Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Storm Continues

Took my two children to see and hear "The Storm" concert at Ocean Grove (www.ogcma.org) last Wednesday. As I noted in my
previous post
, these free concerts invoke pictorial sound effects of a large storm, thrilling listeners. Curator John R. Shaw and organist Gordon Turk explained that this type of concert has a long history, dating back at least as far as the French Revolution. During that time, the church was out of favor and the organists repurposed their instruments for popular spectacle-type concerts, both to keep the instruments in use and to curry the favor of the populist leadership who would otherwise have surely cannibalized the pipes for scrap metal and other parts.

The kids loved it. Some of the presentation was just cheesy enough to be historically accurate. The wind sound effect, in particular, required a leap of imagination. ("It sounded like a blender," my daughter said later.) The rain effect sounded like rain. And if the lightning looked like an electric light being switched off and on ... well, that's just that much more 19th Century. And it is great fun to watch Turk rip into the pedal-tone clusters and wild, swooping passages that create the thundering storm imagery.

There are two more of these coming up. Each program uses different music as a vehicle to paint the storm picture. The next is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29, and the last one is the following Wednesday, Aug. 5. Both begin at 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow's will have the second half of the lecture/demonstration, presented by Shaw and Turk in tandem.


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