Delayed More Than Two Years, Saint-Saëns' "Organ Symphony" Gets a Powerhouse CSO PerformanceSep 30, 2022
By Perry Tannenbaum, CVNC --
When Christopher Warren-Green took over as music director of the Charlotte Symphony in September 2010, nobody could foresee that his transition to conductor laureate a dozen years later would coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Charlotte chapter of the American Guild of Organists -- and the 55th anniversary of the mighty M.P. Möller pipe organ at the First United Methodist Church on Tryon Street. As this confluence became manifest, so did an auspicious event to celebrate it, a partnering of the Charlotte Symphony with the church in a concert showing off the magnificence of the Möller pipes in action. These dual anniversaries provided Warren-Green with his first opportunity to return to Charlotte and perform in his new role, and the glitter of a prestigious occasion was enhanced with Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs at the console.
The choice of repertoire for this special event was especially enticing, including Camille Saint-Saëns' thunderous "Organ Symphony" No. 3, George Frideric Handel's most familiar Organ Concerto, and a prodigious Bach encore from Jacobs that decisively upstaged Felix Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony No. 5. With the remnants of Hurricane Ian keeping many subscribers away from the opening night performance on Friday night, the Saturday sequel filled the hall -- down below and up in the stately balcony -- to the bursting point.
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