To show that I am ecumenical, I attended an organ concert at The All Saints’ Episcopal Church (http://www.allsaintsatlanta.org/) by Lynne Davis (http://www.lynnedavis.net/ver2/index.shtml). All Saints’ is a beautiful church and it argues against God only liking white walls. The church building is neo-gothic in design and is full of warm oak decorations and pews. Ms. Davis played on the Kenan Memorial Organ (http://www.allsaintsatlanta.org/files-and-forms/?dl_cat=3), which is a mighty instrument with main console and antiphonal organ in the rear of the sanctuary. The church is actually a fairly small space so localization of sound between the main and rear pipes is fairly easy, in comparison to large and reverberant cathedrals, where the sound appears to come from no particular point. I enjoyed the three- dimensional effects.
The program included works by Langlais, Clerambault, Franck, Vierne, Alain, and Dupre. The Langlais is a real blockbuster. Ms. Davis did not hesitate to turn up the volume. It was great. The Clerambault piece is a long suite with each of the sections demonstrating the organist’s skills. The “Basse de Cromorne” section had impressive pedal notes and the Flutes section, well, sounded like flutes. The Franck Pastorale, opus 19 had some wonderful pedal-drone notes. The Dupre “Variations sur un Vieux Noel” is a great demonstration of theme and variation development. The Finale, loud and bombastic, was a rousing way to end the concert.
For me, the organ can be a thrilling instrument or a deadly bore in the hands of an inept organist. Ms. Davis’ playing was definitely on the thrilling side.