Cameron Carpenter organist
To say that Cameron Carpenter is a virtuoso is to say nothing. He is an exorbitant virtuoso, the Vladimir Horowitz of the organ. [Kommersant, St Petersberg]
Bach & Carpenter on CD
Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV 540:
Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544: Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548 "Wedge"
: Prelude and Fugue in A minor: Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532
: Prelude and Fugue in G major, BWV 541:
Recorded at Saint Mary the Virgin, New York, 2009
Telarc Classical TEL 3980-00
By chance the last fortnight has brought us three exceptional musicians new to us, keyboard wizards in completely different repertoires.
Two are pianists, Michaël Levinas and Cyprien Katsaris, whose CDs have restored our interest in modern grand pianos after several years specialising intensively upon fortepianos and clavichords, both of which have achieved wide appreciation more slowly than did the harpsichord.
For sheer athleticism, the organist Cameron Carpenter is unsurpassed; he makes you wonder why organ-playing isn't an Olympic sport.
This flamboyantly packaged double disc (the jewel case cracked on receipt, as so often !) bids for a different audience to the usuals for classical organ music in church & cathedral.But he is much more than that; a thoughtful and articulate man of 30 and very much one of today, whose international fame is attested in this unique release. Clearly he is a complete musician with a phenomenal memory and fluency of fingers and feet. He plays almost entirely without music, nor does he use an assistant to help change registrations.
Some may raise eyebrows at Cameron's fashion style and the exuberance and sheer power of his mostly Bach recital in New York; worlds away from authentic HIP performances on organs preserved in Europe.
But his sheer confidence and exhilaration are likely to win you over, and certainly the DVD is irresistible.
Here, Cameron Carpenter's selections are introduced orally, without script or auto-cue, and are models of how to do so.
He plays on various instruments; a restored 1929 Worlitzer organ once with paramount Studios; an American Classic organ in New York and a specially designed on cinema organ type made in Germany, disassembled "in minutes" there before being transported and installed in Carpenter's own Lower Manhattan home.
There are useful extras, including a wild composition of his own Homage to Klinski, a portrait of the crazed actor/collaborator of many of Werner Herzog's films, and a short documentary film about her project by the DVD's director, Katy Scoggin. Technically, the whole thing is achieved to highest standards, by a large and dedicated production team.
Hugely enjoyable and available at bargain pricing; all in all, a package not to be missed.
Peter Grahame Woolf