Diversity

Here is a my favorite performance of a piece I only came to know a couple of months ago.

Mulet: Toccata ‘Tu es Petra’ | MARCO DEN TOOM, Rotterdam (NL) Laurenskerk, live

This is ‘Tu Es Petra’ by Mulet, from about a hundred years ago.  Surprisingly recent.  As with a lot of things, this is supposed to be a story of good and evil, with good winning in the end.  Frankly, the end seems contrived; tacked-on to get the thing across the goal line in under five minutes.  There was more room for development, a path not taken.  The ref simply steps in and declares God the winner.

Who is to say that this is not rock & roll?

This particular performance is haunting in these days of burning cathedrals and bombs at concerts.  It is, like the others, in a public venue.  There is something otherworldly about the garish lighting of the console, the off-kilter camera angle, the screens displaying a glimpse of three men laboring in a confined space as if under the earth, putting their hands into the reactor, mining Hell itself for the redemption of souls, or at least a rollicking good story.

This organ at St. Laurenskirk in Rotterdam, with nearly 7,500 pipes and standing sixty feet tall, was completed in 1973.

Here is another of my recent discoveries, artist-wise.

XAVER VARNUS PLAYS BACH’S TOCCATA & FUGUE IN THE BERLINER DOM

He lets the acoustics of the venue dictate the pace, which is rare.  Notable in the comments:

“He’s playing the perfect tempo for the resonance of the space and occupancy.  The venue’s natural resonance and the public sound absorption affect the performance. He’s letting the phrases ring out instead of just rushing through.  If he played faster it would just be mush.”

Note that this performance is over twelve minutes, where most pack it in around high nine or low ten.

Here is an arrangement of Ennio Morricone’s movie music for three organs:

Who says YouTube is a wasteland?

The Dutch audience for Mulet applauds and howls in approval, whereas the Eastern European audiences of Xaver Varnus erupt into period-doubling applause.  That’s enough diversity for me.

The Japanese can have their Noh, and the whomever else can have whatever — this agnostic says God Bless Western Civilization.  John Donne notwithstanding, the rest of the world can prosper happily or burn for all I care.  For whom the bell tolls is of no concern for me — the bells toll only in the West.

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