At the AES 95th Convention in New York, Graham Blyth initiated what has evolved into an ongoing tradition at all subsequent conventions: an organ recital at one of the host city's most prominent churches. From New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in the US, to Copenhagen, Munich, and many other cities in Europe, these recitals have become a welcome event, allowing convention attendees the opportunity to "recalibrate their ears" to what our audio industry is all about: live music. Now, the AES has produced a compact disc of selected recordings from these concerts.
The seven pieces on this disc represent the great organ literature of the past 3 centuries, and include works of J.S. Bach, Franz Liszt, Joseph Jongen, Cesar Franck, George Ball, Hubert Parry, and Olivier Messiaen, performed on instruments ranging in size from the pleasant little organ at St. Michaelskirche, in Munich, to the multirank giant at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.
The pipe organ, known as the "king of instruments," represents the ultimate challenge for a musician, requiring dexterity and coordination simultaneously from both hands and both feet to bring forth its wealth of sonic variety. As will be heard on this recording, the organ can roar as easily as it can whisper, with pipes ranging in size from a few inches to 32 feet Indeed, the pipe organ is the original music synthesizer because with its hundreds (or even thousands) of pipes it is capable of evoking the sounds of reed, brass, and string instruments, as well as the human voice and even percussion in the modern theater organs. All of the recordings on this album were made live in concert, without the benefit of retakes, and in the presence of an audience.
As Graham describes in his Program Notes, the circumstances surrounding some of these recordings presented many "sticky moments." Nonetheless, the beauty of the music prevails and the unique qualities of each instrument are well preserved. Of course, to experience the true majesty of the pipe organ, you must be there. We therefore invite and encourage you to attend Graham's recital at the next AES Convention.
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