Over the years, during the course of many International Summer Organ Festivals in Balboa Park, I’ve been fortunate to hear concerts by some of the greatest organists in the world.
But this evening’s concert was extraordinary.
I’m at a loss for words to describe how much I was moved by the masterful, absolutely astonishing performance by Gunnar Idenstam.
Gunner Idenstam, from Sweden, has distinguished himself by winning some of the highest prizes and honors in the organ world. In 1984 he won the very prestigious international competition in improvisation, the Grand Prix de Chartres.
His concert tonight, to my ear, was perfect. He made the Spreckels Organ sound like a sparkling heart.
From his fingertips, through the pipes, came waves and droplets and streams of emotion from the deepest wells. The organ’s voice was complex, subtle, dancing, regal, triumphant, exuberant, sometimes manic, and it soared and soared, and stirred, and soared again, lifting me to a place of pure, exalted emotion.
I don’t know how to describe it.
Parts of his composition Metal Angel were so exultant I almost felt myself flying.
Listening with my eyes closed, I could feel my spirit whirling forward through an epic story. With victory in reach.