From the Mailbag: The Best Organ Music in the World

1968 Harrison/King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England King's College, Cambridge

Happy Holidays Michael,

This is a really tough question but "if" it can be answered - there's probably no one but you who can answer it. Where would one go to hear the best organ music in the whole wide world? Hope to hear back from you soon.

Thanks, Patricia Ann Harris


Dear Ms. Harris,

You ask an impossible question, since what one person thinks is 'the best organ music' may not at all be to another's liking. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, can be counted on to excite and delight, but that is something other than what one might hear at King's College Chapel in Cambridge after an Evensong service, or what might be played at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, or at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, or at the Cathedral of St. Cecilia in Omaha. You have some pretty fine music-makers right there in Tennessee, too.

Each organ has its power, and I have been as charmed satisfied by some little instruments with only a single keyboard and fewer than a dozen stops as I have been by the world's largest functioning instrument (the Wanamaker organ at Macy's, Philadelphia)... indeed, maybe the little organs beguiled me more!

You need to listen to several hundred past Pipedreams programs and come up with some ideas on your own. :)

Season's Greetings!

JMB


Thank you so much for your adorable response to my impossible question, Michael. I know you're 100% correct in what you say and I "think" it's because – organs, like all other instruments are only as good and inspiring as the musician playing them. Just today, I listened to a vinyl of Virgil Fox playing Heavy Organ "Bach Live At Fillmore East" on his Rodgers Touring Organ 1970. The description on the back cover explains what happens, to the audience, when one is playing with total love of music enveloping them.

I shall, indeed, continue listening to and enjoying your magnificent Pipedreams programming.

Sincerely, Patricia Ann Harris