Solo recitals

At the organ of S:t Eustache Cathedral, Paris
Photo: Anders Neglin

My recitals may be from a traditional repertoire, or they may be transcriptions or arrangements, or improvisations. They might be Swedish folk music, or they might be Bach. It all depends on the organ.

Folk music has given me another way of approaching Bach's music: more rhythmical freedom within the tempo, more ornamentation - according to the style of that time -and more of a feeling of dance. I have found folk music to be the key to Bach´s heart. The fact that much of Swedish folk music has its roots in the Baroque era makes all this very logical.

When I play Swedish folk music on solo organ I never write down the arrangements. I keep the music in mind and add improvisations, as is commonly done in the folk music tradition. I use clearly separated tonal colours, but often very few stops, including some elements of the French Baroque tradition for organ.

One of my favourite arrangements is the one of the Bolero by Ravel, with, at the end, the full chords both of the melody itself, and the repeated triple notes, which become very efficient on Chamade trumpets. Another favourite is my arranged Suite from the show "Riverdance".

In my improvisations, which of course still are strongly influenced by the French tradition, one can nowadays also note some influences from symphonic rock and from folk music.

Gunnar Idenstam

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