Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sunday Organ Tour

We start off at L'Eglise des Billettes for the 10 AM organ recital - more often than not all Bach although I've also heard Dupre, Mendelssohn and some other moderns on this robustly expressive Mulheisen organ. Giles Harle played these two Sundays, including a powerful Aus Tiefer not.

The church, which is Lutheran, is part of an historic complex that once was a convent. The cloister next door now houses art exhibitions, the Lutherans sing their chorales with vigor, and the Pastor wears a severe black robe with preaching tabs.

At 10:30 you run across the Rue des Archives to the newest Starbucks in Paris - of course the Parisians are scandalized but they're flocking in anyway - for a quick coffee before you whiz around the corner to St. Gervais - the church where the Couperin family were Organists for over 200 years. The Clicqout organ has been restored and it's a thrill to hear the sounds Francois played.

And, by the way for the architects, one can see the first use of the classical orders in Paris on the facade of the church. (That picture will appear on another post.)

The you whiz across the Seine to the Ile Saint Louis into St. Louis en l'Ile to hear the newest organ in Paris built by Aubertin - a beautiful case, a very interesting specification and a beautiful sound in one of Paris' most elegant churches.

You can't stay long and you have to be v. good not to stop in next door at Berthillon for the world's absolute best ice cream - the Chocolate Sorbet is the most intense and creamy sorbet I've ever eaten - but you have to get moving in order to hear the prelude at Notre Dame.

Depending on which of the Titulaires is playing, it's either incredible or ........ We love Olivier Latry, he's a an organ god, but we're not naming other names........

Then a fast sprint across the river again, past the oldest surviving tree in Paris, into the apse of St. Severin to hear one of my three favorite organs in Paris - the Kern.

A few gorgeous sounds and then you race down the Rue St. Andre des Arts, into the Rue de Buci, and if you're lucky, the line outside Carton is not too long and you can dash in for the best Pain au Chocolate in Paris and a great pick-me-up. Then you keep moving so that you arrive at St. Sulpice for the Audition by the Titulaire.

After the Audition finishes, you wait patiently behind the tourists ascending to the Tribune and once they've seen the console you greet Daniel and hear his amazing and inspired improvisations during the organ mass. Completely Thrilling to hear it and reflect on the men who have been titulaires here, not to mention the many other personages who visited or played here: Liszt, Schweitzer, Saint-Saens, Guilmant, Franck, Faure to name a few.

Then you go to lunch.


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