beige_alert: (Science)
Well, Joyce and I had a highly successful trip to Madison, Wisconsin today. Madison is roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Milwaukee. We took a tour of the Madison Symphony Orchestra's Overture Hall. It was just the two of us on the tour, and we saw the various auditoriums and backstage areas, including the big wheels and rails the organ rolls on when they move it back and forth. It is a beautiful building. We ate gyros on the rooftop seating area of a restaurant nearby. Joyce tried on drysuits at a paddle sports shop. We went to her storage locker and, to our great amazement, she found the key to the lock. She has an impressive quantity of stuff. Also, there were not just dust bunnies in there, but dust moose. It hasn't been touched in a decade. I do have photos, both from the concert hall and the piles of stuff in storage, to be posted later.

Organ

Apr. 5th, 2006 09:34 am
beige_alert: (Bike)
There was an organ recital last night at Madison, Wisconsin's Overture Concert Organ. It was a great event.

Though I'm a life-long organ fan, this was actually the first time I'd heard one in person. It's quite an instrument, in a beautiful concert hall. Resident organist Samuel Hutchison gave very interesting introductions to each piece.

It's fun to watch. That big pedal solo in Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, for example. I knew it was a pedal solo. I have the sheet music. But I tend to forget that all that action is just in the pedals. There is something oddly fascinating about the magic buttons that change the stops. All the stop control move, there is a quiet thump from deep inside the instrument, and, suddenly, a brand new sound.

The only piece I was familiar with was the Bach Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, a grand show-off piece. Everything else in the recital was just delightful as well. I had not previously heard Duruflé's Prelude and Fugue on the Name of ALAIN, and it's a really nice piece that I need to find a recording of. Guilmant's first Sonata is most impressive, as well.

As an encore, he played a piece that, alas, I don't remember the title nor composer of, but it was hilarious. A mashup combining a very familiar vaguely-nautical tune known to anyone who's seen any animated cartoon show with a boat in it mixed with bits of Bach, parts of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and a bit of the toccata from Widor's 5th organ symphony.

Madison is some 75 miles from Milwaukee, so I didn't actually get to bed until midnight, but it was certainly worth it. Today is a beautiful sunny day, so I took my bike to work and can avoid driving any more for at least a day.

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