"If you pass a church and hear an organ, go in and listen.
If allowed to sit on the organ bench, try your inexperienced fingers
and marvel at the supreme power of music."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Robert Schumann                                        


“Oh, the organ…” The king of instruments has inspired great composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms among others. Its diversity of stops, the magnificent mixtures, and monumental Tutti sound leaves us in fascination and evokes a sense of the sacred and celestial. Every organ is unique; they are designed to have pride of place in spaces like churches or concert halls. Its tonal registers offer an endless capability for blending them to an exclusive sound. When I play concerts, I always take sufficient time to find the best combination of sounds for that particular room and instrument. Though that is time consuming, it is worth the effort because the enthusiastic applause after the concert certainly makes it very fulfilling.

There are many organ schools with different trends nowadays. Some of them make sense and some do not. One of these trends is called “historically-informed performance”.  For example, they claim it may sound more historically authentic to play the pedal part in Bach’s organ music with toe alone. The reason is that there is evidence that this technique exists in the instructional books of the Baroque period. Personally, I do not endorse this. Are Bach’s organ works considered to be the standard repertoire during his time? Not at all. They are virtuosic masterpieces, and were only played by very few organists of that time. In my opinion the period authors who wrote about organ playing technique, did not possess the skills to play Bach, so it is my belief that their books are not relevant to Bach’s organ works.

As a side note, during my studies in Graz, I played César Franck’s B minor Choral, and found it difficult to simultaneously play the pedal and open the swell during the E-flat minor part in the middle of the piece. I asked my professor, Gunther Rost, if I could operate the swell with my left foot, and he said I could “operate it with my nose if I wished…but it had to sound terrific.” Since that moment, his response has become my personal credo.

Lastly, I would like to open the floor for discussion about something I have been mulling over for years: Why are organ concerts less attended than all other classical concerts? If you have an informed opinion on the matter, please feel free to write me by clicking on the “Contact” link.