi for Cinema Organ and Sousa's inevitable Stars and Stripes Forever, and you'll definitely need a cold shower to bring you down to earth.

If the DVD sounds cinematic in impact, wait until you hear one of the instruments, the Hardman Studio Wurlitzer Organ. Formerly ensconced at a Paramount Pictures soundstage in LA, it has been love restored by the Hardmans of Great Falls, Virginia. Plus, the organist is Cameron Carpenter, who is a 3-D adventure all his own. Resistance is futile.