Why do I feel I should don a black tuxedo, complete with tails? Maybe it’s because I’m feeling quite masterful when setting the instrumentation for my next conquest….the Spellbound Concerto by Miklos Rozsa. You may remember a movie from the 40’s by that name. It was a classic collaboration of David O. Selznick (producer) and Alfred Hitchcock (director) starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. A thriller, to say the least! The plot hinges around the psychosis of a murderer. Except, in true Hitchcock fashion, the guilty party turns out to be an entirely different person than the one the viewer has been led to believe throughout the film. Confused yet? Anyway, the musical score reflects this aura of danger, apprehension and mystery. My challenge is to transcribe this Academy Award Winning score to suit the Atelier organ while preserving the realism created by the composer. A bit tricky, but also a fun task.
So I set out this weekend to accomplish just that. How? Well, the music itself supplies the dissonance to make the harmonies seem a bit edgy. Funny, if one were to take the idea a little further, the result would be offensive to the ear. But this work stops just short of that point. And, just to make it even more of a challenge, a love interest develops in the plot. So part of the notation is truly warm and beautiful. Such a terrific suite to learn and to perform.
And I’ll be doing just that in Palm Springs this May at the annual Desi’s Music Center organ spectacular. It’s a three-day event where folks from all over the country convene to not only experience professional concert artists in action but also glean practical application of what they’ve heard through daytime music workshops. Part of the continued success of the festival is the hands-on aspect of the gathering where the pros like me gladly offer playing critiques and suggestions to those who aspire to advance their skills. We all stay at the same Hilton Hotel, dine together and enjoy the various planned activities. It’s always great fun as well as educational for the attendees. If you’re interested, log onto http://www.desismusiccenter.com and click on Music Extravaganza for more details. I hope to see you there this May. Come and say “hi”.
So it’s back to preparing for these exciting few days. Of course, I’ll also be featuring other less dramatic music while there. The newly-introduced Platinum model Atelier console organ from Roland Corporation provides me with instrumentation ranging from Latin to Dixieland…..and everything in between. Fortunately, I am able to store my sound registrations on a memory stick making it very convenient to “switch gears” while on stage. It’s nice to know that the music industry continues to use today’s technology in improving their products. I’m lucky to be a part of the promotion of these magnificent instruments. I feel empowered by them!
Good news! I have been confirmed as an artist at the 2011 American Theater Organ Society national convention. My role is to provide insight and demonstration of the Roland digital organ. This annual function will be held in Providence, RI. at the downtown Westin Hotel. The dates are June 30th — July 4th. For many years the volunteers and contributors of ATOS have worked tirelessly to maintain theater pipe organ installations throughout the country. The effort is huge in that many of these instruments are either vintage or have not been serviced adequately through the years. So the necessity of having a small army of dedicated technicians who spend a copious amount of time making sure the console, wiring and pipes themselves are in working order is absolutely crucial.
The chapter hosting the event is EMCATOS (Eastern Massachusetts chapter of ATOS) and the four-day convention will feature various famous theater organists performing in the general area. Reservations show some 600 people attending ready to listen to their favorite players. So you may ask what pertinence the Roland Atelier organ has in this environment. Good question…..
With the passing of time, traditional theater organs have seen their hay day being integrated into some of the most prestigious venues in the world. Their sound is utterly unique, created by thousands of vertical pipes being activated by the rely system emanating from the organ console. Acquiring the organ itself is a very costly undertaking plus maintenance issues are sometimes prohibitive. However, though rare, these complex, elaborate installations do appear in large homes. There is truly no substitution for a situation of this caliber but there now is a “second best”, more doable solution for those folks craving theater organ instrumentation. It is the Roland Atelier organ which features digitally sampled theater organ ranks. Although these registrations are only one facet of this instrument, the variety and combination of theater organ sounds make the Atelier organ a satisfying more practical replacement for the real thing.
My mission at the convention will be to present and educate the attendees on technology that makes it possible to virtually replicate voicing typical of the theater pipe organ. I’ll also be performing at their gala banquet on Sunday evening. This will be fun. I anticipate the majority of people interested in knowing more about this subject will be genuinely impressed with the realism emanating from the Roland organ.