You know what this CD lacks?
Culture, that’s what.
In a world (and a website) that is dominated by flimflam and frippery, not to mention a little sleaze, it is sometimes a blessed relief to come across a little culture. And I’m not talking yogurt here (although some may say that I usually talk yogurt, but that’s another thing).
So, my contribution to this musical compilation will be Charles-Marie Widor’s Toccata from Symphonie No.5.
And I’m not just being grandiloquent here. There are a couple of reasons for choosing this particular piece of music. For a start, there’s nothing better than something dramatic played on a large organ (stop it!), particularly when that organ is in an impressive building, such as an imposing church or cathedral. I went to a wonderful wedding of two fabulous friends in the chapel of Lancing College on Saturday, and it was played there. In October, it will be played again at my own wedding with Hels – we think it lends a certain something to the occasion.
But the first time I heard this piece being "played live", if you will, was in the Sé cathedral in Lisbon. The acoustics of that particular building are splendid, and the arches and vaulted ceilings were filled with the tremendous sound, such that one was quite awestruck. What was even more impressive, though, was to turn a corner and catch sight of the organist – a young girl of around 12 years of age and of tiny frame, completely dwarfed by the musical instrument that she was playing, her feet barely reaching the pedals, her full stretch only just enough to reach the furthest stops. The organ strikes me as an incredibly complicated instrument to play, and to see it played so well by someone so young, when my musical talent extends to knowing which way up to insert CDs, was quite humbling.
Download. Turn up the volume. Sit back. Enjoy. Be impressed.