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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “If You Can’t Say Something Nice?”

August 12, 2008

Dear Michael,

I am aghast that you have decided to promote the appalling, attention-hungry Carpenter with a whole program dedicated to his flailings. He has done all he can to hurt the organ and is all flash and no music. Shame On Pipedreams!




Thanks for writing. I wish I had a duck’s back, in which case I’d not have bothered to respond to your message. I also wish that I could find a long list of previous communications from you congratulating PIPEDREAMS for promoting all the other worthy performers whose music we have fostered and shared during the past 25 years...but I find nothing on file from you.
Many organists before Cameron Carpenter (including the fine gentlemen who was featured in a recent program of ‘symphonic’ repertoire) could be accused of being attention-hungry (indeed, deep down, I think all organists are), so I do not think his situation to be unique or particularly disturbing. :-)
Too bad that your aghast-ness seems misplaced today. Yes, sometimes what young Mr. Carpenter does can leave one a bit overwhelmed, but I do encourage you to listen to the show. Cameron plays the pipe organ, too, and often very well.
As one famous tonal director of a major organ company responded, after he and I had agreed that many of my criticisms of his company’s product were well-founded: “Some people buy our organs because they actually like the way they sound.” And the same holds true for organists...they come in many styles and flavors. There’s no accounting for particular ‘tastes’ but, fortunately, the organ (this marvelous, multi-faceted instrument) can handle (and, in the end, satisfy) them all!





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