Jon Gillock at the Church of the Ascension, March 5, 2013
The New York Times, March 7, 2013
A gripping account of Messiaen's awe-inspiring Méditations sur la Mystère de la Sainte Trinité, played by a Messiaen expert on an instrument made to order as part of an ongoing project to record Messiaen's complete organ works on that instrument, the Manton Memorial Organ. Since no photograph accompanied this review, I've posted a photograph of Jon Gillock playing at the Church of the Ascension taken from Vivien Schweitzer's review of the organ's inaugural concert, on May 5, 2011.
I'll add, somewhat sheepishly, that this review initially disappointed me on reflection; I think I might have included too much background and atmosphere at the cost of musical and performative considerations. But from out of the blue came a welcome email from a good friend, who said that this passage in my review…
In thunderous climaxes the sanctuary shook. Eerie intimations hung tremulous in the air. And Messiaen’s bountiful birds — joyful reminders, to him at least, of God’s omnipresent hand in the mundane — warbled high and clear.
…took her right back to her own earlier experience of hearing Gillock play Messiaen on the Manton instrument. That made me feel better – yet I wonder how much of her response was predicated on being able to fill in details I omitted.
Writing remains a continual challenge.