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Goodbye piano…

Now That's What I Call Graphic Design

…Hello organ. I’ve always hated organ music, mainly because it tends to accompany a coffin. As I sweltered in my voluminous academic gown at the recent student graduation ceremony, I braced myself for the organ solo after having had my eardrums pummelled by the organist’s 120 dB eclectic practice session beforehand.

As the hall was hushed for the kick-off, I spotted Organ solo: Last movement 3rd Symphony, Camille Saint-Saens in the order of ceremony leaflet and inwardly groaned.  The name Saint-Saens is forever linked with having Danse Macabre rammed down my throat at interminably dull school music lessons.

The first twiddly-diddly organ bit struck up relatively quietly, as the academic procession swayed their way up the aisle, groaning under the weight of ermine hoods and giant velvet Ecky-Thump hats. As the organist began an assault on a worryingly steep crescendo, I prayed for release and consoled myself with the thought of the post-ceremony champagne and strawberries. Four majestic chords later, however, I had undergone a complete conversion. The Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony is actually the theme from Babe! Yes, you heard me correctly, Babe the pig movie. Saint-Saens ripped off Babe! I always knew he was a wrong ‘un…er, no, wait a minute… other way round. Great! I’d always felt guilty liking the tune before, but since it’s actually classical, it’s now alright to like it, despite it being by Saint-Saens.

At a loose end yesterday, I downloaded the Saint-Babe sheet music and pressed the ‘Organ’ button on my vintage Clavinova for the first time in fifteen years. Blimey, that’s loud, I thought and rushed to check that Des in the basement’s taxi wasn’t parked outside, or I’d be in big trouble for waking him up when he’s on night shift. Then I remembered an organ-related clip from The Buteman in a previous post, and plugged the headphones in to the Clavinova for the benefit of everyone else in the building.

Through the headphones, the organ is spectacularly loud, unlike the piano, and I spent a fabulous afternoon playing the Babe Theme and all my secret naff stuff from 1980, including the embarrassing ‘Sky’ volumes 1&2. Magic. A couple of bits of Bach at the end brought some decorum to the proceedings, but also brought the realisation that the piano combined with a bit of hearing loss is much more forgiving to my dodgy playing than the organ.

Nevertheless, I can now appreciate where the man in The Buteman was coming from…


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