HE ORGAN I currently play is a Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ, and it allows me to “cheat” on playing pedals. I justify my cheating because the pedal device (which allows it actually function) comes from a real pipe organ that existed once upon a time. With my fingers, I have no problems when it comes to playing very fast—e.g. here’s an excerpt from a recording I made while in tenth grade (playing the piano). So, I have no issue with playing fast, but I find using my feet on the organ pedals impossible!
Virgil Fox was a student of Marcel Dupré (d. 1971). Look how quickly he can move his feet:
I’m jealous of anyone who can play the organ pedals so fast! I could never play pedals that quickly—even were I to practice my entire life, it wouldn’t matter. An organist also must have strong stomach muscles.
My favorite organist is a very great musician—pianist, organist, harpsichordist, musicologist, composer—whose name is Daniel Chorzempa. He is still alive, and once I received an email from him. He currently lives in Italy. I have tried to get him to consider doing an interview with CCW, but his response was: “A possibility, but I fear I live in Italy, some distance from you…” I absolutely love his recording (circa 1970s or 1980s) of my absolute favorite organ piece:
* Mp3 Download • Daniel Chorzempa (Bach’s Passacaglia & Fugue)
—This recording is available on on YouTube.
I encourage everyone to listen to that recording at least once a day!
Some photographs of Daniel Chorzempa:
Daniel Chorzempa began piano studies at the age of four, violin at seven, organ at twelve, followed by harpsichord and fortepiano as well. At the age of seventeen he became instructor of music at the University of Minnesota (USA), where he also studied architecture and took a Ph.D. in musicology and Renaissance studies. He subsequently took diplomas in conducting, piano and composition as a member of the Studio for Electronic Music of the Musikhochschule of Cologne. His compositions have been performed throughout Europe and several have been the subjects of studies in books and journals. For his organ playing he was awarded the Bach Prize of Leipzig. His performances as keyboard soloist on all five keyboard instruments (piano, clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ) as well as his conducting engagements have been acclaimed internationally and his recordings have been awarded international prizes. He has assisted at opera productions primarily in Germany and for the Salzburg Festival and began his operatic conducting career for the Wiesbaden Festival. He occasionally holds seminars on topics which range from the Middle Ages to contemporary music and his architectural activities continue. He has recently been re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Neue Bach Gesellschaft, Leipzig (“New Bach Society”).