CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist

sean-martinfield-2-2.jpg
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Blend together Frederic Chopin and Rudolf Nureyev in their youthful prime and you get organist Cameron Carpenter. The glamorous bearing befits his stunning and copious virtuosity at the organ. Mr. Carpenter is at once the electrifying Primo Divo of panache and presentation who is in perfect harmony with the Master Musician – the keyboard artist extraordinaire, with fancy feet ala Fred Astaire. His recent CD/DVD combo from Telarc, REVOLUTIONARY, glistens with flawless musicianship, unending bravado, and teasing eroticism. The album is essentially a bold and grand introduction to the Marshall & Ogletree Virtual Pipe Organ. Recorded in the transcendent loftiness of New York’s Trinity Church – right at the crossroad of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange – the sounds of this revolutionary instrument are magnificently realized, and its technology a mind-blowing experience from bass pedal to highest trumpet. Mr. Carpenter’s classical selections include Bach, Chopin, Demessieux, Dupré, and Liszt. The fiery variations by Horowitz on Bizet’s CARMEN and the wistful air of Duke Ellington’s SOLITUDE provide Carpenter with sweet opportunities to seduce and fascinate. Each selection compels communion with the artist and a surrendering to the complexities of the music and the instrument. As a total concert, the program of REVOLUTIONARY invites intimacy and awe. The album is enhanced by the World Premier recordings of the “Evolutionary” version of Bach’s TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D minor, and Carpenter’s own compositions – LOVE SONG, No. 1 and HOMAGE TO KLAUS KINSKI. Together the compositions provide a musical triptych, a window into the heart of this extraordinary artist. Cameron Carpenter is the definition of SuperStar. To know him is to love him.

cameron-carpenter-1-2.jpg
CAMERON CARPENTER — JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH — KLAUS KINSKI

The accompanying DVD shows the recorded performance of three tracks from the CD. Track 1 provides the controlling theme of the album. Chopin’s ÉTUDE Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor was never intended for the organ. Known as “The Revolutionary Étude”, the piece was dedicated to his friend, composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt, and written during the period of Poland’s failed uprising against Russia (1831). Chopin is filled with nationalistic rage and, because of his frail health, the inability to have better served the cause of freedom. Watch Carpenter display the fiery dexterity of a Franz Liszt – but with feet as well as hands. In the opening passages, Chopin challenges the left hand of the pianist with rapid and relentless descending minor scales. In this arrangement adapted for organ by Cameron Carpenter, the duties of the left hand are transferred to the feet. In soft white shoes with Flamenco-type heels, Mr. Carpenter dances through this blur of 16th-notes with finesse and ease, his hands free to attack the advancing parallel themes thrown onto the various ranks. Carpenter’s vitality and well-chiseled body present a poetically-charged and ideaized image of the do-or-die revolutionary.

cameron-carpenter-2-2.jpg
CAMERON CARPENTER – at the Marshall & Ogletree Virtual Pipe Organ

Mr & Mrs Smith

For those who believe there’s nothing new to be probed or realized in Bach’s TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D-minor will be bewitched, bothered and bewildered by Carpenter’s “Evolutionary” arrangement. In the CD liner notes the organist says, “I’m simply seeking to give this warhorse, which the world knows not from the original organ version but from more widely heard instrumental and orchestral arrangements, a new life on the organ. To do so I’ve freely borrowed aspects of many non-organ versions, which makes it a remix – except that it was revised in my brain, rather than in an audio mixer.”

The third clip is Mr. Carpenter’s organ arrangement of pianist Vladimir Horowitz’s VARIATIONS ON A THEME from Bizet’s CARMEN. It is pure Théâtre a la Français, a delicious and flagrant exhibition of richly endowed talent and effervescent production values.

cameron-carpenter-3-2.jpg
CD, CAMERON CARPENTER – REVOLUTIONARY

Click here to order on-line: CAMERON CARPENTER: REVOLUTIONARY

Visit Seán on YouTube:
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield
CA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES – A Preview Look with Seán Martinfield

See related articles and interviews:
AFGHANISTAN – HIDDEN TREASURES FROM THE NATIONAL MUSEUM, KABUL, Now at the Asian Art Museum
GRAND HOTEL – MGM’s 1932 Classic, Thursday at the Legion of Honor’s Berliner Film Fest
THE ELIXIR OF LOVE – It’s
THE STATE MUSEUMS OF BERLIN AND THE LEGACY OF JAMES SIMON
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Lon Chaney Silences SF Symphony For Halloween Night, Friday at 8:00
CARNEGIE HALL OPENING NIGHT – Tonight on PBS’ GREAT PERFORMANCES
SAMUEL RAMEY IS BORIS GODUNOV – Now at San Francisco Opera through November 15th
CD – BRAHMS: Ein Deutsches Requiem
BORIS GODUNOV – Opens tonight at the War Memorial Opera House
IDOMENEO – Star Treatment For Mozart Opera
CD – DAS LIED VON DER ERDE: Superb Live Recording by Stuart Skelton and Thomas Hampson
WARHOL’S JEWS – Series of ten original paintings on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW – Ray of Light Theatre Begins New Season October 17th
JOSHUA BELL – At Davies Hall, October 23rd – 25th
EMANUEL AX – Renowned Pianist Appears with San Francisco Symphony October 9th – 11th
A BRONX TALE – At the Golden Gate Theatre through October 19th
DIE TOTE STADT – A BAD HAIR DAY IN THE DEAD CITY
UNDER THE DOME – Fabulous 100th Anniversary Party at Westfield San Francisco Centre
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES – Opens this weekend in Golden Gate Park
DALE CHIHULY – Lighting-Up At The de Young
BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER – New Opera Stands Alone
CORKY’S HOT ICE – Latest Bling In Gay Cinema
THE WOMEN – NOT WHO YOU ARE EXPECTING
SPRING AWAKENING – A Breath Of Fresh Air, Now At The Curran
SIMON BOCCANEGRA – WASHES ASHORE FOR OPENING NIGHT AT SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – More Lucas-Cloned Crap
VIOLINIST JASSEN TODOROV – New Director of SF State University School of Music and Dance
TOM ORR – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
VIOLINIST JASSEN
AT THE LEGION OF HONOR – The State Museums Of Berlin And The Legacy Of James Simon
OPENING NIGHT, September 5th – San Francisco Opera’s 86th Season
NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTRE – The Season Begins
THE MIKADO – Opens 56th Season of The Lamplighters Music Theatre
FESTIVAL OPERA’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – Opens Saturday, August 9th
BERNADETTE PETERS – A Triumph In San Francisco
THE DROWSY CHAPERONE – Now at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – Now through July 27th at Broadway By The Bay
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
COPPOLA’S “THE CONVERSATION” – AT THE LEGION OF HONOR, July 17th
SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – At The Castro Theatre
A CHORUS LINE – Returns to San Francisco’s Curran Theatre
VIVA TO THE DIVAS! – SF Opera Summer Season Concludes This Weekend
TALENT COMPETITON – On-Line Reality for A CHORUS LINE
ARIODANTE – Cross-Dressing Goes Baroque – at SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
WOMEN IMPRESSIONISTS – At San Francisco’s Legion of Honor
TIMOTHY HORN – BITTER SUITE – A Sweet Tribute To Alma Spreckels
‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE – At A.C.T through July 6th
60TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT – San Francisco Boys Chorus celebrates at the War Memorial Opera House
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR – Bats it for FREE at AT&T Ballpark
CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM – A Grand Opening!
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN – Just say “NO!”
ERIK BATZ – A Conversation With “The Scarecrow” At The Mountain Play
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET’S 2009 SEASON – Includes World Premiere of All-New Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson
A CONVERSATION WITH MAESTRO HELMUTH RILLING
CHERYL BURKE DANCE – Dancing with Gavin and Jennifer
DALE CHIHULY – Lighting-Up At The de Young
ERIK BATZ – A Conversation With “The Scarecrow” At The Mountain Play
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET’S 2009 SEASON – Includes World Premiere of All-New Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson
SWEENEY TODD – PRIME CUTS FROM DIRECTOR TIM BURTON
ANITA COCKTAIL and LEANNE BORGHESI – A 3-Way Dialogue
NORMA SHEARER in “MARIE ANTOINETTE” – At the Legion of Honor

See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

sean-martinfield-250-pixels-new-sentinel-mug.jpg
Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter




facebook-badge-3.jpg

Comments are closed.