Kent Tritle at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
The New York Times, November 25, 2011
Much as I genuinely enjoy the pipe organ and aspire to expertise regarding its mechanics and repertoire, I freely confess that, no, I did not pick out and identify unaided the specific registration Kent Tritle used as a lead voice in Bach's "An Wasserflüssen Babylon" (BWV 653). It was a fantastic sound that I'd never heard before, and I needed to know what it was… so I asked Tritle's page-turner after the concert. The Vox Baryton stop, I was told, was an uncommon registration, and specific to Skinner instruments like the one at St. John the Divine.
Every time I'm at St. John the Divine I imagine what it might have been like to hear Diamanda Galás perform her Plague Mass there in 1990. The New York Times does not seem to have had a reviewer at that event — or if one was there, Galás does not have that review in her online archive. Still, it was fascinating to read what some of my colleagues had to say about her work. Allan Kozinn reviewed an earlier version of the Plague Mass at Alice Tully Hall in 1989 and previewed the St. John the Divine performance; Bernard Holland covered a subsequent performance at the Kitchen. This rare bit of video footage comes from the latter engagement.