If at first you don’t succeed, Latry, Latry again

I finally got to hear a recital on the big new organ at St. Stephens Cathedral. Olivier Latry, organist at Notre Dame de Paris, was the soloist. He’s about as close to being a celebrity as one can conveniently find in the world of church organists.

When he sat down to play… nothing happened. After some fussing with levers , somebody ran backstage and emerged triumphant. A pencil had gotten stuck somewhere, all better now.

M. Latry didn’t disappoint, but I admit that neither did he thrill me. It seemed like maybe he’d played all these pieces before. A few hundred times. I thought it was interesting that the only time he had music in front of him was for his improvisation at the very end. For his encore, he used only his feet, which was amazing, but again obviously something he’s done before.

The organ was gorgeous, and it was certainly nice to be in a full house for an organ recital. Hopefully Latry got a bit of sleep on the very long flight home and will now be in an even better position to teach his students how to keep the passion alive over the long career of a concert musician.

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