Birth of the International Touring Organ
July 5, 2014 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Cameron Carpenter is a classical organist who takes his instrument very seriously. If you want to hear him play, check out his versions of Schubert's Erlkönig, Chopin's Revolutionary Étude, and his mostly Bach program at the 2012 BBC Proms (Toccata and Fugue in D minor excerpted here). For more background, see this NYT interview. But please watch that first video at least once -- you won't regret it.
posted by rollick (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen him twice at the Winspear in Edmonton. Highly recommended!
posted by No Robots at 3:01 PM on July 5, 2014

That is by far the most stupendous and insane promo for a classical album I've ever seen. I like Cameron Carpenter, but it's nice to see that he also has a sense of humor about himself.
posted by koeselitz at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Reminds me a little of Virgil Fox.
posted by Gymnopedist at 4:16 PM on July 5, 2014

Um, whose organ is he playing here? Ah I see, so this diva is touring his own organ around. Cheeky.
posted by Catblack at 4:50 PM on July 5, 2014

The NYT is understating the vitriol, more than a little, when it says web comments have dismissed him by "accusing him of posturing among hard-working classical organists". Loved the Youtube vids, good heavens don't ever read the comments. That first video is amazing!

Seconding the Virgil Fox parallel -- right down to the touring organ.
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 4:57 PM on July 5, 2014

posted by uosuaq at 7:24 PM on July 5, 2014

It's real? I thought it was a classical Spinal Tap.

Also, nice abs.
posted by Long Way To Go at 8:08 PM on July 5, 2014

Virtual organs have been a thing for quite a while. Barbara Dennerlein gives a nice tour of her home set-up here. This one is, I guess a bigger and better version of the Marshall and Ogletree that he's played at Trinity Church on several (numerous?) occasions. I didn't know about the Middle Collegiate instrument he collaborated on. This is all pretty exciting. Thanks for the post!
posted by cleroy at 9:56 PM on July 5, 2014

I've heard him play; he is an astonishing virtuoso. You also get the feeling he's a little trapped and rather unhappy within the "bad-boy of the organ" persona he's developed and doesn't quite know how to find a suitable niche for himself in the classical world. Clearly the thought of just having a steady career performing the classical organ repertoire bores the pants off him: but what the hell are the options, really, for an organist? I hope this whole "international touring organ" thing works out for him. I suspect what he really needs is for the organ to start becoming a more vital instrument for contemporary composers.
posted by yoink at 7:36 AM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd never heard of him and I was about 75% sure that the first video was a huge troll.

posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2014

Hooray! Pipe organ needs more crazy. He's been trying to get this thing built for years - didn't know he actually went and did it. I missed his recital here a couple years ago, but I understand he was incredibly nice, made a point of greeting everybody in the audience, and hung around afterwards to chat with everybody who wanted to talk to him. He's the real deal.

Do you know who else has their own pipe organ?
posted by lagomorphius at 12:19 PM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

It will be interesting to see who he is in another ten years.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:18 PM on July 6, 2014

My grandparents had a pump organ in the dark windowless center room of their house. Three grandkids sitting side by side enthusiastically pumping the two pedals with their toes that could barely reach, "playing" the keyboard and pulling knobs at random could make it sound like something.

For such a difficult instrument - not that any are easy - it's fun for kids.
posted by vapidave at 2:09 PM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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