Talk about a first world problem.
I'm having some conflicting thoughts about the return of our organ console sometime next week. It has been nice to spend time with our piano, and only the piano. It feels a bit relaxing not to feel like one needs to simultaneously be a proficient organist and pianist, to take on the massive repertoire for both instruments at once, and to compose, improvise, and continually be learning new music for both instruments. Not to mention that the poor piano has suffered so much neglect lately at the hands of this so-called pianist that it was probably starting to wonder if I even cared anymore. So I've been enjoying the feeling of sitting at the piano every day, both because I get to reconnect with my musical instrument "roots" and also because it feels like a bit of a vacation.
Not that you'd notice that, I realize. There is the fact that the current state of the pianonoise sound archive is such that there are several more organ recordings than those for the piano, and the fact that I've blogged about nothing but the organ all summer. But this month I've made several piano recordings which you won't get to hear until I start rolling them out in October, and I promise to spend most of my forthcoming blogs, once the year gets rolling at the end of September, on the piano.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I was so excited by playing the organ I wondered what I had even seen in that instrument a few feet away with the single keyboard and only one type of sound. But then, I have the privilege of being able to wax hot and cold over both instruments. I get paid to play both of them, and, at the same time, both seem like a hobby.
It's just now that, making a luxury out of a necessity, I'm enjoying the sound, and the ease of operating, the piano. Recently I discovered a few 20th century pieces to tickle my congregation with. The voices of Rachmaninoff, Poulenc, Villa-Lobos and Leo Ornstein have echoed through the church. I think there was a little Marteau in there, too.
Several people in my congregation prefer the piano, and have told me so. They usually have the manners to add, "but I like it when you play the organ, too." It does seem, somehow, that the organ is a little harder for most folks to find friendly.
And yet one can find organ enthusiasts. They are frequently among the most enthusiastic enthusiasts anywhere. They have to be. It's an uphill climb. But I always liked mountain climbing (metaphorically speaking, anyway).
There is at least one fellow who much prefers the organ. He's been waiting patiently all summer. Next week we'll both get a dose of the sound that only comes when a fellow named Bach writes a piece for an instrument called the pipe organ. The rest of you poor slobs just don't know what you are missing!
This week we'll have one more crack at the piano, and some good old hymn tunes from our Methodist, piano-loving forebears. Then, next week, suddenly, in a twinkling, the majestic sound of the king of instruments returns.
It's really a wondrous machine.