The usual scheme of concert programming is to schedule one concerto on a single program. But for the opening of the Boston 2014 American Guild of Organists, we heard FIVE organ concertos in one sitting, and all FIVE played stunningly by James David Christie with the Boston Landmark Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, conductor. The works were: Première Symphonie pour orgue et orchestra, op. 42 by Felix-Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911), Thème, variations et final by Jean Langlais (1907-1992), Concerto No 2 for Organ and Orchestra by Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006), Prelude and Allego by Walter Piston (1894-1976) and Toccata Festiva, op. 36 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981). Can you imagine practicing for FIVE concertos at one time! And each one was more stunning than the previous! James David Christie used every combination of stop imaginable to bring out every conceivable tone color on the organ. What was also very special was that the widow of Jean Langlais had flown in from Paris to hear the concert, and was recognized appropriately.
What was mind boggling to me, though, in addition to the fantastic program, was looking around Symphony Hall and realizing that all these people (or most of them, anyway) were organists! And the best part of AGO conventions is meeting up with so many friends, it’s like Old Home Week! We met up with Barbara Adler (left) on the street before the convention even began.
Then we also ran into Mark Mummert from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston. That’s the church where former LCH parishioners Mike and Vicki Gorman attend.
Prior to the concert, we had dinner at one of our “Must-Do’s”: Legal Sea Foods where I had a crab salad and Carl had a Boston crab cake. Super yum!
And we were able to sit next to former Honolulu resident, John Graham, and his wife Sharon Kleckner (she’s the sub dean of their AGO chapter). As you may recall, John Graham stayed with us when he came back to Honolulu for John McCreary’s funeral.
Not to mention all the new friends we’ve met on just the first day1