Editorial : Can the organ drive the organist to madness ?

22nd international Festival Toulouse les Orgues

« Yes, but passion is so much better than logic ! »

Some folks dig nothing but jazz, others are nuts about opera and some are mad about music-hall. Some are crazy about the minuet, while others get in a whirl over samba. And then there are organists. Does the organ drive them mad ? According to the popular imagination, from Captain Nemo to Dracula, the answer seems to be yes !
The instrument’s excessive proportions, the solitude of the player, the dark, Gothic galleries, the diabolical machinery and the inhuman virtuosity required for the repertoire, everything about it could easily drive the organist into either megalomania or paranoia !
But there is always a certain madness behind genius and, in art, passion is so much better than logic. Toulouse les Orgues 2017 will therefore be offering poor afflicted music lovers and organ addicts a cure for their sickness with some fine variations on folly.

There will be moments of baroque insanity such as the Mad Songs and the Devil’s Viola, and experiments in sound such as the Mobile Cathedral and the Surprise Concert. To help you calm down a little, there will be moments of quasi-hypnosis like The World Upside Down.
We will also be celebrating the return to musical service of the great Cavaillé-Coll organ of Saint-Sernin after an overhaul involving months of cleaning, pipe by pipe! The instrument will "speak" in all its splendour at several special moments, from the opening concert with Michel Bouvard through to a recital by the great conductor and organist Wayne Marshall.

The Festival programme, a declaration of unreasonable love for the instrument, begins with the public performances to find the winners of the 12th International Xavier Darasse Competition, which attracts keen young organists from around the world. And it will close with a Night of Folly, in which organists who don’t take themselves too seriously will dare to show just how far their passion can take them.

Art is certainly folly. And we are eager to share it all with you.

Yves Rechsteiner,
Artistic Toulouse les Orgues international Festival
Copyright photo ©Matthieu Sartre