Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bach Organ Works Marathon

Just a quick note for people in Melbourne. There's a very special event going on right now at the Melbourne Town Hall. Calvin Bowman is playing all of Bach's Organ works (except those of spurious attribution) in one sitting.
The event started at 8:00am today and is expected to finish sometime after midnight tonight. The last work will be the Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

video

That video is pretty rough and ready - the iPhone struggled with the contrast levels in the hall. However, it gives you some idea! The console for the organ has been set up on the floor of the auditorium in a pool of light. It gives a unique insight into the way a big organ is played. You can watch as he pulls the pre-sets, uses the different manuals and plays the base pedals. It's particularly interesting when he plays a long passage on the base pedals with both hands on his knees!
The atmosphere in the hall is great. Around 600 people at any one time by my estimate and a respectful hush. At each break people leave and others arrive so that there is a constant turnover of people. I think everyone there understands what a supreme effort this must be. I imagine that Calvin will be very sore and tired tomorrow.
This event is part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and its free. So get on down there!

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