Last Sunday afternoon I attended another organ concert presented by the Ypsilanti Pipe Organ Festival.
The concert was at the First Presbyterian Church and featured French organist Daniel Roth. He is the titular (head) organist at St. Sulpice in Paris, France. The concert was free and the church was full!
I have watched many Daniel Roth videos on YouTube. Hearing him play live was awesome. He is an exceptional organist. The program contained music of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor, Durufle, and ended with a piece composed by Daniel Roth. Daniel addressed the audience in between pieces.
During intermission I met Ann who was seated next to me. She is also an organist and she gave me encouragement to keep practicing after hearing my background!
Improvisation on a submitted theme
The concert ended with an improvisation. Upon arrival, along with the program each person was given a slip of paper where they could write in a hymn to be used for the improvisations or write in their own tune (there were many organists in the audience). If submitting a hymn it needed to be from the hymnal in the pew.
This was my favorite part of the concert. Daniel used the tune from 2 hymns in the improvisation. This is the first time I have seen 2 themes used. My expectations were high as Daniel won a competition for improvisation in 1971. I didn’t catch the name of the hymn tunes that were used but I have heard them before. The improvisation was absolutely amazing. The hymn tunes could be heard in many variations. There is a technique to improvisation. I do not know what it is to be able to explain.
The video play is of Daniel playing the Allegro movement of Widor’s sixth symphony. (I was not able to find a video of any of him playing any pieces from the concert).