After Cameron Carpenter’s performance, the organ should no longer be considered strictly an instrument used in churches, but a beautiful instrument that everyone should experience listening to in this manner at least once in their lives, with speakers blasting walls of sound at the audience. Carpenter played at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Saturday, Jan. 28 to a crowd so large that a screen was used so that people in the back rows could see both him and his one of a kind International Touring Organ.
Carpenter played a total of nine pieces, as well as a few sections of improvisation. Even though many of the pieces he played were not generally known, he still blew the audience away with his instrumental proficiency. So much so that they gave him a standing ovation and he came back to perform an encore before receiving another standing ovation.
Carpenter played with his entire body, mind and soul throughout his performance. He used not only his hands to play the organ’s keyboard, but also used his feet on the pedal board. In between pieces, Carpenter would stand up and speak to the audience about the history of the organ and of the pieces he would play. This knowledge helped to increase the audience’s appreciation of his playing and of the pieces themselves. Just by looking at the way he played, the audience could tell that he loved what he was doing and enjoyed every moment he spent on that bench. Sophomore Ricci Gold said, “I thought Cameron Carpenter’s performance was amazing, because his touring organ allows more people to experience organ music and classical music in a way they might not normally be able to.“
The only drawback to his performance was that Carpenter had his back to the audience the entire time. He could have improved his performance by at least turning the organ on an angle so that the audience could see more of him. With his back to the audience, only the people on the front rows could see anything he was doing without looking at the projection.
Carpenter’s performance was an extraordinary experience that should be seen by as many people as possible. Even though potential listeners might be turned off by the idea of an organist playing for two hours, Carpenter subverts this idea in the first piece he plays. People sitting down were probably expecting somewhat bland, traditional organ music. Instead they were treated to an incredible wall of sound created by the large number of speakers surrounding the stage at every angle, an array of pieces from different periods such as the Baroque, Classical and more Modern eras, and Carpenter’s sensational playing. Carpenter took center stage and was surrounded by over half a dozen enormous speakers. Cameron Carpenter brings new life to an instrument that has been brushed aside as a relic of the past.