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Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I do not have any particular religious convictions - it would be fairest to say I am an agnostic. But I do like inspiration and the prospect of divine inspiration is extremely attractive if you have wandered in to St. Patrick's Cathedral (read my posting here) and unexpectedly run into an organ recital as I did recently.
The experience of listening to an organ like this is so visceral, only a person built of concrete would not be moved. Regardless of your religious preference (or not), I would highly recommend a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. John the Divine or Grace Baptist Church.
One should be respectful of course, but the volume of visitors is enormous and anyone should feel quite comfortable visiting to admire the architecture and pipe organ.

According to the New York City Guild of Organists :

The original organ in Saint Patrick's Cathedral was built in 1879 by Geo. Jardine & Son, one of New York's organ builders during the later half of the 19th century. In 1926, Pietro Yon was appointed Organist/Director of Music, and plans were initiated to replace the Jardine organ. The St. Louis firm of Geo. Kilgen & Son was contracted to build two new instruments according to designs heavily influenced by Mr. Yon.
In 1930, the Grand Gallery Organ, with one of the nation's most glorious wood facades adorned with angels and Latin inscriptions, was completed.

After more than six decades of continuous daily use, a complete restoration of the chancel and gallery organs was begun in 1993. The combined organs currently contain 12 divisions, 150 ranks, 177 stops and over 9,000 pipes.
In perusing the Guild of Organists site, I have found their website to be a tremendous resource - organ concerts from the NYC metro area are listed for each day on their monthly calendar. You can see it here. My organ concert experience has always been one of happenstance. It is nice to have listings like this available. This is a special time of year with many concerts.
Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D Minor or Mass in B Minor anyone?


mkhansen said...

Give me the Mass in B Minor, please! Spectacular church and organ. I agree that an organ concert can be especially moving if one happens upon it.

Thank you for all the information, as well.

Terry B said...

I am also a non-religious person, Brian. When people ask if I go to church, my standard answer is, "Only for weddings or funerals, or if it's architecturally or historically significant." That said, I find the pomp and traditions inspiring and comforting. This sounds like one of those settings and moments. On Sunday afternoons in Paris, the Église Saint-Eustache holds organ recitals; it's a lovely way to just sit for a while, but still be feeling that you're doing/seeing/hearing something wonderful.

Brian Dubé said...

I hope to attend an organ concert soon. 'Tis the season to partake. I would also like to try a holiday sing-along.