Thursday, 30 August 2012

Cameron Carpenter: Popular Player Of The Organ

I hesitate to imagine what words will be used to describe Cameron Carpenter’s two recitals at the Proms this weekend. But I will wager 5,000 organ pipes — or their equivalent in Carpenter’s cherished Swarovski crystal — that the word “boring” won’t be on anyone’s lips. 
At 31 Carpenter is to the stuffy world of the classical organ what Ché Guevara was to 1960s politics and Nijinsky to 20th-century ballet: a figure who seems to embody revolution and glamour in equal measures.
“Actually, more like Caravaggio, Turner or Mozart,” says Carpenter, not a man to underestimate his own impact. “They all had to deal with the sort of shit that I have to deal with from the organ community — the ridiculous idea that you can damage art by using it in a certain way. I guess that people who want to be artists need to be totally immersed in their medium and totally at odds with it at the same time.”
That Carpenter is immersed in the organ, and has been since the age of 4, is evident to anyone who has heard him play. Forget the glam-rock, crystal-studded, biceps-hugging white suits in which he performs (though he says that, for the Proms, he will be “looking out some Chanel”). Concentrate instead on the astonishing technique. Even in spangled boots his feet fly over the pedals with balletic precision, while his hands deliver impossible knots of counterpoint with what seems like insouciant ease... 

The Times.
The writer, Richard Morrison, seems rather excited by this doubtlessly talented young man.

Update: Radio 4's usually excellent obituary programme, Last Word, ran one on Carlo Curley; "Flamboyant organist... he never married..." etc etc.
Flamboyant bachelors make great players of the organ - who knew?


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  2. Classical organ world is not stuffy. Cameron Carpenter just does not understand it and does not understand Bach. My review of PROM66 is here

  3. Carpenter is a showy showman, he showiest of showy showmen. But he is most assuredly not an organist.