Before breakfast I filled my logbook and wrote in my diary while listening to my daily mix on Spotify. Then I went to the church to tune reeds but found pedal tenor Bb stuck after Pierre Zevort’s rehearsal yesterday which needed fixing. Had a hard time of finding out where the problem is because the 2nd manual tenor Bb key was also jammed. I regulated some screws under the wind chest but this only complicated things. Finally looked at the pedal coupler mechanics and found one metal rod mixed with coupler element. It needed just a touch of a finger to fix. It happened several times before, usually when organists play music too dramatically for too long. Recorded a video fixing this coupler.
Then was the time to tune some reeds. Luckily Diana came to press the keys and stayed as long as I needed despite that she wanted to go to the book fair. I tuned Trompete 8’ on the 1st manual, Krummhorn 8’ on the 3rd manual, pedal Posaune 16’ and Trompete 8’. In comparison to fixing that pedal Bb, tuning went rather smoothly. Then improvised a little with reeds to check the tuning.
At home watched Pacific Rim while Ausra was gone to her parents. Soon I joined her too because they had some guests and we ate dinner. But I didn’t stay there for long because I had to go to church to practice with Pierre registration changes. It wasn’t very difficult for me because most of his pieces were registered loudly. He used most of the couplers which not only made his playing very difficult but also complicated things mechanically. He did it despite me advising him not to use them too much.
Then came the time for his recital. Even though the weather was really awful, with wind and heavy rain, I was pleased to see a good crowd of listeners in attendance. The program was promising it to be very long (90 minutes) but luckily Pierre agreed to cut Messiaen’s Transport de Joye from the program which shortened the recital to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Out of all the pieces, only 1 was relatively soft - Meditation by Louis Verne and Veni Creator by Maurice Durufle had a few soft variations.
He opened with Te Deum and Victime Pascali Laudes by Charles Tournemire which of course both are very loud pieces, transcribed from his improvisations into organ scores. Then came Prelude and Fugue on the name of Alain and variations on Veni Creator (without a prelude or Adagio) by Maurice Durufle. They both ended loudly but at least had some dynamic contrasts along the way. Luckily I was announcing the program and talking before each piece so that the audience could rest their ears a bit. Before Placare Christe Servulis by Marcel Dupre I announced that now will come a softer piece but I was wrong. Loud again. Only afterward was a quieter Vierne’s meditation which was followed by Vierne’s transcription of Prelude in C# Minor by Rachmaninoff which for the most part also was registered rather loudly. To end his recital Pierre chose 2 improvisations by Pierre Cochereau - Venez Divin Messie and Adeste Fideles. Both were Sortie type pieces with Tutti registrations. Luckily, I saw only a couple of people leave before the end.
I was praying to the spirits of pedals couplers that they would hold. They didn’t. I had to disengage pedal couplers a couple of times to fix the ciphers and add Posaune 16’ instead. I actually didn’t understand why he almost didn’t use native pedal reeds throughout the recital and gave preference to couplers. Luckily I was there to adjust the registration however I saw fit. For the sake of truth I have to admit all of these pieces either sound very rarely in Lithuania or aren’t played at all and I had a pleasure of paying attention to how these composers end their pieces so that I could steal some of their ideas in my improvisations.
After the recital Pierre expressed a wish to return here to play again to which I replied that with the change of university’s cultural preferences and insistence on paper bureaucracy more than on common sense I have my doubts that guest recitals can be sustainably continued in the future. For example, earlier my guests would stay at the university guest house and the cultural center would pay for their stay but now I had to pay for Pierre out of my pocket... Emotionally Pierre’s visit costed me a lot.
To finish the day Ausra and I watched The Truman Show which gave me many things to think about our reality we live in.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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