Music Pick: Cameron Clark
Cameron Carpenter—“Ode to the Organ”
March 22 & 23, 8 P.M.
by Neal Baker
There’s something overwhelming about the organ that seems to be by design. Almost more a work of architecture than an instrument, it fills a cathedral with its size and sound. Some omnipotent force controls sets upon sets of innumerable keys, buttons, and pedals, commanding the expulsion of wind from an enormous array of pipes reaching up to the heavens. Very romantic, isn’t it? When met with this sublime piece of engineering and divine musicality, Cameron Carpenter’s impression was this: “I can do better.”
This is a paraphrase, of course, of what the virtuosic and world-renowned organist has told us through the work he has done first in mastering the organ and second in reinventing it. After showing his skills and his rock-star flair on some of the biggest instruments in some of the biggest halls around the world, he decided his ambitions were too great for those organs. Thus the International Touring Organ was born, a digital version of the instrument that is only slightly less imposing but can go with him wherever he wants. And next on his list of destinations is the Long Center. On March 22 and 23 he’ll be playing alongside the Austin Symphony in a program titled “Ode to the Organ.” After unloading his supercomputer and speakers, he’ll perform Joseph Jongen’s Symphonie concertante for Organ and Orchestra and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C minor. But whether you’re literate in organ repertoire or not, Carpenter will find a way to amaze you.