Declared by The Economist as
He is the only organist to have won a Grammy Award (in 2011 for Oliver Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sacrement”). Among his feats, Jacobs made musical history at age 23 when he played Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. He recently reached the milestone of having performed in each of the 50
For this article, Paul Jacob responded to emailed questions related to Friday’s concert.
Q. As you travel and perform on various organs, do you take notes on their various traits? In case you return. Just to have. Would these just be mental notes?
A. Each organ is custom built. Organ builders carefully consider the architectural and acoustical properties of a given space. There are no two organs exactly alike; in fact, they often differ drastically from one to the next. So we organists must be very flexible in addressing such an eclectic array or organs in our work.
Q. You’ve played the organ at
A. From my previous visit to the
Q. Does the fact that you’ve played an instrument and know its traits, upon return visits, what you want to perform on it to demonstrate its strengths? Or, or or also, what dictates what you will play on a certain organ on a certain date at whatever stage in your career or current output?
A. As a contemporary organist, I delight in performing centuries of music. Even music that is hundreds of years old can still relate to present day audiences, alongside what composers are writing now for the instrument. My objective is to offer the audience a sampling of the rich repository of great organ music throughout the ages.
Johann Sebastian Bach: “Prelude and Fugue in D Major, BWV 532”
Robert Schumann: “Canon in A-flat Major, Op. 56, No. 4”
John Stanley: “Voluntary in D Minor, Op. 5, No. 8”
Nadia Boulanger: “Prelude in F”
Edward Elgar: “Pomp and Circumstance March, Op. 39, No. 1”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Andante in F, K. 616”
Alexandre Guilmant: “Sonata in D Minor, Op. 42”
I. Introduction et Allegro
Q. Are you conscious of the space – the hall, the location, the setting – in which the organ is featured and how the space adds, detracts or simply suits the organ and what it can produce aurally?
A. Of course, we organists need to play the room as much as the instrument itself. Being sensitive to how the organ responses to a space intimately informs the very personal art of registration – that is, carefully selecting the various combinations of stops on a given instrument. Some rooms, usually with some reverberation, tend to be more conducive to organ music. Rooms are the resonators for various organs and are crucial for their success. The
Q. As you climb aboard an organ, does your acclamation to it arrive swiftly or does it take a degree of fussing and finessing to figure stuff out to get your optimum from it?
A. I’ll need to reacquaint myself with the location of the organ’s gadgetry, but this shouldn’t take long; perhaps a few hours for the
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