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09 April 2012
An Easter Bouquet
So...I go away for a week, and when I return, all the azalea and jasmine and dogwood blooms are gone. Alas. In their places, though, a whole 'nother group has magically appeared in my backyard:
Of course, with it being Spring, Easter-time comes. One of my favorite things about Easter—besides my wooly backyard—is getting to hear the Ch.M. Widor Toccata from his Fifth Symphony (for organ) (1879).
Sacred music, no matter your views on religion, is one of the signal contributions of the West to the arts and world culture. I've heard this piece any number of places, significantly in Riverside Church in NYC where the bass pedal absolutely shook its granite foundations. To give you some clue: it took until this guy's great invention (R.I.P.) to approach the sort of soul rocking thunder that great pipe organ music provided to people for hundreds of years before the birth of rock 'n' roll and the advent of the Marshall stack. Jim Marshall may, indeed, be the 'father of loud' (see here), but for generations before him, there was nothing like the pipe organ of his ancestors. Here is one of them, Widor himself, recorded at the age of 88, at the St. Sulpice organ in Paris on which and for which this masterpiece was created:
Here's a faster, more 'modern' version. None of these, however, can capture the power of hearing it live. And LOUD!
[Catch the 'wait for it' at 3:28—That, my friends, is being THUNDERSTRUCK!—what they call pulling out all the stops.]