Adieu le Roi des Instruments

After far too many years of frustration, primarily regarding access, I’ve come to realise that becoming an organist was a dreadful mistake, and therefore I am calling it quits.  Oh, I’ll do the occasional substitute job, if and when another comes along (I’m not holding my breath); and I may —may — even renew my AGO membership next year (although, $90+ dollars a year for what is essentially a magazine subscription seems a bit excessive), for all intents and purposes I’m done with the organ.  Why should I waste my time practising manual parts on the piano when I don’t have access to a full organ?  It’s like a violin and piano duo practising the Prokofiev Sonata #1 in f, Op. 80 without the piano.  It’s okay up to a point, but eventually you need to put it all together.  Otherwise, why bother?

You see, notwithstanding the considerable number of bad personal decisions I’ve made, I’ve had really dismal luck with finding an organ on which I could practise for any extended period of time.  The one shining light was when I was part of the late Curtis Organ Restoration Society at the University of Pennsylvania, on which had the opportunity to practise on one of the largest organs in the country.  It was there that I realised I really could play again.  But, of course, like everything else that had anything to do with the organ and me, that also turned out to be fleeting when Irvine Auditorium became part of the Perelman Centre and the hall was shut off to the public and CORS (who had kept that organ in good working order for years as a volunteer group).  Moreover, God forbid that any of my “colleagues” or their church hierarchies, be willing to let me practise on their organs.  So, now I’m now in Boston where my prospects are even dimmer than in Philadelphia.  As to buying an instrument, as much as I would love to, I have neither the money nor the space.

So, with that in mind, it certainly doesn’t make much sense for me to continue my essay on my thoughts regarding performance of the Franck Choral #3 in a if I can’t ultimately demonstrate it, or any other piece for that matter.  Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense for me to make promises or commitments to performances that I can’t keep beyond the possible fill-in at a church.  Sorry Bill, but it doesn’t look good.

I just have to start focussing my attention on things that I actually stand a chance of accomplishing; and the organ, barring any last minute miracles, right now isn’t part of those plans.

This is a decision I should have made many years ago; and it hurts.  It hurts a lot.  First, I’ve wasted the majority of my years in a futile attempt to realise a dream that would never happen. Secondly, and more painfully, I love the organ; there really is no other instrument that would rather play.  However, the organ, and most definitely the organ community, certainly doesn’t not reciprocate those feelings.

Maybe I can learn to actually like the piano.  I suppose stranger things have happened.


2 thoughts on “Adieu le Roi des Instruments

  1. Should you ever decide to come back to the NJ area, I’m sure I could find you a suitable pipe organ to practice on. As a “formerly retired-but-called-back-to-the-same-church” organist, and past dean of a small (~40 largely part-time-organists member) AGO chapter, I can assure you that you would be more than welcome!


  2. I love Franck’s Chorale in a and I was delighted to find such useful information on how to bring it to life through your enormously helpful and insightful comments. Coming to the end of Part III, I was realy looking forward to hearing what you would say about the intepretation of the remaining part of this most beautiful music only to find you saying that you are not minded to continue. I would urge you to change your mind as your musicianship in reflecting on this piece of music has enabled me to play it so much better and I have no one to ask for this advice and must rely solely on my own inner feelings of what the music is trying to convey. I thank you though for what you have taught me so far.


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