When the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ at Trinity Church was damaged by dust and debris from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the church dismantled the instrument and planned to either restore or replace it. For the short term, the church installed a “virtual pipe organ” that uses digital samples of real pipe organ timbres, played through a computerized audio system and nearly 100 speakers hidden behind dummy pipes.
To organ purists who have had epochal debates about whether organs with electronic keyboards can equal the more time-honored pneumatic action, and to organ agnostics who simply have a soft spot for traditional instruments in historic settings, the notion of replacing Trinity’s Aeolian-Skinner with a “virtual” instrument was a horrifying sign of the times.
But the digital organ, built by Marshall & Ogletree, has had a thorough workout since it was installed in 2003, and its performance has persuaded the church’s music office, as well as a good number of visiting organists, that it is worthy of its setting. Trinity has now decided to make the Marshall & Ogletree its permanent organ, and to commission a second for St. Paul’s Chapel. On Tuesday, the church announced that it would sell off the parts of the lamented Aeolian-Skinner.
Here's a whole section about this organ at the Trinity Wall Street website. This year the American Guild of Organists New York Chapter was meeting at the same time as Cameron Carpenter's concert (see yesterday's post), and AGO members filled the pews for his recital. The archives from last year are still available, though, and here's Cameron Carpenter's recital from last year. What a mad boy he is!
But I really wanted to provide this link to the wonderful Brasil Guitar Duo who played for the Concerts At One series. Here's the Duo's own website, and here's something about them. (More videos can be found in the archive pages as well.)
And don't forget: you can listen to James Alison speak, and Archbishop Tutu, too. I haven't yet, but they're on the list.
I know you're thinking, "Doesn't she talk about anything but Trinity, Trinity, Trinity and music, music, music?" Well, no: not really....